What’s happening in your life right now seems like one thing, but what if it’s actually something different. This feels like disappointment, but what if it’s simply a divine reappointment? This feels like a mountain you will never climb, but what if it’s the beginning of greater heights than you ever imagined?
Many times in my own life I’ve recognized it’s not what I’m going through that is so bad, it’s my thoughts about it that are bad. It’s my mood, my attitude, my perspective, that changes the emotion of my circumstances. Even the absolute worst days of my life, days of tremendous loss, days of damaging things that can’t be undone and painful words that can’t be unsaid, with time and distance even those days can be found to be part of a bigger, better plan unfolding.
The day I lost my Daddy, it was as if time stood still. I held his hand, knowing soon I would be letting go of that strong hand for the last time. The finality of life was evident, and every passing moment brought us closer to that final breath. But, I was given a gift that day that changed everything. A gift of a different perspective. A gift of a different soundtrack that changed my thoughts, and therefore changed my entire experience.
Daddy was in heart and kidney failure. His entire body was shutting down. It would only be a matter of hours, maybe a day or two at the most, and it would all be over. But for Daddy, he had seen what was awaiting him and he couldn’t wait to go. The veil between heaven and earth had grown very thin and as he lay in bed with his eyes closed, we could overhear his reactions to what he was seeing. He let out a deep belly laugh and said, “Jesus is so funny.” He exclaimed, “everyone is so happy here!” And then, he would open his eyes and be back with us.
With pure calm and peace, he knew it was time, and he shared his love with each of us, said his goodbyes, and gazed at my mama before intentionally closing his eyes. His breathing would slow, growing ever so faint, and finally it would stop. Then, the most amazing thing happened, Daddy opened his eyes with sheer hope, excitement and anticipation, scanning the room. Then he said, “why am I still here?”
He was expecting heaven. He was expecting that first breath in paradise, and instead he was taking his next labored breath in a hospice room.
He was hearing different music than us. Daddy heard music of a journey to paradise and the best day ever. We heard music of loss and grief and the worst day ever. He was expecting the beginning, we were expecting the end.
This process would happen several times on that final day. He would once again be so intentional with his love and his goodbyes, and that final gaze at my Mama by his side, and he would again close his eyes, awaiting the angels to come take him to what he had seen. Back to that funny Jesus where everyone was so happy. His breathing would slow, then it would stop, then his eyes would shoot open again in wild anticipation, followed by the disappointment of still being here on earth.
And this was our gift. The gift that changed our music. Now, each time his eyes closed, we too heard the music of anticipation, praying his eyes would open in paradise this time. Our music of grief was silenced, and the music of promise was all we could hear.
My sisters, what if we just need to change the music? The soundtrack to the unfolding of life. What if this isn’t what you think it is, and what if the emotions you’ve tied to these circumstances and these events have created a soundtrack that has stolen the joy out of the journey and created instead drama, chaos, overwhelm, and dread.
The soundtrack creates a completely different emotion.
Okay, story time ….
We spent last night in the most darling tiny house in the pines of Georgia. It is straight out of a magazine with it’s dark woods, royal blue and bright orange. We’ve stayed in several tiny houses on our travels, but this is by far the tiniest of all. The bed is in an overhead loft all of maybe 3 feet tall at it’s peak.
Last night while my husband stayed up working, I climbed the ladder and laid down. Up in the tiny loft, I turned on one of my all time favorite comedies, “Along Came Polly”. I know that movie forwards and backwards. I’ve watched it countless times and I can tell you the next scene before it happens. But this time, the movie was completely different. It felt much more mellow. Much more relaxed. Much more serene. The images on the screen were the same as every time before, but why did I feel completely different this time?
THE SOUNDTRACK. You see, in our tiny space, my husband’s music downstairs was flooding the loft, creating a totally different soundtrack to a familiar movie. And it felt different. His smooth, instrumental music turned my familiar comedy into an unfamiliar experience. And then it hit me, CHANGE THE SOUNDTRACK AND YOU CHANGE THE EXPERIENCE.
