I thought about you, God, and tried to tell you how I felt, but I could not.  You would not let me sleep. I tried to say something, but I was too upset.  During the night, I thought about my songs. I talked to myself, trying to understand what is happening.Psalm 77:3-4,6 ERV
When I feel overwhelmed by my emotions, sometimes it’s difficult to express or even understand what I’m feeling. I usually don’t even know where to start. This psalmist feels the same. He wants to feel understood and known by God, but he doesn’t even understand his own heart. He wants to express what he feels in prayer, but he’s so overwhelmed by his emotions that he feels like he can’t even speak. Like the psalmist, music often helps me sort through the parts of my heart that I don’t understand, and take these emotions to God.
God already knows you, even when you don’t
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.Romans 8:26 MSG
The cool thing about God is that he already understands us. Like Romans 8 says, he actually knows us far better than we know ourselves, and knows that sometimes we have a hard time putting what we’re feeling into words when we pray. He takes us where we’re at, and wants to help us work through these emotions so that we can know ourselves better and in turn make ourselves known to God and friends. Music is just one of many ways we can both understand and express ourselves, and it has helped me articulate to God what I feel in prayer countless times.
In the Psalms, the writers often start out like Psalm 77 did – feeling a lot but not knowing what to do with their emotions. They feel alone, lost, afraid, insecure, or overwhelmed. Through expressing what they feel, they progress from these emotions to seeing how God feels about them, to finally being happy and confident as a result of their faith in God. We can experience this same progression through music, as well.
I have made many spiritual playlists to supplement my times with God, and I’ll walk through how I do that in this study. But first I want to specify that these playlists are, as I said, supplemental. They are not meant to replace times with God, but simply to enrich and add to the work we are already putting into our time reading the Bible and praying. In addition, the way I make a playlist may not be exactly how you would do it, and that’s okay. This article is simply meant to give you another tool and option to have at your disposal as you continue to deepen your walk with God. That being said, let’s walk through one of my favorite playlists we’ve made so far: Insecurity.
Step 1: How does it feel to be insecure?
Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me, the light around me will soon be turned to night,”  You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes. For You the night is just as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.Psalm 139:11-12 Voice
When I am insecure, I often feel like this scripture. I feel lost, misunderstood, and alone. I feel like the “darkness will swallow me”, and that I will never be able to break out of my deeply rooted insecurities. The first couple of songs in this playlist reflect that.
In “6/10” by dodie and “Liability” by Lorde, the artists express the insecurities about ourselves that we feel define us. Dodie is convinced that she will always be average and forgettable, and that no one pities the “plain girl.” Lorde is convinced that she is a liability and nuisance to everyone around her, and that she’s just better off alone. I relate to both songs, and though these insecurities I have about myself aren’t true, I often really believe them as fact.
The next few songs in the playlist reflect the pressures I feel from people. For example, “idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish expresses the fear of never fitting in, that we are weird or different from other people (hands getting cold, losing feeling’s getting old, was I made from a broken mold?).
On the other hand, “Butterfly” by UMI identifies the fear of falling behind. She wants to make people proud, but she feels like everyone else is figuring their life out and she isn’t (I just want to make you proud, but I think that I’m runnin’ out of time to figure it out).
Where are these insecurities coming from?
Finally, in the chorus of “So Afraid,” by Janelle Monae, the fear that most of my other insecurities stem from is expressed – What if I lose?…I’m afraid of it all, afraid of loving you.
The reason why I try to look good and conform to others, or pull back and isolate is ultimately the same – I am terrified of expressing love and feeling rejection if it is not reciprocated.
What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.Proverbs 19:22 NIV
Ultimately what I want is to be loved unconditionally, and all of my insecurities expressed through the songs so far are my fears that I am incapable of receiving that love.
