July 30, 2009

oh my . . .

. . . I think I'm onto something.

If anyone knew me in 2006/2007 . . . one of the main things they knew about me (or perhaps one of the only things) was that I loved, loved, loved this band called AFI.

I fell in love with them Summer of '06 and the madness began. I saw them 5 times in 4 different states that year, even driving from Wilmington, NC to Albany, NY in one weekend for a show. I saw them in NC, MN, NY and SC. I accumulated T-shirts, posters, put stickers on my car, joined the fan club, got a tattoo, even met my ex because of one of their shows. They have 7 albums, so I very easily listened to them every day.

I was involved in InterVarsity in college, and while not everyone knew my name, they did know who the "AFI girl" was. The main reason I had a myspace account at the time was because it was the only way to subscribe to their blog. I could bring AFI into any conversation. In November '07, I found out that they were working on their 8th album and I got so excited that my roommate told me - "I've never seen anyone get so excited about anything! I thought Jesus was coming back!"

Over those years, I started to feel God convicting me about the obsession. I was rather consumed. There were a few areas of my life that I needed to be in control of. My music preferences, who I dated, and how I spent my money. I told God that I would give Him everything . . . except those teeny little things. I was lord over those areas, and I was convinced that I knew what was best for myself.

What I didn't realize at the time was that I was buying into the worldview broadcasted by society, I think I was defining my own worldview, and I was trying to make God fit into it, putting Him in his nice little box . . . telling Him what He was or wasn't in control of.

I was listening to this music every day that focuses on the human condition, rage, and despair. It very much is inwardly focused, and only allowed my anger and depression to be expanded and justified, not healed. I went to shows and got life from watching the band perform. I still maintain that they put on the most amazing show . . . but I was taking it (not just the shows, but the band and the music) for more than it was . . . I was in essence, worshiping them.

Well, over time I started to be awakened. We don't always realize how much we are being affected or influenced by what we choose to listen to, watch, read, look at online, etc.

God is the one who can fill the holes in our hearts and heal us of the human condition (and oh, how He longs to do so!!). He sent his son purely out of love, to bring us closer to Himself and give us life . . . yet how we keep chasing after the things of this world to give us what we think we need - when they were never intended or designed to do that.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

God wants our despair, pain, anger to be healed - not for us to dwell on these things and wallow in them! He wants us to rest secure in His embrace . . . and to know of His great love for humanity.

So, this is why I say Skillet > AFI. Skillet rocks hardcore, but they sing of the truth . . . and they point to life. So does Relient K, Underoath, Red, Flyleaf, Fireflight, and many others. You don't have to be K-LOVE to be worshipful and truthful.

AFI has released the date of their album debut . . . but I didn't flip out like I did in '07. Their website has some promotion where you have to join twitter to get more information. A few years ago, I would have been signing up for twitter and doing anything to get more information about what they're doing. But today, I am free from that obsession . . . and I think I'll just chill until September to hear what's next.

There is nothing wrong with AFI . . . or going to shows, or listening to secular music - it's just being aware of how much it affects us, and what we allow to control us. I still have a keen liking for AFI and I would love to see them live again - just through a different set of eyes this time. Just appreciating them for their music, rather than proclaiming undying devotion for a group of humans might be more healthy.

God ultimately wants better for us than we even want for ourselves . . . and He wants us to know Him - really know Him - not to just try to make Him fit into our worldview or put Him in our boxes. So . . . listen to Skillet and take a peek at that Bible . . . it might even be better than a live show, I'm just sayin.

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