Have you ever been in a conversation where someone completely misjudged you?
Over the last few years I have had a few very challenging situations where somebody I respected misinterpreted my actions, and my heart behind them. Surprisingly, they got all the facts of the situation right but somehow came to a very different conclusion about what those facts meant.
Even though they viewed the same events, they somehow managed to tell themselves a very different story about what it all meant. And, it hurt our relationship.
In the end it was the story they believed, not the actual events that happened, that damaged our relationship.
It made me wonder, how often we do this to God?
When God looks at our lives, He certainly sees the same things we do. But, how might the story He is telling be different than the one we believe about our lives?
Everybody has a story. Our life story shapes and perhaps even defines our lives.
But, what kind of story is it that you are living in?
The kind of story that we tell ourselves will determine how we live our lives. In many cases, the stories we tell ourselves will be a matter of life and death.
When we examine our lives, when we reminisce and look back over the whole beautiful mess of sorrow and joy, beauty and ashes, what story do we see? The facts of our lives remain the same but the relevance and meaning take on epically different dimensions when we discern the story that God is telling.
Likewise, other voices want to shape our story. Other voices, who do not have our best interests at heart, spin the facts of our lives in favor of the half-truth version of our story that brings us only pain and death.
Is your story about the traumas and challenges you have faced? Is your story about heartache and disappointment? Is your story about how you became a realist and are just trying to get by? I hear these kinds of stories a lot. In fact, I have lived under the weight of these kinds of stories.
But I have a better story to live in today and so do you.
Frederic Buechner said, “Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.”
No matter what terrible trials we face in life, we look forward, clinging to the promise that God will make all things right.
For us Christians, our story always has a happy ending, for even in death we are victorious!
The story we choose to live out of today will determine the kind of day we have. And, in turn, the story we tell ourselves will determine the kind of life we have.
Some facts about our lives cannot be changed. Some tragedies are real. Yet, often we are in dire need of a redemptive reframing of the narrative we tell ourselves. Too often, we blame God for not sparing us from the challenges we have faced when truly we should be blaming evil for coming against us—for attacking us. We should place the blame of our pain, trauma and grief squarely where it belongs; on the evil of a fallen world.
Is your story one where God failed to protect you from harm? Or, is your story one where God gave the strength to overcome the evil that came against you?
I have grown too tired of living out the story of a victim. Instead, I choose to live from a victorious story where, by God's grace, I am an overcomer.
I choose to live my life from the real story, the one where God has pursued me, He is for me, He will continue to lift me higher and higher, and not abandon me to fall. Jesus is the hero of my story and he always comes through!
The story I tell myself makes all the difference in my life.
Are you living out of a great story where our great God is actively pursuing a deeper relationship with you? Or are you living from a story where everything in life is really up to you to figure out and do all on your own?
The story you tell yourself makes all the difference in your life.
I see clients all the time who have legitimate pain because they have experienced real tragedy and loss. Life in this fallen world can be savage and brutal. Yet, what often happens is their pain becomes amplified when they buy into a false narrative.
God has a story too.
God is the author of the greatest story ever imagined!
It is a story so big that everything that ever was or ever will be is a part of His Grand Narrative.
But, is that the story that you are living in today?
I confess that most of the time the story that I live out of is… well… much smaller. Smaller and more centered on myself.
But my faith demands that I admit that I, myself, am not meant to be the focus of my own thoughts, much less the author of my own story.
I am not the primary hero of my story. My story involves a greater Hero than I could ever be.
When I get caught up in the small story—the one where I am the focus—it begins to wreak havoc on me. Small annoyances begin to pile up and form serious grievances. Challenges seem to abound that get in the way of accomplishing my goals.
And, I will tell you another thing: it is much harder to forgive people who offend you when you are the focus of your own story. Worst of all, when I am living in the small story, I tend to blame God when things don’t go my way.
Living in the small story is no small thing—it begins to bring death.
It’s too much pressure to be the center of your own story.
I ache for purpose. I think we all do. I think we all ache to know that our story is a part of a greater story.
The Good News is that it is! Your life is a part of the Grand Narrative that God is telling. You have a part in that amazing story.
No one was ever destined for eternal mediocrity.
No, your live has an integral place in this great and never-ending story that God is unfolding.
Will you live from that story today?
I want to see each of us—each one of God’s people—make the choice to live out of a larger story. And, to interpret our story in light of the goodness of our God who promises to never leave us.
This is why gratitude is so essential to our lives.
Gratitude forces us to look back at the facts of our lives and recognize the hand of God in them. Practicing gratitude and thanksgiving shapes the story that we tell ourselves.
Gratitude is an essential practice. Perhaps it is the greatest spiritual discipline.
It certainly has the power to impact everything in our life because it impacts our mood and it shapes our understanding of the story we are in. And, in turn, the story we tell ourselves impacts how we experience everything that happens in life.
We must become a grateful people. We must deliberately cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Living under the weight of a false narrative will rob our joy and kill our connection with God.