What I’m Learning From NF

NF (Nathan Feuerstein) is a rapper and as of late he has definitely caught my attention. His music is catchy and I enjoy it, but the part that I find fascinating is that NF is writing about the intense pain that he deals with on a regular basis. I have always been drawn to artists who share their personal experiences when it comes to the difficulties that they have been through. Nearly every song I have heard from NF sounds like he had to go to a very dark place to reconnect with old memories and put it into a rhyme. After doing a little reading I realized that NF comes from a divorced home, his mom died of an overdose, and he was physically abused. It’s pretty easy to understand why his music is filled with pain, confusion and a desperate attempt to make sense of it all.

Here are some of the comments that I have found from random people on YouTube based on the song, “How Could You Leave”:

Emma Kennedy
2 weeks ago
Nate, your not alone. I have a mom that had me at 15 did drugs, and I got taken away from her..She lost all her 5 kids and I dont get to see 2 of my siblings at all. I have no bond or relationship with my mom or siblings…I have really bad anxiety, I can get anxiety attacks too. She was never there for anything, not for my graduations..or anything. I feel like im alone, and its nice to have you, Nate. To go home from school with my earbuds on listening too you, cuz you have helped me through everything. I still get to see her, she still does drugs, but im afraid those drugs are gonna take her..and listening to you is My THERAPY SESSION

wolfnation 091617
3 weeks ago
I love this song it hits hard it makes me thinks alot it puts u in so much feelings and I can rap this whole song.

TTV Raid Venom
2 weeks ago (edited)
Ive been through this I’m only 16 and my mom has been in jail my whole life she’s only been out for 3 years i barely know her she’s not dead but she’s no longer there it’s scaring to see your mom overdose because she popped your dead dogs pills. She always used to say she was coming to pick me and my brother up from my dads but never showed she had the swat i. Our house trying to get her this song really hits me thank you nf for being here for everyone your music helps so many people

These comments on YouTube are heart breaking because they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the pain that is occurring behind closed doors. Have you seen the statistics?  NPR reported this recently, “Suicide rates have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades, and half of the states have seen suicide rates go up more than 30 percent.” We live in a country where we have so much yet we see a growing sense of hopelessness. Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, are just a couple of well known celebrities who decided to end their life in the past few weeks.

Some of you might be wondering if an artist like NF has anything to truly offer besides venting his negative emotions. I am a parent myself, so I get your concern! I am not saying that his music is for everyone (listen with discernment), but I can say that I have found a redemptive message within his music.

In his song “Statement” he goes out of his way to point out that there are plenty of artists out there (he specifically names Eminem) who deal with their pain in inappropriate ways.

I grew up on Eminem, now look where the game’s at
Lame raps, Hollywood fame acts, I’m sick of the same trash

At times NF does get quite specific regarding the source of our true hope in life. In his song “All I Have” he writes these lines:

I don’t live for the world
I live for the King, I live for the King, focus

What you’re hearing now is me whether I’m in front or behind that curtain
I stand behind these words I’m a Christian but I’m not perfect

So what am I learning from all of this? I am learning that the church has to do a better job of being open and transparent regarding the difficulties of life. To quote Michael Stipe (and to date myself), “Everyone hurts sometimes.” Since this is true, how do we help people when we try to hide it? The truth is that when we hide the hard stuff we are (unintentionally) keeping people away from the church at a time when they desperately need to know that hope is alive. I try to be open about some of my struggles from the pulpit. I have heard on a number of occasions from people that it helps them to know that they are not the only person that has their fair share of ups and downs. We have also created a Care Ministry at our church. The Care Ministry is made up of men and women who are available to meet with anyone in the church, or our city, who needs someone to listen to them and encourage them.

I’ll end with one of my favorite NF songs, “Wake Up.” This is a powerful song that is challenging the assumptions that material possessions, or the stuff of life, can ever make us happy.

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