Life, Learning, & Legacy – Switchfoot: Burn Out Bright

Sep 30, 2019Family Transformation

It would be really hard for me to pick out a favorite Switchfoot song. I definitely have a top 10 list, but it would probably be easier for me to categorize the different songs by Switchfoot and say which category I enjoy the most.

That said, the category I’d lead with is made up of songs that encourage me to live my very best life. In 2006, Switchfoot released the album Oh! Gravity., and on that album was a song called “Burn Out Bright.”

That song has been on my mind a lot lately, because I’m watching my son Clayton enter his senior year of high school. I’m remembering the ambition I had at that age, knowing how passionate I was about life, thinking about what was ahead, and thinking about all the things I wanted to accomplish.

It’s such a special time, and it’s exciting to watch him as he’s looking at his dreams and what is possible. The challenge is, as life goes along, we know setbacks are going to come.

Things are going to cause us to look at those dreams, questioning what we’re doing and wondering if we’re on the right track. Those times become a crossroads.


Does it have to start with a broken heart

Broken dreams and bleeding parts

We were young and the world was clear

But young ambition disappears

I swore it would never come to this

The average, the obvious


I’m still discontented down here

I’m still discontented


It’s amazing how life can beat you up, how quickly a setback can kill a dream. Deep down inside, we all know we have limitations. The important part is realizing that we only get one chance to live our life. I never want to stop chasing down something bigger than me. No matter what the setback is, I want to be in a position where I’m always looking for what’s next and what’s possible.


If we‘ve only got one try

If we’ve only got one life

If time was never on our side

Then before I die

I want to burn out bright


Have you ever gone passionately in the wrong direction, chased after something that you were just certain was the right thing to do, only to find out it was a big mistake? There you sit, with egg all over your face, wondering what went wrong.

The important piece is to realize that it’s okay, that it’s a lesson you can learn from and you can keep moveing forward. It’s very important that we learn the lesson. It’s important that we don’t let the mistake guide the future, but let the mistake shape the way we attack the future.


A spark ignites

In time and space

Limping through this human race

You bite and claw your way back home

But you’re running the wrong way


The future was a question mark

Of kerosene and electric sparks

There’s still fire in you yet

Yeah there’s still fire in you!


I keep cleaning up the mess I’ve made

I won’t run away

I can’t sleep in the bed I’ve made


Everyone wants their life to count. How hard will we chase after that? No matter what setbacks come, are we willing to realize that, until we breathe our last breath, our story is not done? It’s only when we stop trying that we miss the opportunity.

That’s the beauty of this song. How do you build a life that burns out bright?


If we‘ve only got one try

If we‘ve only got one life

If time was never on our side

Then before I die

I want to burn out bright