Mute a scary movie and guess what you have … a way less scary movie. Turn on happy upbeat music with a scary movie and guess what you have … a totally different experience that makes you question why that movie was ever considered scary in the first place.
The sounds you’re hearing may not be what you think they are. You’ve been fooled into believing one thing when something totally different is actually happening. There’s a documentary on Amazon Prime called “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound.” Totally mind blowing how sound effects the entire experience of the movie. And, behind the scenes, you get to see the unique and creative ways sound is created to make you think one thing, but it’s something totally different actually happening. Did you know the sound of the jets in Top Gun is actually slowed down clips of lions roaring in the wild? Did you know the sound of walking on breaking glass was actually made by crunching raw lasagna noodles with a large pinecone? How crazy is that?
But the soundtrack creates the emotion and therefore determines your experience. Good or bad.
And what if God simply wants to offer us a different soundtrack to help us see the movie of our life differently? What if we’ve been listening to freak out music creating panic and frustration, when the same circumstances with different music could reveal the unfolding of greater things than we ever imagined.
The music playing in my Daddy’s head on that final day was hopeful and promising, even exciting. When we changed our music to match his, we experienced something radically different.
God sees what we do not see. He knows the next scene in this movie and the final chapter in this book. Have you ever thought about asking him to choose the soundtrack as well? You’ve been setting the mood with your own music creating an emotion you may not even want, and what if it’s as simple as asking God for a different soundtrack to your life?
This is what Paul experienced in his life. His soundtrack was changed by God. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” That’s as simple as different music to the same story. Paul was still weak, he was still struggling, but his attention was on Christ’s power that would be in him through that weakness. That’s a radically different emotion created by a shift in soundtrack.
What was the old soundtrack? It was likely dramatic and sorrowful. It was filled with lyrics of, “I’m such a screw up. My life sucks. Nothing ever works out for me. Why can’t this just be easier?” But when Paul switched to music with the lyrcis of “Christ’s power is in me and he is making me perfect even in this struggle”, life started feeling different. And when life started feeling different, Paul started showing up different, and guess what … life was different.
Where did it all begin? The lryics to the background music! The soundtrack! What he believed and what he told himself.
Sis, turn off the dramatic, overwhelmed, frustrated, hopeless music to your life. That’s not your story. You are a girl created for a purpose, set apart as chosen, perfectly equipped by the power of Christ, and here for a time such as this. Que the powerhouse music of a girl on a mission!
Romans 5: 3-5 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”
That’s a different soundtrack to problems and trials. That’s music that says this isn’t against me, this is working for me. This is creating something great in my life. And doesn’t that perspective totally change how we feel about what we’re going through?
Romans 12:2 “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Who wrote these scriptures? The same guy who wrote about God’s power that is made perfect in his weakness. Paul. Paul was a man who knew about the transforming power of seeing things from a different perspective. The soundtrack to his life had been changed. He was no longer listening to angry battle music on a rage to kill all followers of Christ, because remember, that’s who he used to be. With a different soundtrack of changed thoughts and a totally different mood, Paul was moved by the rhythm of a greater purpose and unfolding promise.
No matter what you’re going through right now, God has seen through this and beyond it. He still has good plans. He has promised to use even this for something good. That may not make sense right now in the middle of what you’re going through, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
So, what music will you choose to listen to? Will you choose a rhythm of a greater purpose and unfolding promise through this? Will you choose the energy of hope over darkness? Will you choose the beat of eternity over the hard hits of today?
Change the music you’re playing with this season of your life. It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. It doesn’t have to be intense and volatile. It can be peaceful. It can be hopeful. It can be filled with grace and mercy and a future more beautiful than anything you could possibly imagine.
Same scenes. Same circumstances. Different soundtrack, totally different experience.
God, transform our soundtrack. Fill us with hope. Help us to hear the beat of your promise. Move us with the rhythm of your good plans.
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