Friday, February 19, 2010

The Answer

I've realized something: music is a medium by which I feel closest to God. I spent my morning off scouring YouTube for videos of songs I love. The video above is called "The Answer" by Shane Barnard & Shane Everett. And I'm going to go out on a limb to say that this song has probably had the most impact on my life than any other song. Gasp! I know!

In 2002 I went through a debilitating clinical depression. It had probably been brewing for almost a year before and I certainly handled it in ways that only exacerbated my symptoms. I had no idea what was happening to me partly because I'm a performance-driven person and partly because I had never experienced anything like it before. As the symptoms mounted, I even decided on a date for my suicide, worked out a plan.* If you've been through a depression you know what happened to me: exhaustion, insurmountable self-loathing, loss of interest in work and friends, crying jags, loneliness and unending emptiness. It was like God went and hid behind the clouds.

Music would sometimes make the clouds part. I could sense God in those moments and the reprieve from the crushing sorrow was refreshing. This song was probably played more by me in the summer of '02 than I can ever recall. Because I was in full-time youth ministry during that time, depression felt like I was marked for ruin. It was while I was on a mission trip to the mountains of Venezuela that I discovered this song on the album "Psalms". I would listen to "The Answer" over and over as a means of separating myself from the idea that I had become anathema.

"I have found the answer is to love You and be loved by You alone. All right.
You crucified me and the world to me
And I will only boast in You. All right."

That was all I had.

Katy, you'll remember this: our K-Life group had a golf tournament during that summer and because I was so completely physically & mentally exhausted, I spent the entire time worrying that people could see through me and that they were discussing my failures and shortcomings every time I turned my back. The paranoia was awful. But I made it through the day, fake smile on my face and my body feeling like it would collapse. As soon as I got in my car, I immediately turned on this song and I can remember sensing that the Lord was truly smiling down on me. That He was there, in my car, that He loved me, that He was carrying me. I wept and wept and played this song on repeat while I drove home.

The truth became clear much later (after therapy and a year of working the 12 Steps): I was never meant to be "good enough" for youth ministry. I was never meant to boast in myself or fill up on myself. The Answer was that I've been crucified in Christ (Gal. 2:20) and I have nothing to boast in but Him (Eph. 2:9). Who knew the pathway out of depression was that simple?

ANYWAY: that was a LOT of history to tell you that God has used music in my life to rescue me from depression, to draw me to His side, to give me moments of joy, to help me express myself, to make sense of Scripture...the list goes on. Are you like me? Or do you have other mediums by which you feel near to the side of God?

Go here to find out how you experience closeness to God.

Quiz from Sacred Pathway by Gary Thomas.

*If you are experiencing symptoms like these and think you might be suffering from depression, you can go here to find a Christian counselor near you.


Kristie said...

I SO loved this post! I'm like you- the Lord speaks and ministers to my heart so much through music. He's brought so much healing in painful seasons through truth set to music. I love Shane and Shane's Psalms album- I played that album more than any other when I was in college.

Thanks for this, Beck!

jess said...

Thank you for writing Becky. I'm just like you in that music has such a power effect on my heart, and on my relationship with the Lord.

Actually, S&S "Psalms" was a life-changing album for me too.