Several years ago, I received an incredible birthday present. A friend of mine gave me two tickets to see Coldplay in concert! The tickets were in a suite with unlimited food and drinks. He told me to pick a friend to take with me. When my wife decided to pass and the giver of the tickets was unavailable, I asked another friend who elated to attend with me! It was an incredible night.
We went to the show the night before Thanksgiving. My wife and I had decided to head to my hometown in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving morning, in order to arrive by lunch time to eat with my family. We ran into a problem, though. My brother was going to head back home before we arrived and I wanted to see him.
So, we – and by we, I mean me – decided to drive to Las Vegas from Phoenix (310 miles) AFTER the concert was over. I didn’t arrive home from the show until 11:30pm. Within a couple hours of driving, I realized my stupidity.
The first two hours it so rained hard and was so windy, I was holding the wheel tight to keep us moving straight. The next two hours, it became foggy as the rain continued and we had to slow down because of low visibility. The final two hours, my wife and I were so tired, we had to keep switching every 15 minutes because we couldn’t stay awake. We finally arrived in Vegas at around 5am, miraculously without dying!
The whole way there, we had one CD in the car – the new Coldplay album. Fresh off an amazing concert, I couldn’t get enough of the songs. So we listened to it…the whole way to Las Vegas. Needless to say, my wife has never let me listen to the CD again in her presence and regularly reminds me of how much she hates my tendency to wear CDs out on repeat.
Well, my approach to music listening is a lot like voices and influences which dominate our lives. Like a road trip with only one CD, many of us have voices, mantras, perspectives and statements that get repeated over and over in our heads. Much of what we listen to is neither healthy nor true.
Have you ever been around someone who constantly voiced their terrible inner monologue ? They constantly put themselves down. Their negative self-talk overwhelmed you. You realized they were their own worst critic. They have a bad track stuck in their head and the repeat button was broken, stuck in the “on” position.
[callout] Click here to ready my post about what to do when you realize your inner voice is your worst enemy. [/callout]
Listening to them say out loud what is going through their head is like listening to my Coldplay album constantly. (Except I would argue Coldplay’s music is not destructive.)
How about you? Do you ever sabotage yourself with destructive thoughts? Are there lies you believe which repeat constantly in your mind? I believe what God would say to you or anyone else who struggles in this area is “eject that CD!” Stop playing that album. Skip that track. Pick a new station!
So what are the most destructive tracks we listen to and what “new songs” should replace them?
1. I’ve failed too much to do anything great for God.
If you think you have screwed up too much for God to love you, eject that CD and listen to this. In Romans 8:35-37, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Paul is right; you have not moved beyond God’s love.
Stop thinking you’ve screwed up too much; start realizing God’s love sent his Son into the world so that you could be redeemed and reconciled with Him.
2. I blew my chance to follow Jesus well; I don’t deserve a second chance.
If you feel like God has condemned you for compromising your faith, skip that track and begin this one. In Romans 8:1, Paul also wrote, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If you are a follower of Jesus, that is true for you.
Stop feeling like someone who has been condemned; start recognizing that God has set you free and you can live in that freedom.
3. God doesn’t use people with a past and struggles like me.
If you believe that God can’t use you, put that album in the recycle bin and double-click on this one. Abraham had trust issues, Noah and Lot had drinking issues, and Jacob and Esau took sibling rivalry to a whole new level. In Matthew 1, the genealogy includes a man who sold his brother into slavery, a woman who seduces her father-in-law (the one who sold his brother) into fathering twins with her, a Canaanite prostitute, and a murder/adulterer/horrible father who would have kept Dr. Phil busy for a long time.
Stop believing you’re useless; start telling God you are ready and available today.
4. I feel inadequate for what God has called me to do. There’s no way I can do this. God needs to choose someone else.
When God calls someone, He equips them for fulfilling that calling. When God called Moses, a stutterer, He promised to give him the words. And God did. When God called Gideon, an insecure and timid man, He promised to fill Him with courage. And He did. When God called Solomon, He promised to give him the wisdom he needed to govern. When Jesus called Simon, which means wishy-washy, He named him Peter, which means “rock”. And Peter became a rock for the early church. Stop beleiving you’re inadequate; start trusting God to equip you and empower you to do what you’re intimidated to do.
The voices we listen to and the messages we internalize shape our identities. Many of us have listened to destructive tracks for far too long, giving our Enemy a chance to distract us from who we are and what we are called to do. If you recognize you’re listening to a destructive track, I urge you to not only stop hitting the “play” button but also start playing another track – a life-giving one – in its place.
When have you listened to a destructive track in your head? What did the track say?
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