A while ago, I wrote about being in a funk. I took my own advice, picked up singing again, and joined the Lakeland Choral Society. Rehearsal night is one of the highlights of my week.
I love everything that comes with singing in a group.
- Interacting with people of all ages and lifestyles.
- Feeling accomplished when I hit the notes in a difficult section of music.
- Watching others enjoy singing.
- Absorbing our director’s passion.
- Following his precise cues.
- Practicing different styles of music.
- Doing the warm-up exercises–deep breathing, stretching, massaging.
- Singing scales with different vowel sounds.
- Feeling refreshed at the end of it all.
All of these reasons–and plenty more–have scooped me out of my funk. I love to sing out!
As if singing in the choral group weren’t enough, shortly after joining LCS, our director informed us of an opportunity to sing in an opera with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. Who would’ve guessed that singing in an opera–one of my bucket list items–could become a reality! Without a second thought, I–along with several other choral members–volunteered to be in the cast of the ISO’s presentation of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.
Sometimes, I felt way out of my league, and I wanted to quit, but I remembered why I volunteered–not just to sing, but to sing deeply, to feel the intensity of emotions in an operatic presentation. This was way more than singing opera in my living room, which I do regularly. This was singing opera with professionals and other people who love opera. This was experiencing the highs and lows of every aria. Many times while we were on stage, we forgot we were acting. Emotion overwhelmed us as we sang out.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience–one I’ll never forget. I treasure the intensity of it all.
It might seem an exaggeration, but to someone who struggles with depression, singing in general–and opera, specifically–has helped me release a host of pent-up emotions–sadness, anger, jealousy, internal strife, joy, mania. Whether it’s our weekly rehearsal or an opera performance, within two hours, I’ve exhausted my entire being in the most refreshing way. I sleep soundly.
Hard to believe?
Research shows music and singing have many benefits. Singing improves physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Singing in a group amplifies those benefits.
Even the Bible is filled with references to singing, commands to sing, and the power of singing.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. (Psalm 47:6)
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)
When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 104:33)
All of God’s creation sings out.
All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. (Psalm 66:4)
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (Psalm 96:12)
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Even Jesus sang.
So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve…. When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:17-30)
You might not be interested in joining a choral group, much less singing in an opera. You might think you’re not even a good singer. Whatever your reservation, sing! Sing out! Incorporate singing into your life.
- Crank up the car stereo and sing along.
- Try karaoke.
- Sing in the shower.
- Practice singing the musical scales.
- Play singing games with your family. Instead of speaking to each other, sing!
- Sing the Psalms in the Bible.
- Sit in on a choral rehearsal.
- Take voice lessons.
- Sing along to operas like Pagliacci. Here’s a list of the top 50 operas.
- Join a choral group. (Have I convinced you yet?) 😉
Whatever you do, whatever you feel, sing out! Sing for your health. Sing out for God. You were made to sing out!
Come alongside… Do you like to sing? Why or why not? What would it take for you to sing out? How can you incorporate singing into your life? What health benefits have you experienced as a result of your singing out? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
One of the things I try to do on this site is to let you know of resources that have helped me and could help you in your walk with God–and with others.
Enfolded in God’s Arms by Lisa Aré Wulf is one of the books I think you should look into, especially if you feel stuck in life.
Enfolded in God’s Arms is a 40-day devotional for people who need healing in their lives. Isn’t that all of us? 🙂
Each of Lisa’s reflections include:
- Scripture verse
- Devotional entry
- Questions to ponder
- Journal space
The delicate flowers on the cover set the tone for the book. The fragile vase is a hint at the approach Lisa uses throughout the book. From the beginning, Lisa calms the reader’s fear of digging deeper into their hurts. In the middle of each entry, she includes a section titled “Be Still for a Silent Moment with God.” I appreciated this section because it reminded me not to keep reading without listening to what God was speaking to my heart. Instead, I stopped and reflected on what I was reading and how it applied to me.
Enfolded in God’s Arms helps readers start the process of introspection, which leads to healing. It’s a great book for those who “are experts at putting on a good face.” Lisa uses a tender approach. I’ve never heard her voice, but I felt like I could hear her encouraging me.
Although Lisa sprinkles personal examples throughout the book, I wanted more of them! I wanted to know how she handled her struggles specifically. In my opinion, sharing more of her experiences would have helped the reader to dig even deeper. It’s a personal preference that does not detract from the book in any way.
I recommend Enfolded in God’s Arms by Lisa Aré Wulf for anyone who experiences struggles they “can’t seem to shake.” Anyone who is starting in recovery circles, including 12-step programs, would benefit from Lisa’s book. It is non-threatening, yet challenging and transforming. It would be ideal for a small accountability group. It also makes a sweet gift to those who need a long embrace.
To learn more about Lisa, visit her Web site.
To purchase a copy of Enfolded in God’s Arms, click on the Amazon logo below.
Come alongside…. How can you benefit from Lisa’s book? In which areas of your life do you need to get unstuck? Which parts of yourself have masks? Post your comment in the box below that says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
Do you like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos? I do. It never gets old watching people’s antics, especially when they go wrong.
Most of the situations are harmless, although I’m sure some have led to an ambulance ride or two.
