Thursday, February 5, 2009

iPod shuffle and the voice of God

I have an iPod video with a shuffle feature. It’s not unique to my player of course. They all have them. But I just started using it. And I’m really caught off guard at how long it took me to do so. I like to play with gadgets and see what they can do. I never read the instructions though. What fun would that be? I might learn something if I did that and the joy of discovery and feeling like I was smarter than the device I was operating would be lost? So I just play with things like iPods until I figure them out. But the discovery of the shuffle feature did not make me feel smart. It made me feel something else.

I was getting bored with my iPod to tell the truth. No matter which playlist or artist or genre I chose, I would get tired of the music coming over the stereo in my car (really the only place I listen to my iPod with regularity) very quickly. But when I use the shuffle feature, something is different. I find myself listening to music that I never would have chosen otherwise, and actually enjoying it – even smiling and singing along as I drive.

And the mix of songs makes me laugh. Today, in this order, I listened to Good Morning Starshine by Oliver, What I Want by Daughtry, Low Ride by Earl Klugh, Summertime Blues by Alan Jackson, A Day in the Life by The Beatles, and Revelation Song by Tom Braxton. It was an auditory blast! Everything was a surprise and I got to just sit back and enjoy what came next.

Here is what I think was going on with my previous boredom over my iPod listening experience. When I was selecting the genres and playlists and artists, I was in control. I knew what was coming next every time. There was no surprise or sense of not knowing to create any kind of anticipation in me. God spoke to me in the processing of those thoughts – not in an audible voice over my car stereo – but you get the idea.

In way too many areas of my life, I have not learned to let go of the controls. I want to program what makes up the content of all my playlists. I want work to go like this, and family to go like that, and recreation to be made up of something else, and so on, and so on. It’s safe. It’s predictable. It’s boring! It’s death!!!

I don't think God ever meant life to be so predictable and programmed.

Lamentations 3:22-24 says (the emphasis is mine):

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

His mercies never cease.

23 Great is his faithfulness;

his mercies begin afresh each morning.

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;

therefore, I will hope in him!”

No two days are alike with God or for those who follow God. Our days are not part of a playlist, and we should not try to make them fit into one. Funny how a silly little feature on a music player can teach me something about how God has made me to live out the days I’m given. Funny. But praise God!

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