A Faithful Disciple
Growing up, I used to see myself as one who wasn’t musically inclined. My siblings could sing and dance but I could do neither, at least not up to their standard. I discovered much later that the type of songs they sang in church back then contributed to my singing inabilities. After a while, I started singing a bit more publicly in church as a child during children’s programs. This was mostly because they needed someone to fill in and sing a solo during a music presentation. After that, I realized I wasn’t such a bad singer. In fact, at some point, I was the lead singer in the children’s choir. But this didn’t last long because my parents changed church and there was no children’s choir in the new church. There was only one choir which had only two children and the process of joining the choir was complex so I left it. It was during this period that I found out I had a liking for secular music. I loved listening to blues when my dad played them, and began to imitate the artists when I saw their videos.
When I was in secondary school, I had a friend who knew a lot about foreign musicians. Through him, I got to know about Beyonce and Rihanna. He told me Beyonce was a witch so I immediately detested her and became a Rihanna fan. Even though I was told that Rihanna was also involved in witchcraft, I preferred her because I thought “at least she is a subordinate.”
One day at home, my cousin who lived with my family played one of Beyonce’s songs on his phone. When I heard it, I thought at that time that the song was out of this world! The beat, the tempo, it was all perfect. And being that I had feminist tendencies, I really loved the message it carried. So, I challenge myself to learn the song and sing it perfectly. The song was complex, so it was really a challenge. But after a week, I knew how to sing the song by heart. I was so proud of myself. I concluded that Beyonce was not so bad after all. Then I searched for more of her songs on my cousin’s phone – and that’s how I got to love her songs. This, my friends, was how my journey of following Beyonce began, and of course I had gradually stopped following Rihanna.
By the time I was done with secondary school, I had become a dedicated follower of Beyonce. I hadn’t gone into full worship of her yet because I was still going to church with my parents. I went into worshiping and even praying to her occasionally when my dad passed away because while he was in the house, I couldn’t freely play her songs. When I got into university and began staying in the hostel, I had mentally given myself the title ‘Beyonce’s Biggest Follower in Nigeria’.
I constantly challenged myself to do better. I would make sure whenever she dropped an album, I’d use a week to know all the songs by heart and learn all the dance moves. This way, nobody who said they were Beyonce’s fans could contend with me. To prove this, I would ask how many of her songs they knew by heart, and they’d feel they knew most until I mentioned all her albums and songs up to date. I was a faithful follower who would see her in my dreams where she would teach me songs and we would dance together. I would wake up very happy feeling my ‘god’ had visited me. I would play her songs as worship in the morning, in the middle of the day, and in the night. It was like an example of scripture – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children. And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut 6:6-7). I literally interpreted this scripture upside down; her songs were in my heart and since I had no children, I taught them diligently to my sister’s children. At two years old, my niece had learnt quite a number of Beyonce’s songs already. And I was happy she was taking after me. Anybody who came to stay at my house went back with a gift item — at least one of Beyonce’s songs in their head. I spoke of them when I sat in my house, when I walked by the way, when I laid down and when I rose up. She was all up in my head.
Then obsession stepped in. I knew when and where she was born, when she was married, when she had her first child, the miscarriages after her first child, her marriage challenges, when she had her set of twins. There was nothing anyone could have asked that I didn’t have an answer for. When my dad finally departed, I despised God for allowing it, (it was in God’s Lighthouse that I heard pastor teach about God’s thought towards His children which are good and not evil and I learnt to be grateful in all situations) and turned to Beyonce for comfort. I got allergic to prayers and I would feel so uncomfortable whenever someone prayed. Because of this, I avoided devotions at home. It was at this point I became scared that I was possessed, but I didn’t care. I thought if I was possessed by Beyonce, it would be the best thing!
