I typically would have written another Friday Vibe on music that I have stumbled upon but I just couldn’t this week. I have listened to Joey Bada$$’s All-Amerikkkan Badass and Goldlink’s At What Cost and believe both are amazing projects, but this week I wanted to talk about how music is helping me through a change.
Coloring Book, The Healing Component, The Narrative, DAMN., and to a lessor extent Telefone and I Decided. have helped me greatly over the past year with a change. As the material on here exemplifies, I have definitely changed my view on life and my relationship with God and religion. I always was a Christian by name, but now I am trying to be a Christian by actions and faith.
The difficult part in this transition is moving from basing a lot of your relationships and interactions from around “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll” and shifting them to other pursuits. Saying that you are giving up women, alcohol, and even cursing is a hard thing to talk to your most supportive friends because if they aren’t making the same decisions, it builds an artificial barrier between you. I’ve listened to my friends flounder on the phone trying to be supportive while deep down inside you can hear them thinking, “Sh———-t! You can do that but I am not.”
It’s not even like I want people to make the same decisions as me. The majority of my friends know that I would never force my lifestyle on them. However, when you take such an unknown departure from status quo, it’s hard to continue “business as usual”. It’s uncomfortable and lonely. It’s confusing and desolate. By far, this has been the hardest choice I have made my entire life.
I look at the other side of the coin. Do I just dive head first into the first church I find and join three ministries to make up for my loss of lifestyle? Do I quit everything and move into a monastery? Do I cut off all of my friends because they might become “bad influences”?
Honestly, I hope not.
I enjoy each one of my friends because of their diverse perspectives on topics like politics, music, anime, fraternity, and Life. I am actually really awkward when I get too much attention in churches because it reminds me of my childhood when everything was strange and scary. I also don’t like most modern Gospel music because it is either too soft rock-like, trying too hard to be secular, or the barrier of entry is too high. I don’t know how to even get plugged into the “new” gospel artists to test them out. I just end up feeling lost.
That is the importance of Coloring Book and The Narrative to me. They talk about the issues I struggle with building an identity in Christ while trying to find out how interact with this world. Some people criticized Kendrick for talking about God, but I needed to see that I’m not the only one struggling with religious questions. The Healing Component gave me a soundtrack to figuring out my purpose in life without forgetting God or that there are times you don’t feel so godly.
I needed this recent revival in speculative Christian rap from people who were/are like me. I danced to Juke Juke, been drunk to No Problems, and cried to Blessings because I’ve been the saint AND the sinner. I am still somewhere in between the two and everyday struggle to maintain on my chosen path. It’s hard to not want to drink with colleagues or when a friend asks how your love life is, and you reply that you truly want to and need to be alone. It’s hard feeling so alone knowing that the Bible even told you this would be the outcome from the very start but choosing to walk forward.
I get comfort playing Sunday Morning Jetpack and Drown because both songs hit on emotions I don’t know how to share. It’s good to see the back and forth on Coloring Book between songs of praise and him smoking to connect with his girl. Not that I want to smoke, but sometimes faith doesn’t always fix things right away. It’s a process and I want to see people walk through that process with me. It’s nice to see people on the other side, but I need some of these transitions to encourage me to keep walking.
This has also given me more reason to write about my thoughts to you on here. Hopefully you don’t feel alone and can keep walking at least one more day after reading how it wasn’t easy for me either. I may make it seem like I have it figured out but deep down inside I am completely lost and confused, but that’s okay. It’s normal. It’s alright.
Somedays you don’t know how to shine. Turn your brightness up.
Have any of you struggle with a lifestyle change and feeling left out? Tell me about it. Leave any stories or comments in the section below.