What is Left When the Music Fades

Music is a paradox. At least to me it is. Many of us can attest to the healing power of music. To that extraordinary song that reached deeply into our brokenness like a salve. Possibly connecting our heart with God’s in an emotional and meaningful act of worship.  Or to the song that became a mighty anthem of courage and renewed strength providing the determination to press onward.

But what happens when the healing power of that same special song not only fades, but sends your spirit into a fast spinning downward spiral?

I have long been aware that there is a significant contrast in the way my heart and mind will respond to different songs. Or perhaps more accurately, to the memories and emotions associated with the songs. There are entire time periods of music, and not just a particular song or artist, from dark seasons of my life that I have learned to avoid. Within the first few seconds of hearing the melody and lyrics I am transported back to a time of confusion, bad choices and pain. The flood of regret and shame is instantaneous as I am reminded of how grievously I sinned against myself and others. The darkness threatens to overtake me and the fight to put it all back in the past where it belongs is so tiring that sometimes I allow it to linger longer than is necessary or healthy. And so, I intentionally strive to control the negative emotions that secular music triggers within me.

My husband once asked me why I only listen to Christian music. I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong or evil with most secular music. But for me, it has the ability to slice through the healing I have achieved and plant poisonous seeds in my heart and mind. And even if it doesn’t cause harm, the weeds seldom inspire or infuse my soul with joy or peace.

But lately I have been recognizing a growing discomfort and aversion to some Christian music that once  soothed, comforted, empowered and energized my weary soul. And I am finding myself needing to disassociate from the memories and feelings they currently evoke.

Firstly, are my old favourites from my teenage and young adult years. One of the same time periods where I find the secular music particularly triggering for me. I feel a pang of emptiness and my body physically reacts every time I scroll through my playlist and my eyes alight on those artists or albums. It doesn’t seem that my mind wants to revisit either the good or bad moments of those years.

Secondly, are a couple of the songs that provided me immense comfort and strength as I began healing from sexual betrayal trauma and the effects of my husband’s sex addiction three years ago. Anointed songs that enveloped me in God’s loving arms where the tears were wiped from my eyes and a foundation was built beneath my feet for the recovery journey ahead of me. Lyrics that once spoke so deeply to my heart that I had them printed out and close beside me on my desk at work available to encourage me throughout the day. Now I can barely tolerate these songs. Maybe it is a case of too much of a good thing. It parallels my twenty eight year aversion to apple juice. I had an extreme case of hyperemesis during my first pregnancy and the only sustenance I received was from sips of apple juice. It nourished my body. The songs nurtured my soul. They both did their job in bringing healing to my sickness. But I’m not sick anymore. And remembering that I was elicits sadness and makes me feel less whole. When I feel less whole, I am easily deceived and susceptible to spiritual attacks. I am quite adept at filling the void with lies of hopelessness and despair.

For me, music is both healing and destructive. It mends my shattered pieces. And it threatens to break them apart again. My spirit may soar, or it may plummet. Sometimes I am aware, and sometimes I am caught by surprise. That is the nature of triggers. I forever must stand on guard to protect my salvation, recovery and ongoing healing journey to wholeness. Some things are black and white. Good or bad. But so much more are caught in the middle ready and waiting to change the direction of my heart. Good or bad…..

Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:8-10

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5 thoughts on “What is Left When the Music Fades

  1. ,I’m with you Cynthia. There are certain songs I can’t listen to at all anymore. And like you they were precious to me at one time. But the memories associated with that song, whether good or bad, can set me back in a heartbeat especially certain “love” songs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Set me back in a heartbeat”……yes that’s it! Like I wrote, I have long been aware of my need to avoid some secular music, but my more recent aversion to specific Christian music has me reflecting on why that is happening. Is there still something I haven’t fully dealt with? Or is it just that I have grown into a healthier person and there is no reason to revisit that time? I feel more like it is the latter. Those times of regrets are past and over and there is no need to relive it again. Just as people enter our lives for a season and then leave, so does a song……

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  2. I agree. I believe it is the latter. If there was something not dealt with I believe the evidence would show elsewhere as well.

    Your walk with the Lord has grown sis. Some songs are not needed any longer and new ones take there place in the now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had been thinking about this a lot lately. I too can relate to certain songs that soothed my soul, then there are those trigger feelings of either pain or shame. (By the way- I promise I had not read this post before posting about time being a paradox, ironically) I also have to watch myself with music. It does have that ability. hugs

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  4. No worries Michelle. I often find myself reading someone’s post that is very similar to one that is either swirling around in my thoughts, or I have begun. My reaction is always, ah shucks, now I can’t write/post it because it will look like I’m copying or stealing their idea. But then I was encouraged by reading a comment on a post recently that said she noticed a trend among Christian bloggers that the Holy Spirit often seemed to lay the same things on their hearts at the same time. So, now I am trying not to worry about it so much and see it as God trying to get a message across. Hugs back at you!

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