Sometimes, we “need” that song to make it through the day, to make it through morning traffic, to play when that “2:30 feeling” hits, or to motivate us through our workout. While these are moments we may need extra motivation, we also need to make sure we are sustaining ourselves with substance, not (metaphorically) feeding ourselves junk food for every meal.
I’m fortunate to work in a relaxed office environment (relaxed actually being synonymous for boring). I’m thankful for the environment; it definitely fits best with my work style. I can maintain a quiet workspace while completing projects and meeting deadlines. However, this environment also allows me to play music, listen to podcasts, watch a little YouTube here and there. That’s why I recently had to evaluate what I was feeding my spirit all day.
Day after day I would drive to work blasting a playlist of my favorite upbeat songs to hype me up. I depended on this music to wake up, get me pumped for the day, and to make the drive a little easier (or so I thought). I would pull songs from the same playlist in the afternoon, just for an extra push. There’s something about bass in a song that gets me moving and on track.
After awhile I noticed my harsh responses to situations, the negative thoughts that would linger, and my diminishing control over my emotions. I was reading devotionals in the morning and praying at night, yet I was watching the garbage I fed my spirit bubble up right before my eyes.
The first thing that needed my attention was my mind. I had to learn how to replace the negative thoughts I allowed to circulate through my mind. This required me to read my Bible more than once a day, and find Scripture verses to focus on. These are my “on-call” verses when I notice my thoughts are not what they should be:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phil. 4:8).
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2).
These verses remind me to turn off the adverse thoughts and think of things that are lovely, pure, and pleasing to God. This practice helps me face my problems with a totally different attitude. Instead of being upset and feeling defeated, I can respond to those feelings with what God says about my situation. By digging deeper into the Word, I found that my favorite chapter to read when my faith is weak is Matthew 8. This chapter contains many examples of the miracles Jesus performed, which sustains me.
Recalibrating my thoughts automatically caused a shift in my words. While the impulse to respond to frustrations in my day with a bad attitude subsided, I needed spiritual backup. Whenever things really got under my skin, I had to repeat His Word to myself before reacting. These verses had my back:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits (Prov. 18:21).
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10).
While sometimes it felt like I was dying to give folks a “piece of my mind” and have a response to everything, maturity in Christ and reading His Word calmed me.
Now my alarm clock plays songs that focus on my freedom in Christ. While I get ready, I listen to podcasts of some of my favorite pastors or play worship music. On the drive to work, I listen to things that will fill my heart with God’s truth. During my down times at work, I reread Scripture verses from my morning YouVersion Bible devotionals. I have an ongoing note in my phone that is strictly dedicated to gratitude. Every time I think to thank God for something, I put it in the note.
There are also times in the day when I free write in the note, listing ten to twenty things at a time. This routine helps me maintain spiritual and emotional balance, helps me perform better at work, and also helps me maintain my relationships with grace. Simply put, monitoring what I feed my spirit helps me be a better person for myself and others. Being creative about the ways I spend time with God and setting aside specific times to do so was one of my best decisions to date.
How about you? I’d love to know:
- What music do you routinely listen to? How does that music impact your mood?
- What are some practical steps you can take to make sure that what you listen to feeds a Christ-like attitude vs. a bad attitude?
Tell me about it in a comment below!