Live Your Song: A Lenten meditation from Jon Foreman’s TED Talk

This week Jon Foreman delivered a TedX Talk at the University of Nevada named Live Your Song. He presented a simple and elegant idea about living your life’s song (or purpose). The TED talk-ing intermixed seamlessly within a set of 3 acoustic songs. As Jon bounced between his spoken and lyrical words, the talk did not have the typical drama and performance of a TED talk, instead it was seeping with sincerity, in a style reminiscent of conversational slam poetry.


It was clear that Jon Foreman was so very passionate about the words he had to share. He wanted to remind us of our temporary and limited life, but at the same time paint a beautiful picture of our significance. He highlights the grandness of our calling without forgetting to mention the effort and struggle it takes to get up and thoughtfully make moves toward our purpose in the world. His words encourage us to humbly realize who we are and that the life we live matters. As I listened to the talk, I couldn’t help but relate his message to the season and mindset of lent.

I think it is fair to say, I loved the talk. Here are 7 quick thoughts and truths for lent, each one structured around a quote from Jon Forman’s TED talk.



Holiness is stripping away the excess in order to express the authenticity of who we are and what we were truly made to be.

“There is a song inside of you, an anthem in your chest… your thoughts your words, your actions they sing with a cadence that is all your own. Every morning when you get up, your song is burning to come into being in the backdrop of the symphony of our time…your melody is yours alone, no one else can sign it for you…”


Though small and weak, you matter.

“You begin to wonder if this fragile little melody you have been given can even make a dent… The creator, the composer of time and space has answered you with wordless beauty, ‘you matter, you matter, and there is a void in the symphony of life when you are silent. The pain, the anger, the frustration, the dissonance, be brave, sing through it, be brave, and sign the truth one note at a time.'”


Ashes are a sign of our mortality. A reminder that life is temporal.

“We are terminal, we are the living souls, with terminal hearts, flickering like candles.”


Your mission and vocation is set within this time and this place.

“So the question becomes, how do you live a song, and make it a good one? It begins with tuning… tuning lets you learn what is within your power to change, and that which is outside of your control. Listen to the room, listen to the songs of your community and family. What part of your melody can you play to bring them to life. Human life happens in context right.”


It is about getting back up.

“You are never going to be anyone else, ” You are going to be you, and it is going to be a lifetime of practice. Practice is awkward, practice is a struggle, practice is a fight. What is practice, but not only the right notes, but the wrong notes…  It is going to take a struggle to become who you are. Your mom struggled to bring you here. You fought to get here, and that fight continues. When you hit the wrong notes, what happens next? the song continues, right? the question is do you continue to play, you continue to reach to the next. dI dare you to forgive yourself, to ask for forgiveness when you hit the wrong note… Don’t let the past mistakes rob the present of the potential for beauty and joy.”


The imperfections are part of our story.

Music is tension and release…We as humans are caught between the polarity of birth and death, and between the polarity of control and chaos, and its almost like a guitar string. We are we are stretched tight right in the middle, and when a difficult situation arises, the temptation is to run to one end or the other or to cut the string entirely… The tension is where we live, the struggle is a part of this world. I dare you to make a melody with the tension, to dance upon these strings of life. To continue to practice and engage in the struggle.


Be bold, holiness is not a passive sport.

“Be brave your melody is worth it. Be strong your melody is needed. I dare you to live out the purpose for which you were born. That your melody would soar above the past, above the pain, above the dissonance. The song you were born to sing would come into life….

The composer of time and space has given you a part in this great symphony this is your moment, This is your opus. This is your life, I dare you to move.”

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes!


  1. Thanks for posting! I’ll have to check out the TED talk. I used to be really into Jon Foreman and kind of lost touch after college. It’ll be fun to see him again. 🙂

    • The best thing about Jon, and it shows in the TED talk, is that he is still singing the same song, just in new and creative ways.

    • You are right! The greatest thing about the talk is that he is an instrument to let us one we are instruments as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *