Today is the first day of what is known around the interwebs as NaBloPoMo, or in layman terms, National Blog Posting Month. The goal is to post on your blog everyday in the month of November. Since I’ve been jonesing to get back to writing, I thought this would be a great time to jump in head first. Oh, and I’m dragging my husband along with me. Well, okay,he’s joining of his own free will and I’m so grateful for that. I have attempted some of these month long challenges before and have not stuck with them on my own, so I’m hoping having him on this journey with me will encourage me to stay the course. It’s worked really well for both of us before so I’m hopeful it will again.
One of the ways NaBloPoMo helps those taking part in the challenge is to provide daily prompts. I’m not sure we’ll always write to the prompt, but our goal for now is to try. So, without further ado, here is today’s prompt and my thoughts on said prompt.
When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?
When I’m having a bad day, you can be certain there will be music somewhere near me. Many years ago the playlist would have consisted of 30 Seconds to Mars, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Staind, or Audioslave. Mostly, I looked to music not to soothe the savage beast inside of me, but to give it permission to rise up. If you happened to witness me during those periods of my life, you would have no question about where the term ‘head banging’ music came from. Whatever emotion I was feeling would be amplified and would therefore be in no way healing for me. If anything, my choice in dealing with a bad mood often led to an even more bad mood.
A few years ago something began to change inside of me. It all began after attending Winter Jam. The headliner was a band called Skillet. This band, this worship band, rocked my face off. I turned to my husband while watching fire cannons and elevated rotating stage sets and said, “Do you have any idea how different my life would have been if I’d had this music as a teenager?!?”
In almost an instant, I went from using songs with lyrics like “Shut up when I’m talking to you, Shut up, shut up, shut up” to calm my bad moods (what was I thinking!?!), to songs with lyrics like “Lift up your voice, Let love cut through the american noise.” It was a shift that I so desperately needed. I’m not saying that secular music isn’t still a part of my life, but I find that when I’m experiencing some adverse emotion, I crave something that will lift me up rather than entice a monster inside of me to rise up. This subtle shift in what I allow to influence my thoughts (positive, Christ focused music) really does make all the difference. Instead of enhancing the already negative emotions I may be feeling, this change in choice of music now brings light into the crevices of my thoughts where darkness was threatening to overcome.
A few years ago my husband and I did a small group study on the book Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel. One of the statements in this book has really become a mantra for me. Groeschel says we should ask ourselves one simple question in the decisions we make, specifically when consuming current culture. “Is what I’m doing, is what I’m looking at, is what I’m thinking honoring God?” Now, in all honesty, the answer to this question is often a resounding and shameful no. But, I can testify now for you that since applying this question to the music I listen to, I’m happy to report I believe the answer is a big fat yes. I firmly believe that God used something that I loved dearly and allowed it to open multiple doors (my church band, NEEDTOBREATHE, Winter Jam) that in turn opened my eyes to new ways to cope and pull myself out of a bad mental health day.
…Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:18-20
Thank you for reading! Please take a moment and check out my husband’s post on the same topic.