LESSONS FROM THE MAN UPSTAIRS: Nevertheless, turn the music up

Jenna Bartlett

More stories from Jenna Bartlett


It has become a pretty common occurrence to see kids around the high school with AirPods in their ears. And without a doubt, they are most likely blasting a really good song through their brains. Although I don’t own said AirPods because money doesn’t grow on trees, you’ll definitely catch me with a regular set of headphones in listening to some of my favorite music. I have a great playlist, and the music just keeps getting better. But sometimes, I go through periods where the music isn’t great and the songs I constantly listen to get old after a while. What I have found is that, when the music isn’t great, I just turn it up. When I start blasting a song that isn’t great, it sounds better now that it’s vibrating the rearview mirror in the car. My point is, when life isn’t great, and your favorite song isn’t playing, see the good in life by turning up your speaker when you can’t seem to find the right tune.

Some might argue that this logic is like masking the bad feelings and shoving those bad moments down deeper into yourself, and I agree: bottling up all those thoughts isn’t the answer at all. However, I find when I start to shove feelings aside or I find myself worrying about situations that only God can take care of, instead of pushing those feelings down into myself, I give them UP to God. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to push worries UPSTAIRS rather than DOWNSTAIRS in our minds and bodies, creating an underlying feeling of dread later on. Worries, you’ve probably already figured out, bottle up fast. You start with one, then another because something else, then that something else ends up creating another problem, and before you know it you find yourself lost in a web of worries only God can take care of. So when I say turn the music up when it’s not so great, I mean see each tough moment in life as an opportunity to trust God further, praise Him more, and look to Him for constant guidance as you journey through this life.

My mom read me a devotional in her Joyce Meyer book the other day that said use the words, “nevertheless” in situations that would otherwise be focused on as dread. So, instead of saying, “oh great, I failed a math test”, say, “nevertheless, I’ll use my free weekends to do some extra studying for the next one”. Instead of saying, “I do not feel like working out today”, say, “nevertheless, I’ll feel a lot better if I even just get in a short run today”. This ropes itself into being kind to yourself, as well. Yeah, yeah, I know I sound like a major broken record here, but for real, love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Before you venture off into loving others, you must learn to truly love who you are, first. Anyways, when life looks bleak, remember to use NEVERTHELESS!!

I’ve been having a tough time seeing the good right now, to be honest. I am super pumped that it’s January and the new year has begun and February is almost here, but this cold weather has been getting me down, lemme tell ya. I haven’t been able to get over to the track because it’s too icy to be shoveled, and track season seems so, so, far in the distance. (hehe, distance, get it, hehe). NEVERTHELESS, when that first sixty-degree day comes around, and that snow turns to water, you best believe I’ll be over there in a t-shirt and shorts ready to run like crazy. For now, I’m learning to come home to the present.

I’ve read this in my devotional numerous times, but I always seem to come back to it. Come home to the present. This is especially hard for many of us because we constantly are looking towards the future and thinking about what’s coming up. It is AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME to have tons of good stuff to look forward to, but sometimes it can be discouraging because of how far it seems to be away. For example, I’m ready to toss my cap in the air and say “peace out” to high school. But realizing that this moment in time will be lost and you’ll never have this day again, makes you want to enjoy the season you’re in. It’s hard, TRUST ME! You have no idea how much I crave summer and warm temperatures at this point in life. It’s driving me truly crazy having to put on five layers, two pairs of pants, three pairs of socks, two hats, and four pairs of gloves to run in negative temperatures. NEVERTHELESS, God sees what you’re going through. What we need to realize is that God is able to do far beyond all that we ask or imagine. There is no limit to what He can accomplish for us!

Moral of the story: when the music isn’t great, turn it up. Praise Him even in tough moments. Also, KEY IDEA here—when you aren’t going through tough moments and the paths are crystal clear at the moment, practice trusting God. Build up your strength and faith when you aren’t in adversity, then, when adversity strikes, you’re ready for it. You’ve practiced; you’ve ran all those snowy miles and you’ve studied over the weekend, now, it’s game time.


Isaiah 40:28-31 — “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”