When God Speaks through Pop Music

broken heart mosaic

Sometimes when I ask God for help, He doesn’t cooperate.

I don’t mean that He doesn’t answer. I don’t mean that He isn’t with me always, protecting me and loving me in ways I could never begin to understand. I don’t mean that He leaves me hanging, refusing to help me out of my mess. Nope.

I mean that He refuses to give me the answers I want.

You know how sometimes you know your hair looks bad or your blog post was lame, but you just want someone to make you feel better? So you ask a friend with that look in your eye or that tone to your text, and she says exactly what you want to hear?

Yeah, God’s not that kind of friend.

He is Truth, so it only makes sense that He would speak Truth. Always. Even when you don’t want to hear it. Even when, let’s be honest, it’s annoying.

As a forever fan of music and occasional musician myself, I’ve often heard from God through music. I love all kinds of music, so while you can often find me in tears during worship on Sunday morning, I’m just as likely to be moved by the latest Katy Perry song blaring from my car stereo.

That’s not actually a hypothetical example. 

Apparently some of Annalyn’s classmates love Katy Perry and have been talking about her at school. (Reportedly, one boy went as far as to claim Katy Perry is his sister. Because apparently that lends street cred to kindergarten boys. I don’t know.)

Though I’m a big fan of pop music (and country music and rock music and classical music and ALL KINDS OF MUSIC), I’m pretty vigilant about what Annalyn can listen to. So my first response to her newly discovered love of Katy Perry was basically the same as my response to last year’s announcement that she loves Justin “Beaver”: Really? And what songs are your favorite? Mmm-hm. YOU CAN’T LOVE SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW!

{Yes, I’m a super cool mom. Fun, too. Thanks for noticing.}

But Annalyn – and her trendy classmates – was persistent, and she went ahead and learned the catchy chorus to “Roar” by Katy Perry. I actually don’t mind that song, and my six-year-old’s attempt to belt it out is pretty adorable. So, the accurate story here is that she loves That One Song by Katy Perry.

Of course, that wasn’t enough. My budding rock star wanted to hear more songs by her new favorite singer (sorry, Taylor Swift; you’re out). Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of one appropriate. That’s when Annalyn asked, “Does Katy Perry sing any God songs, Mom?”

I had to laugh, since Katy Perry began her music career in the Christian music industry but has, well, moved on. So I told Annalyn that no, sadly, Katy Perry does not sing “God songs” anymore – and then we flipped radio stations until we found one playing “Roar.” (It didn’t take long. That song is pretty much always playing somewhere.)

That’s why, when I heard Katy Perry’s newest song a few days after that conversation, I kind of got chills. “Unconditionally” is all about unconditional love – and whether or not she intended it to, I think it can be considered a “God song.” Some of the lyrics:

Come just as you are to me
Don’t need apologies
Know that you are unworthy
I’ll take your bad days with your good
Walk through this storm I would
I’d do it all because I love you, I love you

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

I was excited to report back to Annalyn that, as it turns out, Katy Perry does – kind of – sing a God song.

But recently when I sat on my bed – wiping tears that wouldn’t stop, knowing a crying hangover headache was inevitable, and asking God what on earth I was supposed to do in a horribly painful situation – I was NOT amused, excited or happy in any way to realize that the song playing on a loop in my head was, “Unconditionally.”

I wasn’t actively hoping for CeeLo’s “Forget You” or some angry song by Pink or Miranda Lambert, but I was HIGHLY annoyed to hear this one instead.

I have some more thoughts about unconditional love and pop music and God’s unswerving commitment to speaking Truth to our hearts. But I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around them, and to be perfectly honest, I’m still hurt and angry about the situation that led to this pop music message in the first place.

So stay tuned for more discussion on these things. But for now, I’m wondering if God has ever used pop music (or any music) to speak Truth into your heart? Will you share it with us in the comments?

{Photo by eighttrees}

Comments

  1. Seems like I remember hearing somewhere that Katy Perry is a pastor’s kid… not sure if it’s true, but it certainly explains some of her songs, like Unconditionally. (And maybe the wild streak, too?) =)

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      That sounds right, although I don’t know for sure. (And apparently am too lazy to google it!) But yes, that could explain both things!!

  2. Katy’s By the Grace of God had me on the floor sobbing after the year I’ve had. Was like she ripped a page out of my (nonexistent) diary.

