My Year in Song – 2015 Edition

2013 was a challenging year for me in many ways. Near the end of it, I decided to put a list of songs together that had some profound impact on me during the year. I found it to be a helpful way to reflect back on the challenges that took place that year, along with the results of those challenges.

This song list turned into a tradition that I get excited for each year, even to the point where I start to guess what songs will make the list midway through the year. But I never start to form the list until there are a few days of the year left.

Now, for the first time, I decided to share the results of this tradition. Below are songs that made some sort of impact on me in 2015. I also included a few lyrics that were important for me in the songs, along with a short explanation of why I picked the song:

Exalted One – Elevation Worship 

Key lyrics:
We lift our eyes to you
Where our help comes from

Why I picked it:
I was part of a worship band for a young adults retreat back in February, and this was one of the songs we played. It gave me a lot of joy early on in the year, and was a reminder to focus on Christ as the year continued on.

More Than Conquerors  – Rend Collective

Key lyrics:
You are the fire that cannot be tamed
You are the power in our veins

Why I picked it:
Same reason as the song above. This was a song that was constantly going through my head at the beginning of the year.

Stars in the Night  – Tenth Avenue North

Key lyrics:
The life that lies ahead
Is more than all we leave behind

Why I picked it:
This song really got to me during a concert by Tenth Avenue North I went to in March, especially with the visual of thousands of cell phone flashlights lit up at the same time. It would continue to be a song I’d go back to throughout the year.

At The Cross (Love Ran Red) – Chris Tomlin

Key Lyrics:
At the cross I surrender my life
I’m in awe of you
 
Why I picked it:
I thought this was one of the best Christian worship song to come out in years. It is a great reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and the hope that is provided through that sacrifice. It was another song I would frequently go back to.

Glorious Unfolding – Steven Curtis Chapman
 
Key Lyrics:
And this is going to be a glorious unfolding 
Just you wait and see, and you will be amazed
 
Why I picked it:
This is the first of several songs that stuck with me as I was going through a decision process that eventually resulted in me moving to Minneapolis. I felt like I didn’t know what would result from the decision, but somehow it was going to be amazing. God would reveal those results over time.

Take Another Step – Steven Curtis Chapman

Key Lyrics:
Trust God and take another step
And another step, and another step
 
Why I picked it:
When I first listened to this song, this song encompassed exactly what was happening in my life. Taking one step by doing something that had to be done, and then taking another step, not necessarily knowing where I would end up.

Day One – Matthew West
 
Key Lyrics:
I’m tired of throwing pennies in a well
I gotta do something, here goes nothin’
 
Why I picked it:
This was the most important song to me during the year. It reminded me that every day, we have the ability to change. Every day, we have the opportunity to go down a path that is new. This was a song I put on repeat at a time when I was struggling with decisions that were before me.

Beyond Me – TobyMac

Key lyrics:
Take me to the place where I know I need you…
Take me to your great unknown

Why I picked it:
As you might be able to guess by now, I felt that my life was headed to completely unknown territory in life – something that was “way beyond me”. I would need God in order to move forward.

Live Forever – Matthew West
 
Key Lyrics:
I don’t want to live for now
I want to live forever
 
Why I picked it:
At first I thought the lyrics could be seen as something selfish – I want to live forever. But I soon realized that these lyrics were a creative play on words. It could be read: I don’t want to live just to please myself in the moment, I want to live for the sake of the eternity that God has planned. This song gave me a dose of eternal perspective when I needed it.

We Will Not Be Shaken – Bethel Music
 
Key lyrics:
For we trust in our God
And through his unfailing love
We will not be shaken

Why I picked it:
Bethel Music is a band that I never heard of before 2015, but their songs are played often by my church. Once I moved to Minneapolis, I had moments of fear and anxiety about what was going to happen in the future. At one church service, this song was played, and it brought my focus back to trusting God with what was happening. It was perhaps the most memorable worship experience of the year.

It Is Well – Bethel Music
 
Key lyrics:
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Why I picked it:
I first heard this song when visiting a church in Minneapolis midway through the year. Later in the year, my church played it, and it was another great moment of worship. No matter what was going on in my life and what was going to happen in this new setting, it is well. God is there through it all.

Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young & Free
 
Key lyrics:
When I’m lost your pursue me
Lift my head to see your glory

Why I picked it:
This was an appropriate song to end the year with, confirmed by a conversation I recently had with a friend that had been spiritually “lost” for over five years. Through different events over the past year, God “pursued” him, and turned his life completely around.

For sake of length, I’m going to summarize three other songs that provided some significant memory about the year:

Closer  Hillsong Worship – A song I played during an audition for a worship band at my church near Minneapolis.

Ain’t Nobody (Till You’re Loved) – Sidewalk Prophets – A song I found a lot of joy in after hearing it at a concert.

You Will Never Run – Rend Collective – A song I focused on during voice lessons and also introduced to a youth group I play worship music for.

Each year I wonder if there will continue to be songs that will make an impact on me. But since I started making these lists in 2013, the number of songs on the lists have increased each year. I can’t necessarily expect that the trend will continue, but I can absolutely expect that God will continue to change me and challenge me going into 2016.

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