Erin grew up in Newton, Kansas, and attended Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas. She just wrapped up two years of volunteer service in San Antonio, Texas, one year through Mennonite Voluntary Service and one year through AmeriCorps. She is currently working part time for a nonprofit that focuses on providing support for those who are doing community-based work.
As I was putting this list together, I realized that most of my songs lend themselves to the idea of letting go and not worrying so much. I struggle to let things be and to not worry about things in my life. These songs have come into my life at different times to help remind me to not worry as much about what will come next.
1. “I Lived” by One Republic: This song came to me in a time of uncertainty. I was struggling with the path I was on following college and being placed in a new position. I was struggling to find purpose and passion. This song helped push me to find something that made me feel like I was living life to the fullest. The line that resonated with me the most is “I owned every second, that this world could give.” While not every second is exciting, I feel like I am owning my seconds better.
2. “Unwritten” by Natasha Beddingfield: This song came into my life in high school. “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” was one of my favorite books and in turn, one of my favorite movies. This was the main song from the soundtrack that I liked. The song reminds me that while the past is, in a way, “written” because it happened, the future is still to be known. The song came to me during the same time as “I Lived.” I was on a weekend trip to a friend’s house when the song came on the radio. While it gives me a sense of calm in terms of not stressing about the future, it also helped me to reclaim my story. Our story can easily get away from us, and it can seem that we’re having someone else write our story for us. When the song came to me, it encouraged me to take a little leap of faith into an unknown, and also allowed me to take over my story again.
Favorite lyrics: “Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost taste it, release your inhibitions.”
3/4. “Put your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae/”Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley: These two songs have always held of lot of power for me. They actually inspired my most recent tattoo. The image of birds holds a lot of symbolism for not worrying. My first exposure to that image was from Matthew 6:25-34, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
In high school, I heard Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put your records on.” And I have always liked Bob Marley’s music. And I like the image of the bird that both of these songs include. “Three Little Birds sat by my window and they told me I don’t need to worry.” “Three little birds, Pitch by my doorstep, Singin’ sweet songs…”
5. “Glory” by Common and John Legend: I really don’t have a lot to add beyond the blatant meaning of this song. I know the song was created for the Selma movie, but it applies so much to today.
6. “Hope” by Twista Ft. Faith Evans: I think part of the reason I like this song is because it was in the movie Coach Carter. I love uplifting, bordering on cheesy, sports movies. But I think this song can apply to a lot, especially recently. Music can help uplift, us, it can help lead and inspire. “’Cause I’m hopeful, yes I am, hopeful for today, take this music and use it, let it take you away, and be hopeful, hopeful and he’ll make a way, I know it ain’t easy but that’s okay.” This song talks about lots of negative things that can happen in our lives and staying hopeful. It won’t be easy, but things will happen. I like that it emphasizes that God won’t take care of everything. There is some we have to do and we can be hopeful. I know it’s a little outdated and doesn’t talk about all we can do, but it gives some good sentiments and sheds light on some of the issues certain groups in society have been facing for years.
7/8. “Brave” and “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles: I struggle to to speak up and stand up for myself sometimes. I don’t like conflict, but both of these songs resonate with me. Both songs talk about speaking up and being strong and brave. “King of Anything” lends itself to specific incidents when people are trying to tell you you’re wrong or what to do. Both songs are empowering for me when I am feeling lots of pressure and needing some strength. They help lift me up.
9. “Undignified”: This song reminds me of Camp Mennoscah in Kansas. It was one of the songs from later in my time attending camp. It’s an uplifting song. Often we are told we need to praise a certain way or be calm. This song lets you be free of your inhibitions and praise as you feel led to praise. “Nothing, Lord, is hindering the passion in my soul, and I’ll become even more undignified than this, some would say it’s foolishness, but I’ll become even more undignified than this, leave my pride by the side.” It’s an uplifting and freeing song.
10. “Guide my Feet”: This is another song that helps me walk in faith and be free(ish) of worry. “Guide my feet, while I run this race.” It’s inviting God to come with me on this race called life. Having God guiding my feet is reassuring. No matter where I walk, there is someone to help guide me, hold my hand, stand by me and help me search my heart.
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