Tag Archives: awakening

The Swedish Guy Behind Our Favorite Pop Songs

If you have never heard of Max Martin, you may be surprised as to who he is. In a sense, Max Martin is the powerhouse of pure pop. Wait what? He’s a singer? No, not necessarily. Max Martin is the man behind many of our favorite popular songs. Realizing this the other day made me have that “my whole life is a lie” moment. When listening to popular songs in middle or high school, I was totally thinking that the singer was behind the inspiration and lyrics for the song. Songs like “Shake it off,” and “Teenage Dream” by Taylor Swift, “Roar” by Katy Perry, “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, and “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson were all iconic songs many teenage or 20 something females would jam to, including myself. While listening to the song, I felt a relatability to the singer for composing such lyrics that often related to my emotions. I think that is often what makes us fall in love with the singer, right? However, little did I know that someone else, a 46 year old Swedish dude, was behind the inspiration and lyrics of these songs and the singers were simply performing the ideas. Like What?? Realizing this makes us realize that the world is not often what it seems. We often become so infatuated with a certain genre of music or a musician, not knowing that the music is unauthentic and fabricated by someone we don’t relate to at all, and possibly trying to influence a young generation for the benefit of a societal or market demand. In a similar sense, the person behind the franchise lingerie store “Victoria’s Secret,” was created by an old man in Ohio. But that’s a whole other topic for a different day. After knowing that some of our most popular influences are actually not what they seem to be – that is, not transparent or representative of it’s source – we should realize that many other popular influences are also not what they seem. We should proceed with caution and research before so easily conforming to or buying what is “popular.” Ask yourself questions like, Who is behind this product, idea, trend, etc? What are their individual and/or company’s values? Who or what am I supporting when I give in to receiving it or part-taking in the ideologies of the trend? We always always always need to ask ourselves these questions before easily part-taking in trends or hopping on a bandwagon just because it seems cool and everyone else is doing it.

For reference, here are some more popular songs that were actually created/written and produced by Max Martin:

Since You Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran & Justin Timberlake

The Official Top 40 biggest Max Martin songs

POSTITLEARTISTPEAKYEAR
1CAN’T STOP THE FEELINGJUSTIN TIMBERLAKE22016
2LOVE ME LIKE YOU DOELLIE GOULDING12015
3ROARKATY PERRY12013
4BABY ONE MORE TIMEBRITNEY SPEARS11999
5SHAKE IT OFFTAYLOR SWIFT22014
6CAN’T FEEL MY FACEWEEKND32015
7BANG BANGJESSIE J/GRANDE/MINAJ12014
82002ANNE-MARIE32018
9NO TEARS LEFT TO CRYARIANA GRANDE22018
10I DON’T CAREED SHEERAN & JUSTIN BIEBER12019
11SIDE TO SIDEARIANA GRANDE FT NICKI MINAJ42016
12I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLETAYLOR SWIFT22012
13DYNAMITETAIO CRUZ12010
14INTO YOUARIANA GRANDE142016
15DARK HORSEKATY PERRY FT JUICY J42013
16BLANK SPACETAYLOR SWIFT42014
17DOMINOJESSIE J12011
18CALIFORNIA GURLSKATY PERRY FT SNOOP DOGG12010
19I WANT IT THAT WAYBACKSTREET BOYS11999
20SEND MY LOVE (TO YOUR NEW LOVER)ADELE52015
21PROBLEMARIANA GRANDE FT IGGY AZALEA12014
22I KISSED A GIRLKATY PERRY12008
23HOT N COLDKATY PERRY42008
24SO WHATPINK12008
25WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHERTAYLOR SWIFT42012
26EVERYBODY (BACKSTREET’S BACK)BACKSTREET BOYS31997
27TEENAGE DREAMKATY PERRY22010
28DANGEROUS WOMANARIANA GRANDE172016
29BREAK FREEARIANA GRANDE FT ZEDD162014
30CHAINED TO THE RHYTHMKATY PERRY FT SKIP MARLEY52017
31RAISE YOUR GLASSPINK132010
32SINCE U BEEN GONEKELLY CLARKSON52005
33BEAUTIFUL PEOPLEED SHEERAN FT KHALID12019
34IT’S MY LIFEBON JOVI32000
35OOPS I DID IT AGAINBRITNEY SPEARS12000
36GOD IS A WOMANARIANA GRANDE42018
37ON MY MINDELLIE GOULDING52015
38AS LONG AS YOU LOVE MEBACKSTREET BOYS31997
39ONE MORE NIGHTMAROON 582012
40TAKE ME BACK TO LONDONED SHEERAN FT STORMZY12019
©2019 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

