One of my professors was talking about putting together a playlist for our lives and I thought that was an actually neat idea. Something fun, but also deep. I think it's important to reflect on our past. It's good to remember where we've been and what we came out of to be where we are today. I figured I'd take a stroll down memory lane in a more creative way with this playlist thing.
Now, I'm not actually going to do a playlist for my entire life. That'd be massive. May be some day I'll endeavor to tackle that project. I figured I'd reminisce on some stuff that's still pretty fresh in my mind. I guess you can call them my important developmental years or something like that.
Anyway, here's a playlist that sums up from my Highschool years till now. Maybe some brief descriptions for some of the songs too. I'll be judging the songs based off lyrical content as well as over all feel. I'll also provide album title just in case some of you brave souls would like to look any of them up and understand what I'm talking about. The order will be: Song title, Band Name, Album name.
Hell- Foo Fighters - In Your Honor: I guess this sums up me going into High School pretty well. I kind of just said I was a Christian but my life was no where near what it should've been.
Wow, I can get sexual too- Say Anything - ...Is a real boy [disc 2]: It's a pretty catchy but bad song. I guess it's a better definition of what I was dealing with.
I'm not alright- Sanctus Real - The Face of Love: The chorus goes: "I'm not alright. I'm broken inside." Took me around 2 years of high school to finally figure it out. I only really started getting my act together a year or so later.
I Am Understood?- Relient K - Two lefts don't make a right, but three do: I started to discover what it really meant to be a Christian. I picked up my bible for the first time and read out of it because I wanted to. I guess this is the central turning point of my life. I remember it pretty well. I couldn't figure out where to start so I kind of threw my bible open to some random page, closed my eyes and just pointed at some random passage. Turns out it would become my favorite passage of all time. Luke 9:23-24 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." After that, I decided to read the book of Romans for some reason. That's still one of my favorite books of the bible. Paul is the man.
The Created Void- Underoath - Lost in the sound of separation: Part of the lyrics is: "It's all in the way I say what I don't mean and mean what I don't." It reminds me a lot of what Paul writes in Romans 7: 14-15: "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." I was starting to realize that it wasn't all just sunshine and butterflies after I accepted Jesus into my heart. I was coming to realize that it was a lot easier said than done.
I Never Wanted- As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us: This is a really good song, but the lyrics I find most powerful and the best summary for this is "I will no longer adore these things that will never satisfy me." This song is pretty much about how old habits die hard. We may change sometimes but then end up right back where we started. This song is also about God relieving us of that and being the one who will satisfy us. Sometimes we fall upon these "obsessions of the world" to fill the hole that's inside us. A whole that those things will never fill. Only Christ's spring never runs dry and always satisfies the thirsty. It's always a painful process to realize you're suffering with some kind of addiction. You may not even realize it at the time. It's definitely hard to kick. At this point in my life, I realized that I didn't want to go along with it. I wanted to fight it and I wanted Christ to be the one who would satisfy me and fix what is broken.
Get Down- Audio Adrenaline - Hit Parade: I love this song. It's an oldie but a goodie. "in your weakness he is stronger, in your darkness he shines through." is just a taste of the awesome lyrics that really pick me up and remind me how great God is. Regardless of how bad I screw up, God is always there to set me back on my feet and help me to walk again. It's awesome. It's hard to realize this when you're in the thick of it, but it's so true. In this part of my life, God was really beginning to show me how faithful he is to me. He showed me how much he loved me even when I screwed up big time.
Mr. Blue Sky- Electric Light Orchestra - Their essential collection: This is such an upbeat sounding song, it almost makes me sick, but I love it. At this point things were pretty good. I sure did have some problems, but I wasn't down on life completely. I was chugging through up to graduation. I was reading my Bible on a regular basis. It was nice. I got to speak in front of the the 700 or so students at my school about my life. I guess I gave them my testimony up to that point. It sure was a heck of an experience. I pretty much winged it up on stage and God pulled me through and had me say what I needed to say. Hopefully it did some people good. Any way, life was good.
