I listen to a lot of music—from great Catholic artists like Matt Maher and Audrey Assad to classic rock to punk rock to alternative to country to everything in between. Generally, when I wish to feel close to God or get myself into a meditative/prayerful mood, I listen to Catholic Christian music, but every so often, I come across a secular song that brings me closer to God in a new and profound way. Here are some secular songs that bring me closer to God.
“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
This song talks a lot about using drugs and having premarital sex and the rush that it all is. But it always comes back to the chorus:
“I want something else to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life, baby, baby, I want something else, I’m not listening when you say goodbye.”
The singer is still searching, still unfulfilled, though he keeps going on these manic adventures and searches and usages. If these things aren’t fulfilling, what else possibly could be? Well, God. That’s what this song always brings me to—I may try to fill myself up with these things of the world, things that are promised to fill me up, make me whole, and make me free, but they can’t. Not entirely, anyway. Only God can do that. Without God, we’re just living some (partially) empty, semi-charmed life.
“Let It Be” by The Beatles
Many, many a person has mistaken the subject of this song to be the Blessed Virgin Mary, that Paul McCartney was singing of her guiding hand. In fact, he wrote this song about his own mother, Mary, and how she appeared to him in a dream after she died when he was a young teenager. Doesn’t change the fact that this song could very well be about the Blessed Virgin, and I choose to listen to it that way because she is always guiding us and helping us to grow in virtue and discernment, after all 😉
“Fix You” by Coldplay
The emotion in this song is infectious, and it’s hard not to feel the pain and longing. This song is all about being broken and needing to be fixed. When listening to the chorus as though it were Christ speaking to you, well, let’s just say tears stream down my face every time.
“Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts
This one, I think, is a little more straightforward. The road of life is rarely ever straight and obstacle-free, and this song talks about walking it anyway, trusting God to bring you right where you’re supposed to be no matter what. And who couldn’t learn to trust Him a little more? I know I need that reminder! Jesus, I trust in You. Great song for the Year of Mercy!
“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
I first heard this song when I was young and very unsure of myself, of who I was and what I was doing, and this song reassured me that if I continued to stay close to God and pursued Truth and goodness, that it would all figure itself out (which it did). I always picture Jesus singing this song to me, just telling me to hang on, trust Him, and do my best in every situation that’s presented to me.
“How to Save a Life” by The Fray
Another fairly straightforward song, this one talks about trying to help a friend out of a deep struggle, an addiction of some sort, but all of the gentle nudgings of the narrator remind me of how God gently nudges us, is always beside us even in our darkest moments, and always tries to help us into the light. This song, for me, is about learning how to accept God’s grace, not wallowing in self-pity, and being grateful for every moment, every struggle, every slight urging back to grace.
“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day
Life changes. Things happen. Our perspective shifts. This mournful song is about learning to accept the changes, learning to be ready for them, and being grateful for what you’ve been given and the time you’ve had to live. At one point, he sings: “For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.” Life is always worth living, always worth fighting for, always worth moving forward. With God, the future, the unpredictable path of life, doesn’t have to be so scary. So while this song is very reflective on life lived thus far, I find it very hopeful for the future, that everything is a gift and that God will never abandon us no matter what life throws our way.
What are some secular songs that remind you of God or bring you closer to Him? This list certainly isn’t exhaustive! Which ones on my list surprised you or made you think? Any that you completely disagree with?
A version of this post originally appeared on EpicPew