Lean in close, folks. I’m about to tell you something that will either skyrocket or plummet your opinion of me.
Ready for it?
I love country music.
There. This classically-trained, music degree holding girl said it.
And half my college music professors just fell over dead.
Country music is not the only genre I love, but it’s one of my favorites. Go ahead and roll your eyes and call me uncultured or slap your Wrangler-covered knee and call me family. Either way, I am a forever fan. Give me some George Strait and Faith Hill and Keith Urban any day of the week. And just so you know I’m legit, I was country when country wasn’t cool. (Quick! Name that ’80’s country singer!)
Here’s the thing about country artists: They know who they are, where they came from, and they aren’t afraid to create from what they know. And if that means singing about winding gravel roads and trucks with open tailgates, then that’s what they’ll do.
This bit of creative comprehension has been swirling in me since I was a young girl. When I was twelve and filling journals with tales of treasure lost at sea or a romance ripped apart by the Civil War, my kind, always-encouraging daddy would declare my stories wonderful but caution me with the same bit of advice,
“Honey, it’s usually best to write what ya know.”
At the time, I’m sure writing about what I knew sounded as thrilling as writing a manual for a kitchen appliance. But the grown-up me has thought about his wise words a million times over.
It’s usually best to create what you know.
Because when you create from what you know, you create from who you are. And you are a beautiful blend of abilities God breathed into your soul.
“Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. “
~Ephesians 4:7, The Message
Listen sister, you have been hand-picked to receive a gift, something you can do in a way unlike any other man or woman on this planet. Whatever it is, dip your toe into it or dive right in. Either way, move in a direction that encourages you to see what God has in mind for you.
Creating what you know doesn’t mean you don’t explore new interests or develop mastery of something you’ve never done before. It also doesn’t mean creating something that pleases everyone. I don’t think Lady Antebellum loses much sleep wondering if Lady Gaga and her legions of fans dig their style. Just like every artist in every genre, country singers have their own audience drawn to what they know and bring to the radio: storytelling love songs with a side of cowboy boots. For a born-and-bred Oklahoma girl like me, their songs drip with heart and authenticity, and they sound like home.
But their music isn’t for everyone.
What you create won’t be for everyone, but it will be for some. It will be for those who identify with who you are and what you know.
Everyone is an expert at something and has divinely placed gifts. When you let your gift dance with what you know, you will create something that delights the Creator and amazes us. Whether that dance looks like the two-step or the twist is up to God.
Whether we see it twirl on the dance floor or not is up to you.
So, tell me: What do you know?
Kristen Strong, cheering you on at Chasing Blue Skies