It’s one thing to laugh at someone else’s expense for giving their six year old a bat for a piñata and then standing too close when the boy starts swinging.
It’s another thing to laugh at someone’s misfortune or pain.
Think about the recent divorce of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The media have made a joke of their family’s crisis because, as some have claimed, Brad and Angelina started seeing each other while Brad was still with Jennifer Aniston, costar of the mega hit 90s TV sitcom Friends. Suddenly, we hear…
- He had it coming to him.
- What goes around comes around.
- Serves him right.
- Karma is a (blank).
- Jennifer’s having the last laugh.
I don’t know whether Jennifer is having the last laugh. But when I feel wronged, my initial response is to lash out, to get the final word, to see the person get what’s coming to them.
I want to have the last laugh.
Normal? Yes. Healthy? No.
When we rejoice in the misfortune of others–however small or great, we hurt still. We have not recovered. Our wounds are infected and need healing.
We know we’ve recovered when seeing the misfortune of those who’ve hurt us saddens us too.
Compassion, not criticism, reveals healing.
Compassion doesn’t come quickly. It delays. It meanders its way to us. Compassion remembers what pain feels like.
What to do? Ignore the hurt? Pretend it didn’t happen? Shrug it off? No. Feel the pain. Voice it out to God. Expose your feelings of betrayal before Him. Trust Him with your raw hurt.
Then…and you’ll know when, pray for them, that God will draw them closer to Him, that He would meet their needs, that He would heal their wounds. That He would bless them.
For example, Job prayed for “friends” who criticized, insulted, and blamed him for all the tragedy in his life. The Bible says “the Lord released Job from captivity when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10a).
Our hurts hold us captive when we want to have the last laugh on those who’ve hurt us or our loved ones. God can release us from that captivity just like He did for Job.
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part…. Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42:12, 17)
Job lived peacefully. He enjoyed life. He laughed–a lot.
Can you hear his laughter? It isn’t a “you’ll get yours” type of laugh. It’s a laughter of healing, freedom, and compassion.
Job chose his last laugh. You can too.
Come alongside… Has someone hurt you or a loved one? Are you waiting to have the last laugh? How can you start healing from this hurt? How can you pray for the person who hurt you or those you love? Do you have a story of a time you prayed for someone who hurt you? Comment below in the box that says, “Leave a reply.” Remember you can comment anonymously.
Does the mundane life drain you? The day in-day out life. The rut.
- Wake up.
- Get ready for work.
- Go to work–or school.
- Work all day.
- Come home.
- Have dinner.
- Turn on the TV.
- Fall asleep on the couch.
- Go to bed.
I’ve been there. I am there.
But I refuse to stay there. As they say in recovery circles: I’m tired of being sick and tired.
Here are six ways I’m recharging my batteries.
Picking up a hobby again.
God gives us talents and interests, activities that spark life and excitement in us. When we don’t exercise those creative outlets, we grow frustrated and lack the glow that comes from things that bring us pleasure. It could be photography, writing, woodworking, sewing, to name a few.
This past week, I contacted a local Choral group. Lo and behold, just in time for auditions. My heart flutters just thinking about singing alongside others again.
Listening to the Bible.
I’m going to be honest. Reading the Bible? It hasn’t been top on my list lately. It hasn’t even been on my list. The desire to read the Bible–or anything, for that matter–has been nonexistent. Does it really need to be as cumbersome as we’ve made it?
So I’ve started listening to the Bible on my morning commute to work. I plug in the YouVersion Bible app into the car’s audio system. Hearing God’s word out loud early in the morning is helping me to focus on Truth throughout the day. It’s also giving me hope and faith that God is with me, even in my funk (Romans 10:17 NCV).
The dilemma… Not having enough energy to exercise versus exercising to get more energy. It’s counterintuitive, a cyclical conundrum. But I hear it works. So I’m taking small steps to make my life less sedentary. For me, that’s parking farther away at work or at the grocery store. Or doing leg lifts while at my desk. Even walking the dogs more. (Note: Morning walks in Florida… sweat central.)
Spending time outside.
There’s just something about being outside. I’d forgotten how much I love the green of the trees. The rustle of the grass under my feet. The sun shining on my face. (Did you know that the sun provides necessary vitamins that help with depression?)
The outdoors is God showing off. The work of His hands whispers to me, to you–and to anyone who will stop and notice.
Getting back to date nights.
Setting and sticking to a date night schedule can be difficult, especially with three kids. I’ve noticed that part of my funk is not getting to spend quality time with my husband on a regular basis. I miss those moments.
Planning our date nights is taking a little more creativity. Hubs and I have already decided to join the gym together. Not necessarily a date, but it’s a start. Maybe we’ll take a detour by the ice cream shop instead.
Anyone up for watching three kiddos?
Visiting my doctor.
Lastly, to be sure there’s nothing wrong other than my usual ailments, I’ve scheduled some doctor visits. Gotta take care of this temple.
My funk will come and go. It might even linger. (Oh, has it lingered.) But acknowledging my issues and working on them… That’s what the recharged life is all about.
Come alongside…. Are you in a funk? Have you ever been in a funk? How did you get out of it? What other tips can you add to this list. Please share with us in the box that says, “Leave a reply.” Remember you can reply anonymously.
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