Me Oh My- Five Iron Frenzy - All The Hype That Money Can Buy: Apparently this song is about Isaiah 56:1: "Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed." It's another upbeat song. I was in college. Things were good. I enjoyed my classes. I came out of an awesome summer with friends. It was good times for sure. I was still on fire for God.
Shiksa (Girlfriend)- Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre: Oh yeah baby! It was about freaking time! I got myself a girlfriend! Life was awesome! Everything was as it was supposed to be! (or so I thought) I didn't have a care in the world. I totally gave myself away to those waves of fuzzy feelings. I let them sweep me away with the tide until they would dash me against the rocks and spell my destruction.
Confession (What's inside my head)- Red - Innocence & Instinct: "I confess, I'm always afraid, Always ashamed of what's inside my head." I ended up breaking up with my girlfriend. One day, I just realized I was not where I wanted to be. I was at the precipice of utter disaster. I was at the head of a trail that was oh so alluring, but one that I really didn't want to go down. On top of that, I was just in a very fragile state. Lord knows what would have happened had I not been so fortunate to realize what wrong I was doing. God was truly looking out for me then. I think about it now and realize that I could've really done things that I would have regretted for the rest of my life. God really saved my behind. This was only the beginning of a dark chapter in my life though.
I So Hate Consequences- Relient K - Mmhmm:
"And I so hate consequences
And running from you is what my best defense is
Oh God, don’t make me face up to this
And I so hate consequences
And running from you is what my best defense is
Cause I know that I let you down
And I don’t want to deal with that"
That pretty much summed up what I was feeling like. I knew I screwed the pooch, so to speak, but I really didn't want to deal with it. I just kind of ran away from it, expecting things to get better the more distance I put between myself and it. I was wrong of course. I was continuing to go down a path of self destruction when all I had to do was go to God and he'd set me straight. I went on like this for ages. Pretending all was well when in fact everything was wrong. It's funny how we continue to dwell on this things that keep us down instead of coming forward, going to God to deal with them and rid us of them.
Sons of the Fallen Nation- Haste The Day - Dreamer: "I'm so tired of always letting you down, still you offer to turn it around. I just can't seem to keep my feet on the ground, still you offer to turn it around." God really was faithful to me the whole time. He persisted in reaching out to me even if I didn't seem to recognize his presence. I knew what I needed to do, I just chose not to all the time. Sometimes I tried, but it ended up being a half-hearted attempt at best.
Mess of Me- Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane:
"I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain't no drug that they could sell
Ah, there ain't no drugs to make me well
There ain't no drugs
It's not enough
There ain't no drugs
The sickness is myself
I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I've made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive"
At this point I started to realize that I was killing myself by just living with sin. I wanted to do something about it. I realized I was a wreck and that I needed to get better and running away just wasn't the answer.
Tie Me Up! Untie Me!- Mewithoutyou - Catch Us For the Foxes:
"Tie me up!
All this wishing I was dead is getting old...
It goes on but it's old."
Now I didn't want to kill myself. I was not suicidal, but there were times when I wished I was just dead so that I didn't need to endure all of the crap that I was going through. I still didn't want to deal with it. I would rather be in the after life, wherever I'd end up at least, because that must be far better than going through all of this mess! I began to realize that even thinking that way was foolish. "Oh Brother I'm far. Brother, I'm far away. Brother, I'm far away from everything good!" (The song writer uses "Brother" in reference to Christ calling the Disciples his Brothers. The song writer is having a conversation with Christ, in a sense.)I finally realized that I really need to come clean. This song is really important to me. I have even blogged about it in the past. This song is really powerful because it pretty much summed up this whole dark period in my life. From wanting to be dead, fleeing from all of this mess that I made to asking God to free me from this mess, to finally realizing he has freed me indeed. "But you untied me - didn't you untie me, Lord?"
Start Again- Red - Innocence & Instinct:
"And I remember everything, everything I loved
I gave it away like it wasn't enough
All the words I said and all You forgive
How could I hurt You again?
What if I let You win?
