Have you ever had your weird Spotify playlist – you know the one I mean, the one that’s so eclectic, it astounds even you – on shuffle, and wondered “If one song could define you, what would it be?”
I have. I wonder it quite a lot. I listen to music quite a lot. And I have more than one weird, mixed up playlist.
You see, I believe music has so much power – it can move you to tears, it can bring a smile to your face, it can remind you of something you’d forgotten, it can sympathise with you, it’s comforting, it’s been where you’ve been, it’s seen what you’ve seen, it can help you express yourself when words can’t.
This morning, I was lying in bed listening, I was playing through some absolute classics, like Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen, People Like Us by Kelly Clarkson… And I started thinking about my defining song, then on came You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties by Jona Lewie, and I was thinking Spotify might know me a little bit better than I know myself. Then the song came on. I mean the song. The song I always come back to whenever this thought creeps into my mind.
And it’s particularly apt for recent times. I would say I’m ashamed to admit it, but you know what, I’m really not.
You see, I have a wobble in my life every now and then. Almost annually but not quite. Well, not really a wobble, more of a full on nose dive onto the floor. And I do pick myself up, and it’s sometimes a bit messy, but I get back on track.
This time, it was a bit of a faith hiccup. I run a very careful balance in my life between my faith and work. Now I know that sounds strange, but I work shifts, and I have to miss out on some really important journeys in my faith because I can’t get the time off – it really is a balance. I commit myself to church on Sundays and Thursday night youth clubs, but I’m pretty lucky to get to anything else.
Remember how I said it’s a very careful balance? Well the balance didn’t get a little skewed, it got totally and utterly warped. Work was the giant rock sitting on the other end of the see-saw. I couldn’t make it to services, I worked instead of going to youth club. I didn’t have time to pray. I dropped reading my bible from my day. I skipped God. And I realised just how easy it was to do that. So I kept it up.
That’s right, I tripped and I’m lying face down on the floor. Blood everywhere. And you know what? No one noticed. Or I didn’t think they had.
That is until I had a knock on the door from a few friends – with armfuls of sweets. And a lunchtime catch up with a (worried) good friend. And he did the most amazing thing for me… he pulled me back to the evening service, by last minute organising me to do a reading. I’d spent so much time away, I was now worried about going back. His theory was if I got up to speak in the service, people would remember that, not that I’ve been MIA for a few weeks.
You see… as good as my friend is, it wasn’t him that got me back to church. God works in everyone. We talked about a lot of stuff, and he really reminded me of God’s love for me. God would never ever leave me lying on the floor when I trip up. He gives me the tools, and the people to help me out. He works in every situation. And I don’t deserve it, but I don’t have to do anything to get that kind of treatment. He does it because he loves me, and his son died for me. He reached out for me 5 years ago, sitting on a bed not all that far from where I sit typing this now. He reaches out to me everyday, and he noticed that I’d stopped reaching back.
You see I get super insecure. And when I go to church 2-3 times a week, and I spend time reading my bible and praying, my insecurities ebb away, at least a little bit, sometimes almost altogether. But the longer I leave it, the more they come in, they overtake me, they consume me. And that’s what happened. My balance went and I fell down. But even in the darkest of times, God will still reach out and grab me, and steady me. Even when I abandon him, he doesn’t abandon me. He’s just that awesome.
So, my song that defines me?
Of course it’s Hannah Montana!