A number of years ago I did a study on music and how it effects our lives. None of what I learned surprised me, it simply reinforced what I already knew. It was an extremely interesting study that had a great impact on the decisions I would make in my future concerning musical influence. It was while sitting in the corner on the floor in the dark of my apartment listening to my mom’s Christian music that I began to experience significant changes inside of me. It was there that I came to know the presence of the Lord. This became my favorite time and place that I couldn’t wait to get back to every day. This story picks up from my last post, “Practicing The Presence of God” that you can find on this site. Before I tell you more about my corner, let me share with you a couple of things that I learned in music study.

Did you know that there’s a part of your brain that processes the words you hear? I’m not a medical person so we won’t delve deeply into medical terms but simply put, your brain analyzes what you hear. It asks, “Is this truth or bologna? Do I trust the source? Do I accept or reject this?” Your brain decides what to do with the information spoken to you. But, did you know that when the words are tucked inside music that it bypasses this reasoning and analyzation process? That’s right! It’s kind of like hiding a pill in something that goes down smooth, disguising the taste so that it goes undetected. (I know about this quite well as I’ve had kids and animals. It’s one of the job requirements of moms and owners everywhere!) Words and information contained within music can be either healthy pill or poison. It quietly slips past the reasoning and evaluation, going straight through to the memory storage. It breaks down inside of us, is distributed and lodged into our souls (Your mind, will and emotions). Music is powerful! “Outta the way, Brocolli, I’m heading straight to the heart!”

Let’s look at a couple of examples. How many times have you been in a store simply to find something that you needed to pick up or just browsing around, not giving much thought to the music playing in the background, leave the store and find yourself singing or humming the songs that were playing while shopping? It doesn’t require you to say, “Let me pay close attention to what is being played so I can remember this later.” Or, you can even say to yourself, “Oh man, I hate this song! Ooooh, I’ll try to not pay attention to it.” But as you drive away you find the song playing over and over in your mind. You even find yourself singing it, until SOMEthing causes you to snap to with, “Ahh! What am I doing? I hate that song!” You do everything you can to change your mind’s channel. If you make a conscious decision to reject the song and words, you can process through it. But if not, it all becomes seeds that settle down inside of you where it quietly takes root in the soil of who you are and what you think. If a song is replayed over and over, it fertilizes those seeds. Most times, honestly, it’s the tune that sticks with us. But, what’s hidden within that melody?

Have you ever had a revelation of the words to a song and find yourself one day stunned by what you realize you’ve been singing? I’ve found myself in that shocked mode many times! Sometimes it’s an amazed “Wow!” of welcomed truth, other times it’s a horror shock of seeing garbage in your salad! Poisonous words that you would have immediately rejected if someone spoke them to you! Or, more alarming, words that would put you on high alert if spoken by your children. You would want to get that sorted out as soon as possible out of love and commitment as guardian of their young hearts! But what about your OWN heart? You become what you eat or take in. As it is said concerning food, it can be said concerning music.

Consider how music effects our moods and emotions. A person with a closed, stone hard heart can be in the presence of someone singing or playing music that speaks of the deep love that God has for us and find themselves melting into tears. I love how the hand of God can reach down through the skin and bones of a person to embrace and restart the human heart. On the other hand, I think we all know how sings filled with anger, violence, pride and sexually explicit words can inject and infect the heart. What goes in WILL come out!

I recently was in a music class where the power of musical influence was discussed. The teacher spoke of a group of people that were divided into 2 separate classes in order to conduct an experiment. Both groups were shown footage on sharks swimming around in the ocean while music played in the background. The music in one group was driving and dramatic while the other group listened to peaceful, restful instrumentals. At the end of the classes, the groups were asked to donate to the preservation of sharks. The students that listened to the more aggressive music had no strong feelings to help aide and preserve these scary, man eating creatures. Perhaps the money could be better used to educate swimmers on the dangers of these predators? But, the class that listened to the graceful instrumental piece as they viewed the sharks stepped right up to assist these gentle giants to flourish in their environment. Same visual, different music. Yup.

Experiments have been done with plants, animals, kids in classrooms and babies. The findings showed that all flourished, grew and learned while listening to classical and gospel music. When other types of music consistently filled the environment, plants died, animals became covered in tumors, fought, lost their fur and went on to kill each other. Babies were agitated and would not stop crying and rest, school children could not concentrate or settle to learn but instead became confused, aggressive and rebellious. So many studies, so much learned. Very, very interesting.

After my father left when I was 11 years old, I sat and rocked in a chair everyday after school listening to albums filled with drug use, anger, satanic worship and sexually explicit material. These record were bought for me to help fill my time. The person who gave them to me couldn’t have been more ignorant to what they were putting before me though they thought they were helping. One year later, I was as dark and rebellious as can be. I went from being a sad, broken, quiet girl to a defiant, destructive loudmouth. I fully plunged into the life I had ingested that year. I wrote about these early years in the “Where Was My Voice?” posts. Shortly after, I was in the back of a police car, delivered to my front door with the stipulation that I either receive counseling or see a judge. Yes, there were personal family situations that contributed to landing me in the doctor’s office at a local mental institution but that first year of deep, dark music was a long slow drink of poison to my heart. The life and light in me, indeed, began to die.

Let’s go back to my corner in the apartment where I lived right after giving my life to Jesus at age 17 and marrying at 18. Here I was, once again, listening to a steady stream of music day after day, sitting and rocking on the floor in the dark. Only this time, I sat listening to my mom’s Christian music. I was now a damaged girl that needed to experience and feel the love of God in my soul. My heart needed healing. It was there, listening to songs that spoke of the love, truth and power of God that I began to feel the presence of God. The words flowed down over and through the cracks in the rocky boulders that had hardened in me during the dark years when I was a teen. These words became much needed medicinal supply bringing nourishment to my entire being. I began to sing, I began to respond and dialog with the Lord. I also experienced being in the presence of God. I came to love the One who loved me enough to pursue me when I was far from Him. That conversation that began 36 years ago, continues to this day. So does a steady diet of great music loaded with love, truth, light and life found only in Jesus!

We’ve got to keep in mind that our hearts are gardens. I don’t know about you but I refuse to let poisonous, noxious weeds, carried by the winds and on the backs of wild animals be the germinating seeds determining what my life produces. I am not a chalkboard for pedestrians, wandering in the night time seasons to write their mental and emotional afflictions upon. I will not be their advertisement. I have decided to guard the eye and ear gates to my soul as I want to grow and flourish under the care of the Good Gardener who paid the ultimate price, his life, to have me as His own. We will reap what we sow!

“Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 MSG) That pertains to seeds hidden within music as well! I’m so very “done” with that!

It’s my great desire and purpose to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over the years as I’ve walked along this life with the Lord. I truly hope that the stories from my life have been and will continue to be a glimpse into the great, loving heart of God. Perhaps in this way, we can walk along together! If you click on the “Songs” tab on this site, you will find a list of some of the songs that have been medicine to my heart and soul. I pray that you will find them to be “music to your ears” as well! See you soon!

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