The other thing that gets stuck in my head is a lot more negative than a musical phrase. I'm a worrier. When something is bothering me, usually something beyond my control, I hold it tight and work it over. "What if the basement floods?" "What if Becky doesn't get better?" "What teacher are they going to give him?"

Not only do these negatives keep me fretting, they eat into my prayer time. It is impossible for me to center myself with a negative wasp of thought buzzing through my conscious mind, chasing away the negative doesn't work. It just keeps buzzing back. But what if I replaced it with something equally persistent, like a musical phrase? Most of the anthems are prayers anyway, so why not pull them directly into my prayer life?

I decided to give it a try at the labyrinth when one of my negatives kept tearing through my mind. Instead of trying to empty my mind, I pulled in a musical phrase. "Joy and peace, strength and hope, grace that blows all fear away."

Persistent as always, the music looped through my conscious mind while I walked. Again and again, step after step. Soon it was background, drifting by while I prayed.

It doesn't bother me anymore when one phrase from an anthem makes its way into my mind for a solid week. Instead, I work with it. I hum it over and over as I walk or fold laundry. And when a worry buzzes around my head, I pull the music out and use it in prayer, pushing the worry aside and giving myself the space that I need to feel something more, something greater.

Stuck In My Head

Worries and fears
swirl through my mind,
keeping me tense,
unrested and unwell.
Help me to replace
this darkness
with lightness and hope,
joy and well-being.
Help me to learn
to draw what comes
from You
into my center,
replacing what has no place there.
Fill me with what is good
so that I can reflect all
that You give me
back into the world.

-Sue Bradford Edwards


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