Nobody would dare speak to me about the Bible. I would always cause some kind of distraction whenever someone came to preach in my room in the hostel. Or I’d play Beyonce’s songs in my music box immediately after the person left, making my roommates dance and forget what the person said. I felt I was becoming an agent of darkness. But that didn’t scare me. I had made up my mind I was going to hell and I consoled myself that heaven was boring… besides Beyonce would be in hell too and I’d rather have her company. I remember telling one of my friends that I was the antichrist and she should forget trying to convince me otherwise.
I learnt the dance of the spirit which would feel like an invocation of a spirit. I usually did this dance with a song sung from the animation Lion King called ‘Spirit’. This dance usually controlled my body movements and my mind. It would seem I’m not aware of my surroundings, like being in another realm. There was no fixed pattern for this dance and I always forgot my previous dance moves — each time I danced to the song, it would be a new pattern. This song was my last worship song before God caught me.
Through Beyonce, I advanced to other musicians like Eminem who I learnt to rap like and became a fan. I followed up on every movie I heard Beyonce featured in. I even learnt to speak a little Spanish and to sing a Spanish song just because Beyonce sang it. I decided that if Beyonce was taken from me, I would die. So, I made up a saying that goes, “No Beyonce, no life.” When I found out that there was actually a fan page called “No Beyonce, no life” on Facebook, I was so happy because then I knew the spirit was one. I became people’s role model and a big influence on many people. To me, Beyonce was overall and anyone who didn’t like her had serious problems.
I adopted her personality. I started acting the way she did in the videos I saw. I started being bossy and too confident, overly rude and excessively sarcastic. I was dripping with sarcasm. I didn’t care how people felt. I started having sexual thoughts because of the inflow of sexual images and messages I got from her songs. My language became vile and vulgar. I don’t think there was a minute that passed without me cursing and using swear words. My mind got so perverted to the point that normal words didn’t mean the actual thing to me. Words like ‘Close up’ which ordinarily referred to a brand of toothpaste didn’t mean so to me, watermelon was not watermelon. I was constantly thinking of something else entirely. Even names like Monica, Lewisky, rang a sexual bell in my head. All these words and phrases and more which I do not remember were gotten from her songs.
There were songs I played when I wanted to trigger certain moods or when I wanted boldness to confront my adversaries. By now, I was in a dance crew, but after a while, I left the dance crew and decided to learn the dance moves by myself. I also wanted to do karaoke as a side thing and I found a place to begin but I decided to wait till after my final exams. This never happened because I got born again before my final exams.
A Ray of Hope
When I came to God’s lighthouse, I was taught during the laying on of hands class in BBS that songs could lay hands on people. At the end of the class, we were told to get rid of all ungodly music in our devices. I found it really funny and I made up my mind that they will have to take my life before taking Beyonce from me. So, I didn’t delete anything. I kept listening to her songs and dancing to them. There came a time when I had to sleep over at the hostel with my cousin U D who also attended GLH. One thing led to another that night and two sisters, sis P and sis F in church found out I still had ungodly songs on my phone. I only had two gospel songs and that was because I was teaching two groups of children dance steps for a presentation. When sis P started deleting the songs, I was enraged, but I felt a restraint. I watched and wept while the songs were deleted. Later on, my discipler, sister S. went through my phone and deleted the remaining songs that had escaped sis P and sis F.
But, I still wouldn’t give up on the songs even though I felt that there was something wrong with them. I ignored what I felt and got the songs again anyway. This time, I played them daily with my speaker at the highest volume. Whenever I played them, I felt open to other realms. And I had an impression of demonic beings flying around. It was like I was welcoming them (at that time, I didn’t believe I was actually seeing anything because I didn’t know I could see visions yet). After I played the songs for about 3 days, I got ill, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but at the same time, everything was wrong with me. There was no part of my body that was not afflicted. I had never been that sick in my life. In my head, every part had a distinct kind of pain. My whole body was on fire. My joints, I couldn’t walk. I was throwing up and purging. I felt life leaving me. That’s when I begged God to forgive me. I was sick till the weekend and decided not to go to church on Sunday because I couldn’t walk and I was weak but my cousin encouraged me and helped me get to church. I had to lie throughout the meeting. I was prayed for at the end of the meeting and I was whole by the next day.
