When That Song Is Stuck In Your Head

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? It is frustrating isn't it?

Recently, I added a number of tunes to my iTunes library. I titled this recent batch my "New New" playlist (not to be confused with my "New" playlist. Yes, my creativity knows no bounds). Unfortunately, I have been waking up with a couple of these playing in my head. Ahhhh! ... I don't like them that much!

The technical name for that little irritation is "earworm." Earworms are a reminder that even a very good refrain can get very irritating.

For some reason--for me anyway--what happens with a musical refrain does not happen with the spoken or printed word. I can hear a good quote over and over again. A wonderful thought never leaves me with an earworm. Take this excerpt from Eugene H. Peterson:

Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God. Worship is the time and place that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God – not because he's confined to time and place but because our self-importance is so insidiously relentless that if we don't deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly, we have no chance of attending to him at all at other times and in other places.

I am grateful for Peterson's reminder. Far too often I am far too preoccupied with me!The earworm of self plays in my mind over and over and over again. But when I come to worship that irritating "me refrain" gets replaced by the splendor of the Almighty. The beauty of God overwhelms me. Paul shows me this in Romans 8 and 11. Meditating on the wonder, glory, and grace of God leads him to a crescendo of praise:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.  Romans 11:33-36 ESV

Are you preoccupied? Are certain refrains of work, family, money, fun, troubles, trials, hopes, or heartaches a troubling earworm in your head? How do you get rid of the unwanted tune? A recent report, "How To Get That Song Out Of Your Head" noted:

About 90 percent of people report earworms from time to time and . . . two things seem to be involved: lack of control and a brain that is sort of idling.

Worship is our opportunity to interrupt the idling mind. This Sunday, get that unwanted song out of your head. Gather with the church and attend to the presence of God.


"Worship is the strategy..." from Leap Over A Wall  by Eugene Peterson. New York: HarperOne. 1998. Page 152-153.