Life: It Needs a Soundtrack


For the last two years, a single sheet of paper has hung over my desk at school. Among other words and phrases, this small poster includes the thought: “Your Work is Art: It Needs a Soundtrack.” Living here in Tanzania has brought out many of my more introverted tendencies, including the simple enjoyment of listening to music for no other reason than to enjoy the music. In the past, I would rarely listen to music unless I was driving (doing that here would be a death wish) or running (here, its best I stay alert to my surroundings while running). Here, I find myself listening to music when I first walk into my office in the mornings, and in my house after work or late at night. I’ve given a bit of thought to the music I listen to, and why. My music taste is quite eclectic, and I enjoy nearly all genres of music, especially if its live.

But what is the soundtrack of my life this year? Here’s a few songs that stand out (in no particular order) from my recent listenings…

1. Oh Africa (ft. Keri Hilson) – Akon

Really the only “pop” selection on my list, I think the part of this song that stands out to me every time is the line that says, “This is the greatest day of our lives… we came, we saw, we tried.” Sometimes, I just feel like all I can do is try my best and leave it all on the field. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 puts it, “Whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.”

2. Cruise (ft. Nelly) – Florida Georgia Line

I just like this song. It makes me think of home. Riding in big diesel trucks with the Cummins engine purring. Hanging out with my brothers. Being a farm kid. This is one of my happy songs.

3. I Wanna Know You Like That – Anthem Lights

Honestly, this is the only song I own by Anthem Lights, but whenever it comes up on shuffle, I repeat it at least three times. The chorus in some way captures the prayer of my heart to know Christ in a deeper and fuller way each day.

4. Rest – Skillet

Old school, I know. I’m pretty sure this song came out before I was born. Okay, maybe not. But it is Skillet from way before I knew Skillet (my favorite band, btw). I actually just stumbled onto it at the beginning of this year, and love the chorus:

And I rest in the shelter of Your love
And I rest in the wonder of Your Grace
And I rest in the shelter of Your love
And I rest in the wonder of You

5. Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) – Chris Tomlin

My addiction to this song goes all the way back to last June as I made my way through multiple airports and endless unknowns to travel from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Every time I started feeling nervous or insecure, the lyrics from this song, “I know Who goes before” kept coming  to mind. How relieving it is to know that I’m not walking this journey alone.

6. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United

When life gets crazy, as it seems to do often, it is important to remember that I don’t have to bear the burden of the craziness on my own shoulders, because God is still in charge. Problem is, I don’t always remember that. This song, especially this verse, is a great reminder:

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

7. Behold the Lamb – Keith & Kristyn Getty

This song is simply beautiful.

8. Blessed Be Your Name (10,000 Reasons) – Matt Redman

Each time I hear this song in church or assembly or my iPhone, I sense a calmness overtake my spirit as I begin to rejoice in the many reasons I have to bless the name of the Lord.

9. In Due Time – Killswitch Engage

The token heavy metal song on my list, this song was stuck in my head the entire trip up Kilimanjaro. I have no idea why, but the chorus (below) kept repeating over and over and over in my mind. I first heard this song playing on Fort Wayne’s rock radio station over a year ago and immediately went home and looked it up because I enjoyed it so much at the time. Maybe its just the idea of seeing the world differently…

All in due time, see the world through different eyes.
All in due time, the shadows will give way to light.

10. I Hope You Dance – LeAnn Womack

One more throwback here. I don’t even know where I got this song, but it came up a few weeks ago while my iTunes was on shuffle. There’s a few lines that just make me happy, one in particular being: “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.” How can you not? But the thought of standing on the beach just makes me close my eyes in wonder at the incredibleness (no, that’s not a word according to my spell check, but I don’t care) of God’s creation and His love for us as expressed in each sand of the immense seas.

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