TGP Playlist, “Tune My Heart”:
Before The Crazy Kicks In
When we get asked what it’s like to be in ministry, especially youth ministry, one adjective I hear used is ‘crazy’…but quickly followed by others such as “incredible”, “life-changing”, and ‘the greatest gift’. As I considered which playlist to start out our year with, I thought of one current favorite song of mine. Francesca Battestilli sings of that quiet moment –the one before her kids wake up and the craziness of her day begins. She knows that quiet time with God is essential to caring out her calling every day. We all have distractions: kids, spouses, roommates, animals, neighbors, phone calls or internet. Whatever our distractions may be, we need to find a way to tune them all out for some much needed quiet time with God. Each of us need to find our own unique way to do that.
For me, music helps me tune out the world. When I am between morning devotions, and sometimes even after them, the way I tune things out is this: I wake up, turn on my playlist and get ready for the day. All the while, my mind tries to fast forward to things going on the rest of the day, and each song reminds me to focus in on the reason God created me and what I need to focus on: to keep God at the center of my day and remember this is HIS work, not mine.
Each song on this playlist represents a step in the process of morning time with God that prepares us for the day. I listen to this playlist in the morning before I head to the office, before a youth trip, or an important meeting, but you can use it whenever you wish!
1) “When The Crazy Kicks In” by Francesca Battistelli
Like I said above, Francesca sings of that quiet moment before her kids wake up and the craziness of her day begins, she knows that quiet time with God is essential to carrying out her calling every day. We all know it’s going to happen, we can’t escape it; working in the chaos is what God calls us to do!
2) “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz
The beat of this song is awesome because the verses, which speak to the “keep moving, keep rolling” attitude of our culture, are driven by drums and constant beat. The chorus then immediately stops and all you hear is a soft piano, which represents the quiet time with God. I used this to go with a sermon I gave a few months ago and I had many people of all ages tell me that it spoke to them…so that in itself reminds us we can never outgrow the chaos.
3) “Lord, I’m Ready Now” by Plumb
Sometimes we know that we need to spend that quiet time…but we skip over it because we’ve got too much to do. This is a song to remind us to give ourselves an attitude check. If we get into the habit of fast forwarding through it, we don’t fully plug into God and the humble attitude we need to have when coming to God and when we go forth from that time with Him.
4) “Outta My Mind” by Anthem Lights
We are educated people! We have a lot of great ideas! We are really excited for our next project! …BUT sometimes, let’s be honest – most times, God has other plans. So this is a reminder that we have to get out of our own way, out of our own mind, to let God be the foundation to all we do the rest of the day.
5) “Burn It All Down” by Lexi
I instantly loved this song. Sometimes, what we think God has is store…is really of our own making. It’s a humbling experience to ask Him to ‘burn down’ our plans to let God build from the foundation and ‘leave only [God}”.
6) “Blessed Assurance” by Alan Jackson
This brings me back to my roots with this old hymn (and the twang of country). “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!” No matter what I do wrong or miss, Jesus is still my savior. He chose to save me! No matter what happens the rest of the day, that fact will not change! Hallelujah!!
7) “First” by Lauren Daigle
“Before I bring my needs, I will bring my heart” Before we start to ask God to help us with events of the day, I’m going to bring my heart to God because I want to find Him. Once we remind ourselves who God is and what he’s done, how can we not want to fully praise him?! To just rest in the moment of His glory!
8) “Thy Will” by Hilary Scott & The Scott Family
Whatever we may think we want to accomplish today, let’s remind ourselves the God’s plan is better than ours. We usually learn that lesson the hard way. But by reminding us of this every morning, maybe we’ll listen more to him! (Hey, it’s worth a shot!)
9) “Steal My Show” by tobyMac
This song was actually the first one I added to the list. My entire first year of ministry I would strive to be prepared 30 min before our weekly youth meeting so I could just turn on this song, lay flat on the floor, close my eyes, and remind myself to let the Spirit lead. If God wants to me to use the planned lesson, or even steer us in a different direction, LET him. It’s his stage, we’re just the microphone!
10) “Hymn Mash-Up, Pt 2” by Anthem Lights
Growing up in my family, you didn’t even have to try to memorize the hymns because every family gathering with would sing “the best ones”. So as I grew, finding ways to mix up the melody but keep the message of them was something I found exciting! In our relationships with God, the quiet time with Him may look different as we age and as we grow in that relationship. Incorporating the new with the old is a way to make the transition better!