And last, but most definitely not least, here is a stand-up comedy bit about how Max Martin and Cosmo influenced our favourite pop songs. You know, because laughing about a “my whole life is a lie” moment is way better than freaking out about it! 🙂

The Sacrifice That Gets Us Unstuck

When someone thinks of sacrifice, they probably think of old biblical traditions, or something people do in those one weird religions and cults we hear about. Honestly that might be true, but sacrifice holds a whole new meaning when we use it for our own good. Here’s what I mean. Sacrifices exist. They have been a part of history for as long as we can remember. You may have read in books about people sacrificing to their gods in return for something better, such as a good crop or rainfall, etc. This is not the type of sacrifice we are talking about here, though it holds similar concepts. Those kinds of sacrifice were often associated with the dark world, it they were even real. The sacrifice we are talking about is the one God gave as a gift to mankind to help him become unstuck, or to elevate to our higher selves. Let’s explore what that means in further detail.

To believers, we know exactly what that means – or at least have a general idea of sacrifices, offerings and tithing. When we sacrifice, we give up something in exchange for initiating change in ourselves and to give stuck situations the opportunity to get unstuck, to progress and to make permanent change. So how does it really work? When we offer something up to God, He changes it by blessing it and then returns the changed sacrifice to us so that we can be changed by partaking it. God tells us that an acceptable sacrifice to God is by a portion of our finances. We sacrifice our money to God and He blesses it and changes it by using it for ministry and then we are sanctified by being changed by our participation in that ministry.

However, a common misconception is that sacrificing money to God will come back to make you rich. Sometimes that happens, but it’s just temporary. The point of the sacrifice of money is not to become financially prosperous – It’s to become spiritually prosperous.

Why does this work?

Consider how much anxiety, anger, selfishness, worry, etc go into our whole approach to money in the modern age. This is ripe for all kinds of addictions, blaming, and focusing on other people’s perceived dysfunctions. When you tithe, you take back responsibility for yourself. When you tithe, you are sacrificing, or giving up that sense of control, so that you can be exorcised of that reactivity or addiction.

We do it not to satisfy a budget or because we hope God will help us win the lottery or hope to get a raise – none of that is the point at all. We sacrifice (tithe) together because we need to get unstuck and because we need to get serious about offering something to God for His blessing and transformation – for an eternal prosperity.

God is Always Hiring

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a few jobs in your past. Perhaps your first job was simply to have some extra cash, to get you through college, or maybe to save up for your first car. The next job or two were most likely for the paycheck and to add to your resume for your career goals. It seems that many focus on secular values when it comes to securing a job – The paycheck and the status the job holds. These are of course reasonable things to consider. You need the resources that money provides and your ego wants to hold onto a status from a job title. However I think sometimes there is one part to the equation that many often neglect -applying for “jobs” that fit our calling.  In other words, how often do we forget to ask God if He is hiring for spiritual work? This might seem silly, but it truly is an important aspect to wellbeing.

As believers we know that there is a spiritual realm that resides in our midst. Oftentimes we may forget it is there because we experience the physical world with our five senses, while the spiritual realm only has one sense – often referred to as the sixth sense. How powerful must the spiritual realm be if we have only one sense to access it, yet it is the ultimate sense, the one that transcends all others?

Oftentimes a person gets in the cycle of trying something new that they are passionate about, failing, and ends up doubting the process, themselves, and if they even have a calling all at the same time. “Lord, I take refuge in You from cowardice.” These are the words of a college professor used to silence his fears. One might think, what does cowardice have to do with our calling? Most of us often doubt ourselves instead of doubting our doubts. In other words, a coward lacks courage. It is someone who discredits their own abilities to be who God created them to be. In a way, when someone has cowardice, they are more aligned in their ego instead of being aligned with God to bring out their best & higher self. We all have the capability to activate our high selves; it just takes a genuine desire and a genuine inner work ethic.

