Most of the time secular music will spread the lies of the culture, depicting women as objects and glorifying wealth and materialism. But every once in a while a pop song hits a chord of truth that moves us to see ourselves as we are. Even more than Christian music, this truth goes out into the culture and subconsciously evangelizes the heart. This song from Christina Aguilera “I Am” speaks to the core of who we are as women, and by extension, as humans. The song reveals multiple layers of our fears and our strengths.
While there are many lyrics to choose from, we will look at just five from this song.
“Take me, Free me” ~ All of these truths are directed to one, central point. Look at me, and accept me for who I am. Free me from the fears that the world presents. Fears that are not healed by the world, but that can only be healed by God. Christ can free us from ourselves, once we give ourselves to Him. The hardest thing in this engagement is to get out of the way of his healing grace.
“See through to the core of me” ~ As humans this is what we desire, to be seen as we are and accepted as we are, even with the potential for improvement. Our culture tells us to mask who we are because “who we are” isn’t good enough. We go through our whole lives wanting to be loved, and loved for who we are. When we are loved by others we cannot accept it wholly because we know that they are in love with the mask that we wear. How, then, can we be loved by them as we are, without the mask? Underneath our own mask we also don’t even want to know who we are. The thought of looking at ourselves completely, with all of the mistakes and the sins combined with the good in us, is terrifying. The fear is not being able to accept ourselves in the reality of self-knowledge. This fear is conquered by the unconditional love of God. The neglect that we do to ourselves in hiding under masks leaves us disconnected from each other. Disconnected in a time where everything is instantly connected.
“You show me I am beautiful” ~ In our hearts we want to be beautiful, totally, with all of our faults. Beautiful in a way that our current magazine and fashion commercials can never express. Beautiful in a way that directs us to the dignity of the human person. The yearning to be shown our own dignity, that we matter as we are, and with that knowledge, who we can become. We need to be shown the beauty of ourselves because we cannot see it. Beauty that God sees in us and that we can show others by our charitable actions. This beauty is, in the fullest sense, shown to us by the love of God and his Divine Mercy. In our culture, we need to show others the value of their dignity because it is not apparent to them. We need to be the mirror of the divine truth of inherent human dignity.
“Please lay down your arms, do you know me? Make me feel safe from harm” ~ The pleading of our hearts to be known, to be approached without the “arms” or weapons of judgement and scorn. To be known in the most intimate way, and in a way that is safe and nonthreatening. What are the arms that you have to be wary of? In your life, what are the weapons used against you? Knowing what you are fighting is as important as knowing who you are. When you know the weapons that attack your dignity, it is easier to recognize them and guard your heart against them. When we turn our hearts to Christ, He accepts us back into His arms as His prodigal children. Celebrating our return to him, not pointing at and shaming us. Protecting us, even from ourselves, in his knowledge of our worth.
“I am” ~ This song, though secular and most likely not written for any transcendent purpose, connects us to the core of everything. In repeating the words I AM, it relates us to Jesus. In what way? “I AM” are the words He used to reveal Himself to humanity throughout the Gospels. In a way this is a connection to being made in His image, revealing ourselves to Him and to others for acceptance.
It is truly difficult to reveal ourselves to others because of the pain and rejection we have felt at different times of our lives. This suffering was also endured by Christ, he suffered the rejection of humanity and in turn saved humanity through that suffering. Christ is there in our rejection and he is also there in our acceptance. He showed us who He is so that we could know who we are. It is impossible to look inside ourselves and see our true worth without being shown the love of Jesus through the Cross.
In the secular culture it is easy to be swept away by the negative messages and the focus on the sins of others. It is important that we have the sensitivity to see the true yearning of the heart that comes from these types of songs. Truth comes in many forms and in music it can shape the heart. It is also important that, after finding these truths, we guard our hearts from the messages that try to instill fear and anxiety, and take away from our dignity as children of God.