Life, Learning & Legacy: Switchfoot – Live It Well

Jun 24, 2019Family Transformation

In 2016, Switchfoot produced their 10th studio album titled “Where the Light Shines Through.” It is one of my favorite albums they’ve produced in the last few years. The song that became this album’s anthem is called “Live It Well.” It’s also become an anthem for my own life.

As you’ll see in a minute, the chorus seems to echo what I think all of us know deep in our hearts, but don’t necessarily recognize on a day‑to‑day basis. Here is the first verse.

Take the burden from my arms

Take the anchors off my lungs

Take me broken and make me one

Break the silence and make it a song

I don’t know about you, but there are many times in my life I simply carry around my own burdens. I want to speak out against injustices that I see, but it’s almost as if there is an anchor sitting on my lungs stopping me from yelling or speaking up. Not only that, I know I’m a broken individual.

This verse speaks to the potential for God to transform us, and through that transformation, it breaks our silence. It gives us permission to make a difference. As Switchfoot expresses it, oftentimes, the permission to transform can be found in a song. Here is the chorus.

Life is short; I wanna live it well

One life, one story to tell

Life is short; I wanna live it well

And you’re the one I’m living for

Awaken all my soul

Every breath that you take is a miracle

Life is short; I wanna live it well

The chorus almost makes me speechless, because it’s so true. Our lives are so short. Even if we live to the current life expectancy of 90 years, how short is that in the realm of eternity?

When we reflect on that, we realize very quickly how short an amount of time we actually have to make a difference in this world. What I know, when I listen to this song, is I don’t want to spend my life poorly. I want to spend it well.

I know I’ve only got one opportunity, or story, to get it right. As my soul awakens, and I realize the love Christ has for me, and the love I then can share with others, I realize the miracle of my own breath and the responsibility that comes with living this short life. The next verse expands upon this further.

I wanna sing with all my heart a lifelong song

Even if some notes come out right and some come out wrong

‘Cause I can’t take none of that through the door

Yeah, I’m living for more than just a funeral

I wanna burn brighter than the dawn

It’s so important to understand even when I have the courage to put myself out there, I’m probably going to do some things right and some things wrong. The activity of putting myself out there is what’s more important. Nothing I accumulate on this side is going with me, outside of the love I leave and the actions I take.

Spending time accumulating, although providing a temporary joy, does nothing for the eternal impact I can make. If I’m focused on this life, then at my funeral, what will I have to show other than the time I temporarily spent here? If I’m not careful, it will have been spent selfishly. I want to make sure I realize the full weight of how short this life is and live well every minute. The last verse finishes with:

I got one life and one love

I got one voice, but maybe that’s enough

‘Cause with one heartbeat and two hands to give

I got one shot and one life to live

One life to live

And every breath you take is a miracle

This verse helps me understand that I may only be one voice, but that one voice may be “enough.” I’m only responsible for what I do with my life. I’m not responsible for what anyone else does, but every single great movement in history started with one voice and two hands and grew into something else.

I don’t want to find myself guilty of sitting back and not having lived this life with as much potential as possible. I’ve got one shot to get it right, and I want to spend every single bit of myself trying to do just that.

As you begin each day, I encourage you to reflect on this. At the same time, I might have just introduced you to a song that will become one of your favorites as well.