“You start by getting out of your own way.” That is a saying I’m sure many have heard for a plethora of different endeavors. Predictably, This idea also applies to getting hired by God. One might think, “What does getting hired by God even mean?” I believe there are many answers to this question because it depends on what kind of spiritual work God has called you to. Oftentimes many people are living in God’s calling without knowing it, while others don’t know if they are. To truly know if we are working for God, we must get to the heart and core of ourselves and ask the “Why” questions. If the answers include something along the lines of “to help others, to make an impact, to bring people closer to God, to teach others, to bring others into the kingdom of God, to make people happy, etc” you know for sure that your heart is in the right place: aligned with God. If the answers to your “Why” questions includes things such as status, fame, luxury, money, etc., you may want to reflect on where your heart is at. The most ironic thing that we even see in scripture, is that those who do God’s work on earth often will receive the rewards and luxury we all want; but not in the physical word. Scriptures give us constant assurance that these things will be among us in the spiritual realm; we will have endless abundance in the kingdom of God.

 As I Obey and serve you, I spend my days in plenty and my years in prosperity. I eat the good in the land.

Job 36:11

The Lord brings me into my promised land and gives me great and splendid cities which I did not build, houses full of all the good things I did not fill, vineyards and olive trees which I did not plant. The Lord satisfies me with good things; I eat and I am abundantly satisfied.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

Mark 10:17-31

We can see that God has endless abundance for those who enter the Kingdom of God. After reflecting on these verses and the idea of working in the spiritual realm, one can’t help but reflect or reconsider their job or career goals. Are we prioritizing secular work and careers over spiritual careers? Yes, money is important to have resources for ourselves and our family for day-to-day living. However, how much more important is the wealth we create for our spiritual realm which is eternal? Perhaps the next time you are in-between-jobs, consider whether God is creating space for you to talk to you, align you, and re-direct you into your spiritual calling – whether within or outside your career.  As they say, “rejection is just divine redirection,” and honestly that is a deeply true cliché. Whether you incorporate your spiritual work into your career, or you find time for spiritual work outside your career, you can know deep down that God is so proud of you for doing the spiritual work you are called to do in the spiritual realm, that it is recognized, and it will be rewarded.

Surrendering to Vocation

I truly related this blog post,because it stated the obvious—sometimes our careers are not our vocations, they are just a necessary obligation to uphold finances in our life. Here are a few quotes from the blog that relate to what I’m trying to say, because sometimes other people are able to say things in a more coherent, clear and elegant way.

On careers

This is part of life and while it’s not much fun, if you want to eat and provide for your family, it can be necessary. But with vocation, you don’t have to do all the hard work. With vocation, God is involved in the search and there are so many needs out there, doors will start to open that give you clues about where to go and what to be.”

Although, if you’re lucky enough, your vocation and your career CAN match up! (sadly, they often don’t for everybody)

On finding your vocation

“Give yourself a lot of exposure to works like the legend of St. George and the Dragon, or the Chronicles of Narnia, or the Lord of the Rings … stories and myths that became epics by inspiring courage to try great things that are way over your heads. That’s when you see the greatness of God and the greatness he’s put in you that you might never have suspected was there. These stories show us something about taking the way that is not always comfortable and enduring hardship for the sake of something greater than our own pleasure. They tell us that the battle-scars of love and sacrifice are not a burden, they are an adventure. And the really great tales aren’t just about the biggest, toughest conquerors. They are about children and hobbits and anti-heroes who are scared spitless but do what they have to do for a greater good. These stories also include the importance of selflessly doing the hard things that are boring and frustrating and tiring to get to whatever prize God has in mind.”

More than anyone else in the world, you’ve been able to watch the supernatural love and courage of your mom. If you want to become like anyone in this world, become like her. You didn’t get to see what an Amazon she was pushing each of you 11-pound guys into the world through sweat, blood, agony and shrieking …But you have seen how hard it was for her to suck it up, work hard and take on leading . I know you appreciate it and you love her, but also, remember that you carry her physical and spiritual DNA … there is something of her in each of you. Don’t squander that great and precious gift on what the world tells you that you need to do or be. Give that gift back to God.

I think this idea applies to many people’s lives. On the one hand, you might truly enjoy learning new things and new perspectives. However on the other hand, maybe you don’t have a specific career path. However one’s career path can help them with their vocational path in many ways.  That can be the magic in it sometimes—a career may not necessarily get you to the top or guarantee you amazing wages, yet if it can help a person discover their vocation, that might be what is truly more important. I’m telling you, it’s all about the journey.

At the end of the day, vocation will boil down to surrendering to what God (the Universe) has for you, because it’s far better than anything we’ll dream up for ourselves.