Music.. it has the ability to pump us up, fill us with joy, get us super motivated, and brings a certain energy to our days. It on the other end of the spectrum, can also be listened to when we're feeling down and just need to listen to sad songs because we're sad and that makes total sense, right? Tell me that isn't something that we've all done.
I'm a big music fan. If i'm not working or somewhere where I can't listen, then I likely have some tunes on. I spent a lot of hours in the tractor this fall, so you can bet that the radio was always cranked up and I probably looked goofy as can be singing by myself for hours on end. 2017 also involved ALOT of driving--back and forth to Michigan, around the Grand Rapids area on days off to explore, and once I moved back home, I've still been driving all over for different things.. aka, I have listened to music, a lot.
According to my 2017wrapped, I listened for 25,423 minutes to 2,318 different songs and 908 different artists. Woahhh. Okay, yes, I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm always listening.
I have a Spotify account so I can listen to anything, anytime without any ads and disruptions. It has the sweet feature where it creates Daily mixes based off of your listening, and at the end of the year it came out with a playlist of Your Top Songs 2017. I was listening to it when I was driving the other day, and holy moly... I've been listening to some upbeat, encouraging songs lately, but let's just say, the first half of my year was quite the opposite, judging by the amount of sad, depressing songs that played.
The first half of the year wasn't the greatest.. I struggled with a big hurt, loneliness, stress, uncertainty, fear, feelings of not measuring up. I knew it was by choice that I let those things control me. It was on a drive back to Michigan after being home for the weekend, a Friday night in which I was able to attend my first Gathering, that I knew I needed to make some changes if I wanted to get past those feelings.
I decided then that I'd no longer allow another person or situations to negatively impact how I felt about myself. Instead of putting myself in circumstances in which I knew I'd feel less than I know I am, I promised myself to never do that again, and instead surrounded myself with encouraging, uplifting people.
When I moved back home, I found myself in community with some amazing, amazing people-- ladies at Bible studies, the Gatherings, and friends I've known since childhood. Day by day, as I practiced positive affirmations, dove into the Word, and was more intentional with friendships and digging deeper than just surface-level conversations, my view of myself and the world around me became brighter and brighter.
Music was a huugee part of this. Regardless of what I was feeling, I knew I could turn on certain songs and it'd change how I was feeling by the end of it. Whatever you're going through right now, wherever you're at in life, let me tell you..
You might feel defeated, you might feel overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, panicked, not good enough, lost. Or there are some of you who feel on top of the world, certain, content, happy. Wherever you're at, remember. You are enough. You are loved. You are valuable. Your circumstances don't define you. If you're going through some hard times, remember that they won't last forever. God is using these times to mold you, shape you, and lead you to the people and places you're supposed to be.
Back to the music. These fifteen (I tried to limit it to 10 but it was too hard), so these 15 songs got me through 2017, and if you're looking for some encouragement, I'd recommend them wholeheartedly. On repeat. Daily. Some are encouraging, some are just songs I love to listen to.
1. Lean On-- 7eventh Time Down-- when your strength fails and your faith is worn, you can lean on Everlasting arms.
2. Just Be You-- Anthem Lights, Sadie Robertson-- all that you are is enough. just be yourself in a world that tries to tell you to be otherwise.
3. Control(Somehow You Want Me)-- Tenth Avenue North-- God doesn't need us, but He wants us, always, every moment, every day.
4. Better Off Broken-- Tasji Bachman-- some things are just that-- better off broken.
5. King of My Heart-- Kutless-- He's never gonna let us down. Never. ever. ever.
6. Set the World On Fire-- Britt Nicole-- with You, there's nothing I can't do.
7. Live It Well- Switchfoot-- one life, one story to tell.
8. Hills and Valleys-- Tauren Wells-- no matter where I am, I'm standing in your love.
9. Still-- Hillary Scott-- sometimes, even though it may be the hardest thing to do, we just have to be still.
10. I Can Wait-- MIKESCHAIR-- He's right on time, never a second late.
11. The Day You Stop Lookin Back-- Thomas Rhett-- the future sure beats the heck out of the past. Believe it.
12. Different-- Micah Tyler-- don't wanna spend my life in a pattern.
13. Upside Down-- Jonny Diaz-- I keep finding out everyday that losing my life is the only way it can be found.
14. Unapologetically-- Kelsea Ballerini-- rather fall apart than love half-hearted
15. Yours-- Russell Dickerson-- you make me better than I was before. I probably listened to this every day for the past year and that isn't an exaggeration. Also slightly obsessed with him and his wife. they're the cutest.
So there you are. Music is healing, music is joy and sadness and every emotion wrapped into a few minutes. It can change you, it can help you through the best and the worst of times, and it can inspire you to go out and be the love, the kindness, the joy, the light that the world needs.
This year, I don't plan on having as many (or any) sad songs on the Top Songs 2018 playlist. It's going to be a good year, and God's going to do some incredible things, I just know it, and you better believe most of these songs will continue to be listened to on the daily.