Songs of Joy, Hope and Perseverance

Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable. Hebrews 10:23

If you follow me and this blog regularly, you may have noticed it’s taken kind of a dark turn. I, like many of you, have been a bit overwhelmed by everything that is happening in our country these days. And it is important (imperative, even) to stand up against injustice. It’s downright Biblical to lament when things seem to be spiraling out of control. It’s critical that people of faith not ignore those who are hurting and afraid.

BUT

In times such as these, we cannot abandon those things that feed our joy, fuel our hope and faithfully call on us to persevere.

I am a solid GenXer, which means I am from the mixtape generation. I spent my teenage years crafting just the right mixes for moods, special occasions and hard times. Of course, back then my resources were limited to the records and tapes I had, what I might be able to borrow from friends or what I could record off of the radio (yes, young friends, that’s how we illegally obtained our music back in the day).

Little did I know back then that all that music was literally re-wiring my brain–in a good way.

In times when we are feeling overwhelmed, hopeless and more than a little out of control, the right music can literally help rewire our brains and bring us back to feelings of calm, hope and centeredness.

Today, I have (seemingly) every song in the world at my fingertips to add to a playlist. Fifteen-year-old me could never have imagined the musical wonderland that would one day be at my fingertips.

So I’ve made myself a 2022 version of the mixtape–a Spotify playlist–I call Songs of Hope, Joy and Perseverance. It’s a rather eclectic collection, but of course, that’s what mixtapes are for–to bring together a seemingly unrelated body of music and collect them under the umbrella of your chosen theme.

What songs would you add to this list? I’d LOVE to know.

I encourage to make your own mixtapes and playlists. Don’t underestimate the power of music. Music is a gift from God, and God knows what they’re doing. Music chased away the evil spirit that possessed King Saul. Music is a way to praise God and to connect with God. There’s even that one weird story in 2 Chronicles where a choir goes out before the army and helps win the battle. Oh, did you miss that one? Check it out here.

I don’t mean to be overly simplistic about addressing real fears, bouts of depression and a sense of hopelessness, but we should never ignore the tools that we possess to combat such things. Sometimes when we are too depressed to gather in community, too angry to pray and too overwhelmed for scripture passages to permeate our brains, we can turn on some music. Music has the power to help chase away our demons. To soothe our souls. To re-wire and re-center our brains so that we can get on with the work we are called to do and be the people we want to be.

In the week ahead, be intentional about taking some time to turn off the news, stop the doom scrolling and say “Alexa, play me some tunes.”


Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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