It’s that time of year where everyone is posting their Spotify “Wrapped” lists. Spotify analyzes your playlists and what/who you’ve listened to all year and compiles different lists for you. Not at all surprising, is the fact that my top artist was Billy Joel. Of the 11,078 minutes I’ve listened to music on Spotify this year, 928 of those minutes were strictly Billy Joel, putting me in the top 0.5% of his listeners on Spotify this year. He’s amazing and I’m not the least bit ashamed.

My top 5 artists this year were Billy Joel, NEEDTOBREATHE, Howard Shore, One Republic, and Weird Al Yankovic. Having seen 3 of those artists live this year, that makes sense.

One thing that really stuck out to me was the list of my top 5 songs and how accurately they describe the past year for me. This year I moved away from my home town and into a new city, started a new job, found a new church, made new friends, and discovered that I struggle with anxiety (mainly due to work). I used to think anxiety was just an anxious feeling you get sometimes, but it is so much more. Anxiety isn’t fun. It isn’t logical, it’s hard to think your way out of it, it makes you depressed, and makes you want to just sit at home and do nothing. It has made me lose my appetite and lose weight. It gives me the feeling of being trapped. I’ve never really struggled with anxiety or panic attacks before, but I totally understand it now. It’s debilitating and exhausting. All that being said, here are my first reactions to these songs and how the titles and lyrics accurately describe my year and my current state of mind.

“Counting Stars” by One Republic

The chorus says “Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep Dreaming about the things that we could be”

I haven’t been losing sleep, but I have been stressing out and losing my mental calmness. I do spend days dreaming and thinking about the way things could be different. Counting the stars, wasting time while I wait for the season to change.

“Run” by One Republic

The song ends with the repeated line of “if I learned one lesson, count your blessings, Look to the rising sun, yeah, run, run, run.”

It actually cracks me up that this is on here. The name of the song plainly speaks of what I want to do: run away from this anxiety, from toxic situations I’m trapped in. But the lyrics go deeper, they say to count your blessings and look to the rising sun. I look at my life and I know I am very blessed. Blessed beyond measure. An amazing family, amazing friends, a good church community, and my loving and ever-present pup.

Sometimes we need to step back and take count of our blessings, especially when we are in a tough time. To me, looking to the rising sun is a way of looking to the hope in the future. Knowing that a new day will dawn and things will change. That is comforting.

“Keep on Keeping on” by Colony House

The lyrics in this say “And when hope has sailed a way, Glory’s made its grave, Keep on keeping on. When the devil’s arm seems strong, brother, Keep on keeping on.”

The whole song is a great encouragement by artists who have been through some rough times (the two Chapman brothers lost their little sister in a freak accident). They encourage the listener to keep on keeping on even when things are rough, even when hope seems lost, don’t give up. The whole “When I Was Younger” album that song is on is full of encouragement.

“The Passenger” by Iggy Pop

I’m not an Iggy Pop fan, but I heard this song on The Umbrella Academy and loved the old timey vibe it had. The song declares “I am a passenger. And I ride, and I ride.”

It is essentially about how we are just passengers in life, riding through it. From a biblical sense, I know that I am just a passenger on earth, I’m just passing through, it’s not my home. I’m only here for a short while compared to eternity with the Lord.

“God, Turn It Around” by Jon Reddick

This beautiful song says,

“I’m praying, God come And turn this thing around. God, turn it around…I’m calling on the name That changes everything, yes. God, turn it around…All of my hope Is in the name The name of Jesus. Breakthrough will come. Come in the name, The name of Jesus…’Cause all of my hope Is in the name The name of Jesus…He is up to something. He is up to something. God is doing something right now. He is moving mountains. Making a way for someone. God is doing something right now, right now”.

This song suffers from what a lot of modern praise music suffers from, repetitive words and sayings and not much depth (compared to the hymns and psalms of old). However, this one is super encouraging. I’ve listened to it many times when filled with anxiety, when my head won’t stop spinning with negative thoughts. I’ve found myself shouting this song out loud as a prayer for the Lord to deliver me from the situations I’ve been in this year. Because I know that HE is the only way I can get through it. HE is making a way for me. I don’t see the big picture, but HE does, and it’s all part of His beautiful plan.

So, even though I’ve been “counting stars” and feeling like I need to “run” away from the anxiety and toxicity, I need to “keep on keeping on” and know that I am just a “passenger” in this world and God is sovereign and he will “turn it around” for his glory and for my good. All I need to do is to wait on Him & be faithful.

If you’re a Spotify user and want to see your yearly wrap up, click here.