Sometimes I think life is a daily battle between doing what everybody else wants you to do, or doing what you know, in your heart of hearts, you have to do if you’re going to be true to yourself. Maybe you can reconcile the two; maybe you can’t. Hard choices follow.
I’ve been inspired lately by the Secret Sisters—actual sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers from Alabama—whose harmony is unlike anything I’ve heard this side of the Carter Family. The duo saw rocket-launch success when they first started, but when their second record didn’t meet sales expectations, they were summarily dropped from their record label and almost had to declare bankruptcy. With help from fellow artists who believed in them, they came back and made a third record, You Don’t Own Me Anymore, which is one of the most amazing song collections I’ve heard in a long, long time. You can read their whole story here: Secret Sisters Story
You don’t have to be an artist to find yourself in a situation where other people want to put you in a box. It even happened to Christ—quite a bit actually. How often did He hear, essentially, “Who ARE you? Are you a teacher, a prophet—we need a label because you’re making us uncomfortable.”
It’s human nature, I guess. We try to file each other away into manageable compartments so we can deal with everything that’s coming at us. But we all have layers. None of us fits neatly into a manila folder. Sooner or later, we’ll feel crowded in there and come tumbling out.
I just had an opportunity to write a Southern Living story that’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. (Jury’s still out on whether the editors love it or hate it. I might go running for cover in my manila folder before it’s over with.) It was a hard story to write but I really wanted to try, and I’m thankful the magazine gave me a shot at it. There was a time when I probably would have said to myself—without anybody else throwing doubt—“That’s not what you do.” But I grew more from that story than anything I’ve done in a long time. (Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I think I just called myself an old dog.)
My prayer for you, this Sunday morning, is the faith and courage to follow your path.