11) “Fix My Eyes” for King & Country
As we move out from our quiet time into the world, the distractions will slowly but SURELY surround us so what an awesome reminder to keep our eyes FIXED on Jesus.
12) “All to You” by Kutless
“I’m yours, here to reflect who you are” All we do will point to him. Every step we take points to him. One downsize of our calling is our steps are watched even more than others, so we have to remember this as we start walk into our daily lives.
13) “Oceans (Where Feet May Fall)” by Shane & Shane
“You call me out upon of the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail” One thing I’m realizing as I draw-up things like sponsor ‘job descriptions’ because people always want to know what they are getting into. Ministry is not like that. God calls us to follow him blindly and sometimes we may see where he is calling us to, but we look at him like he’s lost his marbles because we aren’t qualified to do it. But something a wise mentor constantly reminds me is that “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” Trust his call for today! Let him lead you; trust him without borders.
14) “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe
One quality I feel like we need to have in our daily lives is to care for the ones around us. Caring for others is a sticky business. Pain is part of that. “Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart…I will run to you cause I know that you are lover of my soul healer of my scars, you steady my heart” When the boat gets rocky and messy, trust him!
15) “Ready or Not” by Britt Nicole feat. Lecrae
When you watch a child playing hide and seek, you can see them get a little impatient while the counting part happens…but then they finally get to shout it out and warn everyone they’re coming!! Their face lights up! This song gets me pumped for the task ahead of me. (This is also on my workout playlist.) Experiencing many different gym environments, one thing that is always a little awkward and sometimes embarrassing is when others stop to watch you do a certain exercise. I learned a long time ago that MOST of the time, looking different during a workout is completely normal. There are also times in our ministry where we stand out from the others around us. THAT’S SUPPOSE TO HAPPEN. Remember, God gave each of us different gifts and mindsets! While we should continue to have an accountability partner or group to keep us in check and keep the Kingdom of God as the goal, we also need to be ready to shine our light that may be a different shade that the person next to you. Don’t let your shine reflect the others around you; let it reflect the God that is in you! Live it Loud! “Ready or Not, Here I Come”
16) “300 Violin Orchestra” by Jorge Quintero
My team in college had this song as the final on our warmup cd. It doesn’t have any words. To me, this song encourages confidence and a great walking beat out the door of my house as I move to start the day. As our time with God comes to a close for the time being, the confidence we feel after knowing that God will lead the way and he’s got this under control is pretty spectacular! Sometimes, words fail to represent that feeling. So a song with no words seems the perfect way to transition into the battlefield we call our office or our youth trip or our meeting.
I hope each of you can find that time with God and I hope this can be a helpful tool for you! If you have a song that helps you prepare for your day, please share! After all, this site isn’t for our platform. This site is a tool to pull the best helpful tools together and work towards his kingdom!
Blessings to you all! Time for the crazy to kick in!!
Ashley Litwiller received my call to youth ministry when I was in high school and making my college decision. I took a leap of faith and went 6 hours away for school. God continues to keep His promises that he made. Now with one full year of part-time youth ministry under my belt, I’ve been able to experience the complex task God calls us to of loving the youth in our congregations. I am incredibly blessed by each youth and young adult I get to work with. Being a young, single, female pastor licensed towards ordination is not the easiest task God has called me too, but I love knowing I am following his leading.
My childhood in a rural village in central Illinois is where my love of song began. I have two loving parents, three younger siblings, and one very precious niece. I was born with a gift for music I’ve been told; most people in my family are. My grandfather led music for 60 years at our small country church. My dad is part of a southern gospel quartet, along with one of my aunts. My mom has sang her whole life as well. It is still common for us to roam around the house singing a tune. We would sing at ANY family gathering. Because of my upbringing, I have a deep love for four-part harmony, as well as contemporary melodies. Putting words together to form coherent sentences was never a strong suite of mine…but when a friend asked me how I felt about something, I could find some song to send to them and say, “THIS is what I mean!” When I would go through something difficult, I would make a playlist of songs to help ease the pain or increase the joy pouring out at the time. I’m excited to share with you all some of these playlists and even hope we can make new ones together. Email email@example.com to share your favorites.