The 15 or so hours I have spent in the car in the last week have been an absolute delight, because right now there's some music out there that is delighting my soul.
As I travel the country my desire to see young people thrive beyond their teenage years grows. As I meet youth workers who are investing passion, wisdom, heart and prayer in supporting teenagers through faith struggles and identity discovery I feel so sharply the pain of them then heading off unprepared for what's ahead. Yet these songs speak messages I would love them to take with them. Here are some excerpts, which I hope will encourage you, help you to pray for your young people and give you a vision for what could be beyond their time with you.
Oh, she's got both feet on the ground,
And she's burning it down
This girl is on fire!
This girl is on fire.
She's walking on fire.
This girl is on fire.
(GIRL ON FIRE, Alicia Keys)
There have been students arriving at uni that this song totally describes. They absolutely boss it. They are passionate, confident and normal! With their feet on the ground, firmly fixed within the culture they're amongst they live out fearless lives of love, challenge and creativity. I love to see students grasping every opportunity thrown at them and just burning it down.
"Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame.
Where there is a flame someone's bound to get burned.
But just because you're burned doesn't mean you're gonna die,
You gotta get up and try, try, try."
The reality of this chorus resonates massively with me. The call to perseverance is one that I think is key to be communicating to this generation, to my generation. Growing up in an education system that has been all about our own success and now facing mass unemployment, we need to move into a maturity of understanding the consequences of an uncertain and uncontrollable future, and commit to perseverance and hope despite the burns.
"Would you let me see beneath your beautiful?
Would you let me see beneath your perfect?
Take it off now boy, take it off now boy,
Cause I wanna see inside.
Would you let me see beneath your beautiful tonight."
(BENEATH YOUR BEAUTIFUL, Labrinth ft. Emeli Sande)
This is without a doubt my favourite song at the moment. It's call to authenticity, value and connection is beautiful. University is a place both of unprecedented intimate connections within a 24/7 lifestyle and a tendency to create a mask, an alter ego, for self-protection. The eternal message of our value as created, loved, died for children exists beneath the 'beautiful' that we put out there.
There's so much going on for students; so much to get involved in, lead in, delight in. My prayer is that in this exciting, adventurous new season they can blaze bright with passion and confidence, persevere through the testing times and know their deep value.