What if I make it right?
What if I give it up?
What if I want to try?
What if You take a chance?
What if I learn to love?
What if, what if we start again?"
I was ready to pick myself back up and start over. To allow God to work in my life once again and fix all that's been broken so many times over. I was just so drained and messed up. I just gave it all up to God so that he'd make me new once again. He didn't disappoint. He never does.
Confined- As I Lay Dying - Shadows Are Security: I took another blow right on the heals of my recovery. It really took me down quite a bit. I felt like I was down for the count. I kept thinking back on how I had overcome so many obstacles in the past, how I used to read my bible everyday and how "great" I was back then. Thinking like that really kept me down. It kept me down for a long time. Longer than I care to admit to. This song, at least just a few lyrics of it, sums up one of the biggest lessons I've ever learned in my life. "How quickly I forget that this is meaningless." It quickly brings me to mind one of my favorite books of the bible. The books of Ecclesiastes is such a harsh book at first glance. Some people would think it's odd that I would adore such a book, but for me it's really put so much in perspective. Ecclesiastes 1:2 says: ""Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the teacher. "Utterly Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless!"" That word is used 35 times in Ecclesiastes and only once elsewhere in the bible. The author is pretty much saying that all of life is meaningless unless it is rightly related to God. Anyway, that's not the point I was getting. This song reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes but more specifically 7:10, which states: "Do not say, "why were the old days better than these?" for it is not wise to ask such questions." That verse pretty much told me I was being stupid to wish I was the same person that I was back then. I have learned so much since that point in my life and I am a stronger person now than I was back then. Life's a journey, and God continues to refine us down the road. It's foolish to wish you were as crappy as you were back then. That's a simpler way of understanding it, of course, but it really gave me that push to get up and move on.
Dismantle.Repair- Anberlin - Cities:
"I am the patron saint of lost causes
A fraction of who I once believed (change)
only a matter of time
Opinions I would try and rewrite
If life had background music playing your song
I've got to be honest, I tried to escape you
But the orchestra plays on, and they sang
Oh oh, things are gonna change now for the better
Oh oh, things are gonna change
Hands, like secrets, are the hardest thing to keep from you
Lines and phrases, like knives, your words can cut me through
Dismantle me down (repair)
You dismantle me
You dismantle me
Give me time to prove
Prove I want the rest of yours (prelude)
Call this a prelude to a lifetime of you
It's not that I hang on every word
I hang myself on what you repeat
It's not that I keep hanging on
I'm never letting go"
At this point in my life, I realized that suffering happens. We live in a world full of sin which pretty much means that bad things happen to good people whether we like it or not. I also realized that God uses this suffering to strengthen us and make us greater people. I realized that as long as I had faith in Christ, I would come out on the other side a better, stronger person who understood God just a little more. It's hard to swallow sometimes, but I knew that in those tough times, I just need to hold on. God is faithful to us all even in our darkest hour.
Become What You Believe- Last Tuesday - Become What You Believe:
"But when we stand before the Son of Man
Will we hang our heads, will he understand?
When it's all been said and done, was our race well run?
Tonight I wish I was with you
Tonight I'm headed home
Ready for another day, to become what I believe
This is the life I choose."
That's pretty much where I stand right now. The song I'm rallying behind I guess. God is good. I love him, and I'm trying my best to live my life right by him. I think that's what counts. I'm happy and that's good. I know where I've came from and what decisions I've made in the past and I realize that those things that happened to me shaped who I am today. I'm sure that I'm going to encounter some more rough patches, but I'll take them as they come, knowing that God is with me and he'll get me through each and every one of them. This is the life I choose.
I guess that's my playlist up to now. This is by no means an exhaustive play list. This took long already. I could have definitely gone into detail, but I feel like the playlist would never have ended. I guess this is also a testament to how music can sometimes sum up just what we're going through. Anyway, this exercise was just one way to remember where I came from. I think that's important to do. I encourage all of you to follow suit. You don't exactly have to assemble a playlist like me, but it sure did help. I enjoyed it too. Go figure.