4 Spiritual Growth Lessons Learned from Jay Z’s 4:44
Last week Jay-Z broke the internet with his latest release 4:44. Being hailed as his most reflective masterpiece yet, the project is filled with honest nuggets of wisdom gleaned from his obvious maturation. I have had this on repeat for the past week and came up with my summation of the top 4 spiritual growth concepts he conveys with his heartfelt lyricism. Even if you’re not a fan, you cannot deny the gems he spits. Like Jay said, “stop me when I stop telling the truth”.
- Maturity. This is known in the Word as “dying to the flesh” which he addresses on “Kill Jay-Z”. In order for us to achieve success in life, we must all come to a point where we decide to kill our unproductive desires. Even if change does not happen as quickly as we like, the very act of choosing to pursue integrity as a way of life is stepping up to spiritual maturity. Pursuing spiritual evolution is part of “adulting”. Mental and spiritual evolution is always the precursor to a shift in our physical and material expressions of success. Offering apologies, developing compassion, investing in ourselves, financial freedom and ongoing self-education are all signs that the maturation shift has taken place. Jay talks about the critical voices in his head urging him to “die Jay Z”, die to the criminal mindset that no longer represents who he is. “Let go your ego over your right shoulder, your left side is saying finish your breakfast”, a lyrical nod to the struggle of keeping his cold gangster demeanor to protect his ego. Change is inevitable and we should embrace it. When we resist change and become stagnant, we are consciously choosing to stay immature, usually to our detriment.
- Transparency. Vulnerability and transparency is what endears us to others, it’s also what many of us fear the most. This is the reason conversing with someone who also shares their story with you causes you to feel comfortable in revealing your true self. When someone else is as flawed as us, we don’t feel judged. “You can’t heal what you never revealed”, sums up the reason everyone needs to seek out some professional therapy at some point in their adult life. Unless we identify the root of our pain, become transparent about our struggles in safe environments, the bitterness will subconsciously permeate all areas of our life. Despite all the braggadocio verses and gangster knowledge that Jay has dropped over the years, it is ironic that his most vulnerable album will turn out to be a classic beyond his own expectations. All because he decided to publicly acknowledge his flaws and emotional pain.
- Marketing is everything. On “The Story of OJ”, Jay raps, “I turned my life into a nice first week release date.” This speaks to the brilliance of taking control of your own narrative, especially in this age of social media. Whether you are a public figure or not, people are going to gossip about you. Why not get ahead of the story and profit from it if you can? The paparazzi and even regular folks with cell phones are sure going to if possible. Gossip and viral videos are big money these days and if you have a chance to make money from your own idiosyncrasies, please do. Remember the “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” lady, Sweet Brown? She enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame and got some cash before she fell off. People were laughing at her country grammar and she was laughing all the way to the bank.
- 4:44 Pay attention to spiritual signs all around us, like the synchronicity of numbers in our world. I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, only Divine signs and wonders that seem coincidental to us. The song 4:44 was written because Jay-Z was awakened at 4:44 in the morning with a prompting to write this powerful apologetic song revealing his shame and regrets for disappointing his family. Seeing repeating numbers signals that we should pay attention to inner promptings that we receive at that time because it usually means the Holy Spirit is trying to get our attention.