The Best Advice Country Music Gave Me

This world is a lot bigger than we are. There is more going on than we could possibly follow, and we will never cease to be blindsided by one thing or another. We are very small, and can never grasp the whole picture.

But human beings were not meant to be passive. We can’t just sit back and take it, because we were created to take dominion over this world. We have the ability to reason, and the desire to change the world around us. It is part of the image of God–we are artists, creators, re-makers. Given a lump of world, we want to sculpt our vision into it.

The problem is, you can only analyze the data given to you, and we are never given all the data. You can never forge a plan that accounts for all the contingencies. You can never really steer life. If you fear what life can do to you, that’s a problem. And when you measure yourself against a particular all-important vision, when you plot out your path to achieve that and consider all else a detour, that lack of control can be terrifying. Failure is not an option, and every departure from the plan is a failure.

I’m that kind of plotter. I over analyse, over plan, and crash when I fail to understand or achieve. But I am also a country music fan. George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Tim McGraw shaped my young life. When I need to just relax and forget the craziness of my day, I turn to Montgomery Gentry or Brooks & Dunn. Often I find they look at life a little differently. Their angle, it seems, gives me far more peace of mind.

While there are exceptions, and always have been, country music tends to view the good life less in terms of goals and achievements, and more in terms of a way of life. Even a lot of the “chase your dreams” songs involve a home and a family–not something you arrive at, but something you live with. We can find life down a Red Dirt Road, or live the dream Where the Green Grass Grows. You don’t have to make a million, just be thankful that you’re working, doing what you’re able, putting food there on the table, and providing for the family that you love. That’s Something To Be Proud Of. You don’t chase your dreams in Hollywood or Nashville, you chase them on a tractor underneath that Amarillo Sky.

It isn’t that country music looks down on success or drive. Far from it, such things are considered a blessing. But more important than that are the simple things, just living life and enjoying it. It’s an Awful Beautiful Life, and if you Blink you just might miss it. You do not live the good life by going places or acquiring things, you live the good life simply by taking what life gives and doing your best with it. The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, and whichever way he chooses, blessed be the name of the Lord.

And that’s what it comes down to. When we worry, dissect our lives and subject it to meticulous planning, then we never truly enjoy what we have been given or give thanks to the one who gave it to us. And that is what mankind is meant to do: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. You can’t do that when your eyes are stuck on the road ahead. You have to look up once in a while.

God bless.

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