How I Gave Myself Permission to Listen to Podcasts
I remember the day so well — siting on my couch in my old apartment on Woodmont Boulevard. Hardwood floors, windows open, coffee in hand, as I pressed play on the first Podcast I ever listened to. A moment that — not just the story, but the very media form itself — changed my life.
Ok… ok…I get it. Maybe that isn’t where you thought this story was going. And maybe I am being a tiny bit dramatic. But I mean it when I say I cannot imagine my life without Podcasts.
I’m sure I started like many of us. A friend told me about a true crime podcast that I “OMG! Haaaavvee to listen to!” It was one of your typical true crime stories complete with true crime music, twist, surprises, and no satisfying conclusion.
But this specific show was set in a town not far from where I grew up. A town where I knew people that knew people who lived there. A town I passed the exit sign for every time I went back home.
You see it wasn’t just the story that was interesting. It was the connection to a place and the people that it brought together. I cannot tell you how surprised I would find myself when people told me they listened to this podcast. All kinds of people were listening and trying to figure out what happened!
I remember rearranging my schedule to hear the last few episodes right when they dropped. Sitting on my couch in my old apartment, looking out the window, and listening.
“Hey! Wanna grab dinner?”
“No sorry I can’t! I’m soooo busy right now…”
presses play on podcast
I thought maybe it would be a one time thing, you know? I’m not super into the true crime genre. So after this one was over, I thought I might just wait for another true crime series.
But wait there’s more!
To my surprise, I discovered there are so many other genres and shows! I could listen to comedy while folding laundry, spiritual growth while I drove to work, mental health and growth while I walked my dog.
That’s when I knew… This might become my thing!
From then on it has been podcast central in my life. I listen to them all the time! Don’t know if I could drive to work without one. I know my days of the week based on which podcast drops episodes that day. I use them as excuses to go for walks and even to help me get laundry done! I’ve even leaned on lessons learned from certain episodes during difficult conversations or times of big change in my life.
Then came the shutdown
During what I call the “Big Covid Shutdown” (because… you know… it really isn’t over yet) listening to a podcast really was one of the few normal things I could cling to.
Work all happening at home, seminary classes were at home, too. Hangouts were on zoom, going to the grocery store was worse than the finale of The Walking Dead, and even my Starbucks closed!
But I had podcasts
Every week they still showed up on my phone. And every week I could listen like I always did.
Maybe this sounds a little crazy to you, and that’s ok! I can assure you, it wouldn’t be the first time I did something that sounded crazy!
But podcasts aren’t crazy, they can be a lifeline.
For me, it isn’t just about a great story, learning something new, fun behind the scenes, a laugh, a time for growth, or even bettering myself. It isn’t just about the comfort in the normal recurrence of listening.
Podcasts are also about community. And they can be about ministry, too.
Community, Connection, and Ministry
Podcasts are just one more tool we have in this world that can bring us together to create community. It can be so fun to bond with someone over a shared love for a show! I even found a few Facebook groups for certain shows, and they give me a strong sense of community and connection.
I also learned that podcasts can support my ministry. Have you tried listening to sermons through the podcast app? Shows that walk through the Bible? Conversations with ministers or church leaders? How about the deep dives into some of Christian faith’s bigger questions? You can definitely find the place where podcast meets ministry.
And if you spend enough time “doing ministry” so the thought of listening to something else sounds exhausting (don’t worry I’ve been there, too!), you might find out that this form of media can refill your cup and recharge your soul.
Find one about the Enneagram and learn how to better understand yourself, find one that helps you learn about meditation, find one that just makes you laugh, one that encourages you, one that makes you ask questions, one that makes you wonder. And use all this learning to care for yourself and grow as a leader and a human.
For me? Podcasts aren’t just a little purple app on my phone.
Podcasts opened up a world for me. They led me to community, growth, self-care, normalcy, and sure some fun, too! They help me recharge and renew. Just imagine what world podcast could open up for you!
I’m so glad I gave myself permission to listen!
We would love to hear about the podcasts you are listening to! Would you give us five minutes to tell us about your listening habits?
Pandemic Permission Project
Sometimes we need that extra little bump of encouragement. We need permission to focus on care for ourselves and care for our beloved communities. How do we live our lives, attend the needs and ruptures that are before us, and not collapse at the sheer weight of it all? I think we’re going to need to give ourselves permission…
How does this new project help? We are going to make it a priority in the coming weeks to speak about giving ourselves and each other the permission to do the little things, the simple things in life, the things that we need to live sustainably at this time.
This is the kind of permission to do the simple things because during hard times it’s extremely challenging to remember to do the simple things. Laugh, cry, step outside, or take a break. We need permission for the simple things in order to do the hard things. The big things. The love and justice things. The beloved community things.
To get us started we have gathered some of our favorite permission slips together. We want to invite you to help us share them. What are going to give yourself permission to do today?