Tips for finding songs that express what you feel
These are the songs that helped me understand and identify my insecurities, and you can use them as a guide for finding your own songs. Maybe they are songs you already have, or maybe you’ll stumble across them as you’re listening to other playlists, or maybe you can look up songs about insecurity, loneliness, anxiety, or whatever it is you need help expressing. The process of finding what songs you relate to the most will help you put into words what you are feeling, or even make you realize you felt something you hadn’t recognized before. When you find these songs that you relate to, be sure to talk to God about them, praying through how you see yourself in the songs you have found.
Step 2: Look at yourself with God’s eyes
“What is the value of your soul to God? Could your worth be defined by an amount of money? God doesn’t abandon or forget even the small sparrow he has made. How then could he forget or abandon you? What about the seemingly minor issues of your life? Do they matter to God? Of course they do! So you never need to worry, for you are more valuable to God than anything else in this world.Luke 12:6-7 TPT
Though our insecurities may make us see ourselves as having no value and unworthy of love, God sees us completely differently. No matter what our fears tell us, God is not going to abandon us. He knows everything about us but loves us anyway. Songs like “come out and play” by Billie Eilish (I know it makes you nervous, but I promise you it’s worth it, to show them everything you’ve kept inside – don’t hide) and “You Say” by Lauren Daigle (You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing, You say I am strong when I think I am weak…And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours) remind me of God’s words to us.
Tips for finding songs about what God thinks
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”Matthew 6:6 MSG
Ultimately, our times with God are meant to shift our focus from us to him, so that we can see things, including ourselves, from his perspective. For this part of your playlist, find songs that make you think of God to help you shift your focus to him. They don’t have to be literal Christian songs that are meant to be from God’s perspective, though they can be. They can be songs about love, friendship, or family – anything that helps you understand how God really feels about you. To further deepen your understanding of God, find scriptures that express similar messages as the songs you have found, and pray about how you see them in your life.
Step 3: Confident because God loves me
My heart, O God, is quiet and confident. Now I can sing with passion your wonderful praises!  Awake, O my soul, with the music of his splendor-song! Arise, my soul, and sing his praises! My worship will awaken the dawn, greeting the daybreak with my songs of light!Psalm 57:7-8 TPT
Like this psalmist says, once we shift our focus to God and see both ourselves and the world from his perspective, we can be confident. We don’t have to be held back by the insecurities we feel, because we don’t believe them as true anymore. My favorite songs from the playlist that reflect this mindset are “Frequently” by UMI and “As I Am” by H.E.R.
In “Frequently,” UMI explains, I know that I’m not perfect, and sometimes I’m unimportant, but you think that I’m still worth it, You treat me like I’m still worth it, so I think about you frequently.
UMI identifies her insecurities about herself, but sees that the person in the song doesn’t see her this way. In turn, she loves them back and thinks about them frequently. This is what our times with God are meant to do. When we see how much he really loves us, that’s when we think about him and include him in our lives.
In “As I Am,” H.E.R. expresses that she is confident and accepts herself as she is, and doesn’t need others’ approval to be happy with who she is: Tell me I’m the best, I am I’ll be feelin’ like, yes, I am, You know I’m the best, ah yeah, You’d be a fool to not take me as I am.
We can have this mindset of confidence where we don’t care if people reject us, because God accepts us as who we are. Our relationship with God can make us secure.
Tips for finding songs that show you who you can be
Songs that inspire you, instill confidence, and make you feel happy can go in this last part of your playlist. This is who God wants to help us become, as long as we are willing to go through the process of expressing our emotions and turning them to him.
This playlist about tackling insecurity is one of many you can listen to. Here are a few others to get you started:
This study took you through one way to make a spiritual playlist that helps you process your emotions, but it definitely isn’t the only way. Rather than a progression, you can just make a playlist of songs that inspire you, or only songs that make you think about God. This was just meant to give you some tools and ideas for how to start your own, and an example of how music can help you express yourself to God and understand both yourself and God better. Happy listening!