Another instance that made me believe God was really on my matter was that before I slept over in the hostel and fell sick, one of the songs I played repeatedly disappeared from my phone. My phone had heavy security, I was sure nobody knew my password, and I was with my phone the whole time so the chances that it was deleted by someone else was near impossible. I asked everybody around the house but nobody knew what I was talking about. When I told my friend then who was an unbeliever about the disappearance of the song, she said “eh shey you are a daughter of Zion…” I became a believer.
After considering both incidents, I was fully convinced about not going back to worldly music. I deleted every song from my phone and decided to fill my phone with Christian songs. I got our memory verses, some of our songs and Jason Upton songs. But I mostly listen to the memory verses. My favourite then was 1 John 5:3-4 For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world – our faith. I put it on loop and listened to it over and over again. I even used it as my ringtone. I played our songs while worshiping during my personal devotion, and this helped me focus my gaze on the Lord.
I had struggles though mostly when I would walk past a place where they played one of Beyonce’s songs. It was like my mind was a stereo. I would immediately sing along subconsciously and since I used to dance, I would automatically create dance moves in my head. Many times I realized myself after I started dancing physically.
I started attending meetings consistently and noticed that during the worship sessions, I saw visions. But I used to doubt them and think the things I saw were made up in my mind. One day, during the worship, I saw a vision; I was convinced there was no way I could have made it up in my head. In the vision, I saw Beyonce dressed in black, with a black wizard’s hat on and black gloves. She was singing with distress in her voice, as if she was wailing and singing at the same time. It was more like she was trying to make me pity her. She was sitting in the centre of a large dance studio. She looked up and her eyes met mine and there was this darkness in her eyes. Then she said, “come to me.” She kept looking gravely at me and her face was static. Then pastor led us to sing the song where everyone responded, “come Jesus”. When I responded “come Jesus,” she snapped out of the weird position. When I saw this reaction, I shouted the more, “come Jesus!” It seems she was trying to draw me, but I kept saying “come Jesus”. Then she transformed into dark smoke and vanished.
During the Psalm 139 prayer session (a deliverance type prayer), I was prayed for by the prophetic team. And then pastor prayed for me. Though there wasn’t much physical manifestation, I saw things leave me. But there was a particular spirit which looked like the one I had seen in that vision. I was afraid. It was pacing and refused to leave until pastor sang into my ears and I began to have physical manifestations. When it eventually left, it felt like hot water had been poured down my throat. After the prayers, my shepherd asked me to watch the Truth Behind Hip-hop series by G.Craige Lewis.
When I watched it, I already knew some of the things said, but now it was like my scales had been removed from my eyes. I was now sure God was really interested in the kinds of music I was involved with. Apart from experiencing the freedom that came with the deliverance session, I made conscious efforts to stay away from music that seemed to relate to my soul. As much as I remember, I have not fallen back to listening to those kinds of songs.
Applying the messages I heard in God’s Lighthouse to my life helped expel the sexual, feministic, racist, and other negative messages I had imbibed through Beyonce’s songs. My speech changed when I did a bible study on James 3 about praising God and cursing with the same mouth. My mind was wiped of sexual perversion. I do not know how this happened but I’d like to say I was brainwashed because I don’t remember a lot of those things and I can now see things for what they really are. There’s no emotional comfort I could have gotten from these songs or from Beyonce that can compare to what I have received from having a relationship with the Lord. I’ve gotten to learn what true worship is, as much as I have learnt to worship sincerely in spirit and in truth. I have learned that true worship does not necessarily lie in display of emotions, crying and screaming. As believers in the Lord, we sacrifice our lives daily for His purposes and plans, not our own selfish motives, taking up our crosses every day, and trusting in the Lord to lead us in the right direction. The continuous sacrifice of our lives and surrendering of our will for the Lord is an offering of worship to Him.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.
– Sis U.ED