  3. I have definitely been touched by pop songs. In fact, it’s because of lyrics from an old Coldplay song that I became a real Christian (as opposed to a high school kid who says she’s a Christian and spends the rest of her time judging everyone one else, especially Christians, who don’t live faultless lives.) God is God. He made the artists who don’t sing “God songs” so why can’t he use them to his advantage?

  4. Wow, I’ll have to start listening for that song. Who could not love a Savior who is sooo in the details of our lives that he never misses an opportunity to minister to us. I’m grateful you love him like you do, and are a mom raising your children to be followers.
    Blessings!!

  5. You always crack me up with some of your little one-liners, I love it!! I’m very similar to you in being able to be moved by practically any song, not playing pop music around my baby {much…}, and in being angry recently about some hurt and a little mad at God for feeling neglected though I know that’s not true. I have been really tired lately of feeling like my prayers are all going unanswered and when we get hit with one more thing {like me & baby being really sick for two weeks at an inopportune time}, I lose it in a sobbing mess. Questioning a lot these days about the purpose of prayer, but knowing in my heart the True answers. It’s just so hard to swallow somedays. In November especially, I hit a breaking point. I’m thankful for the praise & worship music that moves me and changes my thoughts, but really it is often that I’m altered by a pop song. For me recently that song has been “Some Nights” by Fun. For some reason, that song really gets me. Just thinking about the ebb and flow of life and that we’re all on a roller-coaster…. But that those of us who are in Christ know without a doubt that we’re not going to fall off, even if we’re fearful of the dips and turns, we know the Truth… that if we start to fall He’ll catch us, if we sway He’ll safely pull us back in, and that if we question things He reassures us of His presence and faithfulness even if not quite in our timing. I cannot imagine living life without Him at the controls and sometimes pop songs remind me how thankful I am to be a believer. Not that I’m not still struggling a bit or frustrated about the reality of life, but my foundation is solid in Him and I’m grateful. — And then there are just FUN songs like “Timber” by Pitbull and Kesha that really don’t have good meaning but I can’t get the beat out of my head and I just wanna dance! :)

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Rochelle, I hate that you’re going through a hard time right now – but so thankful and inspired by your determination to lean on Him and seek His truth. I know what you mean – I can’t imagine facing this world without knowing God! (Also? I actually hadn’t heard Timber until you mentioned it – and then heard it that day! Yes, of course, car dancing commenced immediately.) :)

  6. Well, God did just speak to my heart through the words of a pop song… because I read this post. Thank you. I needed it.

  7. THANK YOU for being bold enough to say something like “God can use a pop song to speak to me”. I had the absolute privilege of working as a teacher in a Christian school that taught (and reminded ME) that our perfect Creator was the first and perfect CREATIVE ONE. He’s the One who gives us creativity!!
    At this school it was their fervent goal to teach the kids that God uses everything and everyone for His glory, whether or not that person acknowledges Him. Without our Savior, there can be no true redemption so any story, song, movie, book, etc that has a redemption story IS a GOD STORY!!!! Take for example, the movie Shawshank Redemption. A phenomenal story that really has nothing to do about God or even acknowledges Him in it. However, because of the redemption of the characters, it can be used as a tool to show how God does that for us. What about “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Again, nothing really pointing to God as a Savior (ok, maybe a little nod to God with Clarance, the angel). BUT, the redemption of the town and its characters so perfectly points to the One who redeems us!! That is why so many people resonate with movies like these because of the “God-shaped hole” in all of us that so desperately desires a Savior, and the One who created us. All that said, thank you for reminding us that just because it may not acknowledge Christ as Lord, we can still praise Him because of it!

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Katherine, your school sounds great! I agree – God’s story and truth can be found in MANY places, not just inside a church or His word.

  8. 21 year old male going through a storm.
    Lyrics from EDM group Sweedish House Mafia song, “Dont you worry child” had me wonder, then was brought to this post. After reading it, I looked up the rest of the lyrics which brought me to a crumbling pile of emotion -

    ” My father said,
    “Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, child.
    See heaven’s got a plan for you.
    Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now.”
    Yeah! ”

    Thank you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sometimes I get the most random songs stuck in my head. And other times the notes and lyrics that come to me seem to appear for a reason, like with Katy Perry’s Unconditional a few weeks ago. […]

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