How much of your identity is wrapped up in the music you like? Are you defined by what you spin while you work or what tracks fill your mp3 player? Music is a big deal to people. We are shaped by what we listen to and the energy it brings. As a music snob, I probably have too much of my identity wrapped up in my music taste.
The Carpenters probably go down as one of the cheesiest bands of all time. I would never be caught dead listening to them without trying to be ironic. They are beloved by many, I’m sure, since they were one of the biggest-selling group of the 70s and they’ve sold over 100 million albums. I still stand by my statement, though. (If you’re a family or friend who enjoys them…I’m sorry? You should know me well enough that I’ll give you a lighthearted hard time about it.) If you don’t believe how cheesy they are, check out their lyrics to one of their most famous songs, “Sing.” I remember being introduced to this song from both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, which is one of the few grievances I have with those childhood heroes. It doesn’t take much to get the song in your head, which is why I have issue with it. I know that it’s got a positive message…but you can get the same kind of message from a lot better songs out there!
My wife, Rachael, loved The Carpenters as a kid. This is a major difference between us, but if you ask her about this band then she will admit to their cheesiness, too. I bring this up because her identity is not wrapped up in her music tastes at all, which I admire. She also happens to tone-deaf. (I don’t know if the two are related….) I give her a hard time about being tone-deaf, which she takes like a champ and even laughs at herself. She might sing a ditty and be committed to a completely different tune than what the real one is. This just makes us laugh even harder when I [lovingly] point it out.
At any rate, you’d think that this would make it difficult for me to hear her sing, right? It’s not, actually. I love hearing her sing. I feel that way because of how I accept her. I love being next to her in worship and hearing her sing with everyone else.
There are plenty of other people who aren’t tone-deaf yet I can’t stand to listen to them. I would probably destroy my relationship with them if I shared that I don’t like their voice or told them that they are bad singers. I wouldn’t ever do this, obviously, but if I’m inching away from you during a song…take the hint.
Is your identity in what the world says is good or what God says is great in you? Are you someone who sings at the top of their lungs regardless of who hears you or criticizes you? Would you be able to admit something like being tone-deaf without getting defensive or abrasive?
Would I like my wife to sing a different tune? Would I like her to sing the correct tune (and in key) when she pipes up?
I love her for who she is. I love her for what she is like. I don’t want to change her because the way God has shaped her is exactly how I love her.
We have a God who sings over us out of joy for who we are and love for us. God looks beyond our limitations, faults, and egos. The LORD accepts us, regardless of whether we match up to the world’s ideals. Zephaniah 3:17 is simply beautiful in describing this:
“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.”
In Christ, our identity is untainted by the world’s fingerprints. We don’t have to measure up to anyone else’s standards. Only one matters. We can’t even measure up to God’s standard, which is why Jesus identifies with us in our humanity. He became human to help us bridge the gap between God and us.
Our identity is not wrapped up in silly things like music tastes or singing ability. It’s wrapped up in Jesus Christ. We are beloved.
That’s something to sing about–just not cheesily, please.
This #1Word5voices thing is something four friends of mine concocted together, during Lent of 2013, we challenged ourselves by posting on a word a day that Rethink Church came up with for Instagram.
It kicked our butts so much We liked it so much that we decided to post on a word once a month, on the fifteenth. Click on the hashtag #1Word5voices to find what Heather, Lindsay, Shawn, and Stephanie had to say this go-around.