Singing Makes you HAPPY. Sing More. (My Journey through Psalms 95-99)
Sometimes, I come home and all I want to do is sing at the top of my lungs in the shower.
Sometimes, I put on my PJs and socks–and do a Risky Business move down the hallway…once, or maybe twice (ya’ll that’s the BEST part about my awesome new floors…you think I’m kidding. Just ask my dog. I’m not).
Sometimes, when I’m in the car, I roll down the windows and JAM out to whatever song is on the radio.
Sometimes, I turn on one of my favorite musicals (*cough, cough* Newsies *cough, cough*) just so I can sing as loud as I can.
I love to sing. Off key, loudly. It ain’t pretty, or cute, but it just makes me feel…GOOD.
Now, I’m a nerd, so let me tell you what I know about singing.
- When you sing, endorphins are released. This also happens when you exercise, but let’s face it. I’d much rather sing then run on a treadmill.
- When you sing, you have to breathe in a different way than when you speak. More oxygen in your blood=better circulation. Better circulation=better moods. Breathing techniques are important in meditation and exercise as well, so this only makes sense.
- When you sing, you forget about things you thought you needed to worry about. It’s hard to worry too much when you are singing Backstreet Boys as you slide down the hallway in a pair of Batman socks (purely hypothetical…I assure you… :-)).
But even more than these three things about singing here, I know that singing can have a deeply spiritual component. This is why it is such a common motif in Psalms. Songs are poetry. And poetry, according to Dr. Curt Thompson in Anatomy of the Soul, is a powerful tool. He states:
It has several distinct features:
- By activiating our sense of rhythm, poetry accesses our right-mod operations and systems.
- Reading [or singing] poetry has the effect of catching us off guard. Our imaginations are invigorated when our usual linear expectations of prose …don’t apply. This can stimulate buried emotional states and layers of memory.
- Finally, poetry not only appeals to right-mode procesisng, but to left-mode as well, given its use of language. This makes it a powerful integratvive tool.
Psalm 95-98 all utilize the idea of ‘singing’ to the Lord, about the Lord, for the Lord, as ways to show gratitude, understanding, acceptance, love. Here are a few examples:
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud oto the Rock of our slavation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. (Psalm 95: 1-2)
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. SIng to the Lod, raise his name; roclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his golry among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all the peoples (Psalm 96: 1-2).
Zion hears and rejoices [sings] and the villages of Judah are glad ecause of your juddgments, O Lord (Psalm 97:8).
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; […] Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing (Psalm 98: 1; 4-5).
And these are only a few of the Psalms–this motif is seen from beginning to end because singing is a part of being human. But beyond just singing is exalting. When we exalt the Lord, we lift him up and acknowledge that he alone is mighty and just. When we sing, we more easily exalt him. We belt out a tune and shout out our praise and worship him without regard for what others think about us. Singing lets us do what we are created to do.
Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99:9)
So turn up your radio, put on your socks, and rock out.