I do not usually devoutly participate in lent, but this year I felt a need to do it. I am about to graduate college, so as I prepare to transition to a new phase of life I wanted God to be incredibly involved, therefore I chose to do a lent fast. I was praying about it for a week before it started, and I felt God telling me to fast from music. “Whoa God, that’s a pretty big piece of my life. I listen to music a lot. Do You mean just secular music or rap?” No, God wanted me to fast from all music for 40 days.
So, for the past 40 days I have sat in silence. No music at work, no music in the car, no music while at the gym, etc. It was terrifying how attached I was to music. I needed something to fill the void of silence. I had learned that if I would just turn some playlist on, I would no longer have the mental capacity to think through my life and work out the things I had been putting off. Deep down, I was piling up things that I needed to confront or work out but, when I had music, I didn’t have to.
The first day of my fast, I jumped in my car and sat there for literally five minutes because I was frozen. I had no idea what to do. How do I drive to school without music? How do I even drive? (literally I had to relearn how to drive a car)
It seemed like days crept by because I was forced to sit in silence and contemplate my life. I had to open up things to myself and to God that I had stuffed down so deep – some things I did not even know existed.
I slowly started to be okay with the silence and embrace my new, extended prayer time with God. Now it is a wonderful time to me because there are no interruptions, just me and God talking about life.
I have learned a few things over this fast that I would like to share.
The first lesson I learned is that music is so ingrained in us. It goes so much farther than simply realizing that some music is bad and some is good. Three weeks in to my abstaining from music, I went on spring break and my friends played secular music. It was the stuff I grew up with, so I knew every word, every beat drop, etc. But this time, I could not sing it.
I realized much of the stuff I loved was poisoning my soul and my very being. I was so angry at the sexualization of culture and how nothing was pure, but what about me? All the time I was fighting for holiness and purity in my life, I was letting these sexual vulgar songs creep in to my mind, just because I liked the beat. My real battle will be trying to get back into music without letting this vulgar entertainment have a foothold in my life and my mind. For this, I am still praying through and letting God lead me to the answer.
The next lesson I learned was that I needed to stop letting others sing my prayer for me. This applies to all the worship songs that I love so much. I realized I would just search for a song to sing because I wanted to worship God and open up to Him. In the recent weeks however, He made me realize that I was searching for someone else to sing my prayer. I was waiting for them to tell God how I felt. It is no wonder I walked away from church and worship nights feeling like there was something that I failed to share, because there was.
During my time of silence, I was forced to tell God everything. No song was there for me to search for and play. I had to confront my demons, my worries, everything that was going on within me and tell Him on my own. I still love worship songs so much. But I know now, when I need to tell God something, I need to turn the music off. I need to stop putting off my time with God and just run to Him first instead of a song.
The third lesson I learned is really about fasting. I have heard this taught before, but never have I realized it for myself: the Bible does not say “if you fast”, it says “when you fast”. So many times I have heard the excuse, and even given the excuse, that I do not have time to fast or I do not have time for God. God showed me during this fast that He commanded us to fast because he knows we do not have time. He knows we will not make time for Him, so He commanded us to fast so that we would make time.
I did not want to drive in silence the past 40 days, but He commanded me to, and I have no regrets. It was very, very hard and even lonely at times, but God spoke to me in new ways, ways He would not have if I had not made the time for Him. So many times, we want to read off a list of our prayer requests and assume God will just answer them, but do you forget it is a two-way street? He wants to talk to us too. He wants to tell us things and divulge information so rich that our minds can not fathom. Through this fast, I realized that I do not give Him the time of day unless I need something.
God is good, and He is for us, but sometimes we need rude awakenings because, in our selfish slumber, we will never see Him. He woke me up from this music slumber I have been in for so long. He woke me up from my selfishness so I could see Him for who He is, not my genie to grant yes’s and no’s. He is the God who created me and the world that I live in and He deserves so much more of me and my time. So, when He calls me to fast, I will do it. Not only because He has commanded me to, but also because now I want to. When God gets our attention, He is going to move, and you better have your pen and paper ready.
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