This is the story of how a band called Hillsong United helped an excessively worrisome mother find some peace, even if just for a short time. I believe every mom is an excessive worrier; it comes with the territory. I do feel like I keep most of my worries from spilling to the outside world, keeping most of them bottled up inside just like the therapists tell you to. Here is a sample of what I’m working on currently:
My oldest daughter is studying abroad in a country that I consider to be somewhat dangerous, so I worry about her safety (although she doesn’t, which also worries me). My second daughter is a freshman in college who is trying to adjust to living five hours away from home and managing a demanding schedule. Also, she is contemplating a future that includes the military, so she has given me a lot of good worry material. My son is a junior in high school and has no idea what he wants to do, so I worry that he might choose a career either dealing drugs or watching Sports Center on an endless loop (the latter seems particularly possible). And my youngest daughter is suspiciously well adjusted and low maintenance, so I worry that I don’t really worry about her enough and I'm missing something.
Before you think about what a jerk I am for whining about my miniscule problems, I know there are a lot of people who have actual problems (illness, unemployment, a color scheme for Easter), but my point is that even if there is nothing to worry about a mother will find something. Everyone has their own version of crap to deal with. It’s life, or certainly life as a mother.
Thus was my situation yesterday when I noticed Hillsong United at #2 on iTunes. Curious (since I have never heard of them- an increasingly common occurrence), I decided to listen. It didn’t take long to realize they were a Christian band, which isn’t normally my thing, but I liked the music okay, so I kept listening. Full disclosure: I was raised Christian, but I’m kind of a “lapsed” Christian who doesn’t go to church so much. Or pray.
This morning on the train I was listening to “Zion”, the new album by Hillsong United, and heard these lyrics in the song “Heartbeat”:
I want You, need You
I love You, Jesus
My heart beats forever
Just to know You
Let go and throw
My future into Your hands
For some reason the whole package—lyrics and music—struck me. The idea of a higher being who has a plan and will offer guidance felt almost like a relief. I continued to listen to the other songs with a new perspective, really trying to internalize the message, and it actually did bring me a sense of peace and calm.
The message aside, I would not have continued listening to Hillsong United had I not liked the music. It feels powerful without being too overbearing. There are a variety of vocals (male and female) to keep things interesting. I did some research (translation: I looked on Wikipedia) and found that the band was formed from a church in Australia that bears the same name. The band originally formed as a way to engage the younger members, smartly realizing that it was effective way to do so.
The website for Hillsong United is relatively sparse; there is some information about tour dates and a link to a 90 second YouTube video explaining why they made “Zion”, but nothing really from the band members directly. I didn’t find a ton on the internet about them in general, making me wonder if they prefer just to perform and spread their message through their music rather than promoting themselves too much.
The fact that “Zion” has made it to #2 on iTunes, even ahead of Bruno Mars (Bruno Mars!), is curious to me for a band I have never heard of, although the same thing happened with Toby Mac last fall (I had never heard of him—Christian hip hop type artist—and then realized I might be the last person who hadn’t). That was when I realized what a HUGE market Christian music is. And really with all the crap that’s on the radio (raunchy lyrics, lazy arrangements, Auto Tune) this is probably a nice alternative for a lot of people.
I liked “Zion” and will continue to listen to it, perhaps when I am craving some perspective and am likely to be receptive to some contemplation. Maybe the messages in the songs will even help to mitigate some of my worrying. Maybe- I’ll let you know.
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Filed under: Album Reviews