Our lives are wrapped up in, surrounded by, and playing out a myriad of stories. Each story intersects another, which intersects another. All flowing from an over-arching narrative that continues its march towards a close.
When we turn on our cable TV or Dish system, we are submerging our minds and time into more stories. Some real, like on the news, some fictional as in sit-coms, and others with a slice a realism, but not really, when we watch Reality TV.
I was talking with a friend this week and the topic of superstar pastors came up. We bobbed and weaved around the stories of some pastors who started their ministry really attuned to two different stories. First, they were attuned to the overarching narrative of God at work in the world and why that matters for everyone. Second, we noted how they were , (at least at the onset) attuned to the stories of the people they were ministering to.
As we looked at how their churches and ministries changed over the years it seemed most often the change was not in a positive direction. We wondered aloud, why, and where did the story change for them? When did they stop listening to God’s story and the people’s and begin to think that only their own personal story mattered?
I like the way my friend articulated it, he said, “It’s like they started to drink their own Kool-aid” I think he was right. They began to believe their own press, and their story became so big that other peoples story and God’s story was edged out.
In An Essay on Man, Alexander Pope wrote: “Act well your part, there all the honour lies.” I like that thought. Yes you do have a story. You do have a part to play in the larger stage production of life. Yes, your story is important…but yours is not the only story, and in fact, your character development gets better and better as you move away from a narcissistic view of life and instead move toward an integrative way of life. Life affecting life…story enlarging story…and the Kool-aid stays away.
Sometimes we are more focused on changing other peoples stories…this rarely turns out well. We don’t like their story so we try to change it, more specifically we try to change them! We become the Holy Spirit demanding how we want their story to play out, and if they don’t change the script we erase their story from our book.
Sometime we forget that life gifts us with chapters. Our story has moments when one chapter ends, and a fresh new chapter begins. When we think life is one long never ending chapter, we tend to drag the past around from scene to scene spoiling any opportunity to to experience something different. Our suitcase of pain, unhealthy emotional damage, and trauma show up in every scene.
When a chapter ends, stop, re-calibrate, realize the next chapter can be different! Thast is the power of God at work in you. 2 Corinthian 5:17 unleashes a new reality…the old has gone, the new has come. Your relationship with God ushers in the ability to continually morph the story in positive ways…to navigate through painful chapter in amazing way.
Confession and repentance create new paragraphs, chapters, and potentialities because the realign you with the heart of God and His presence submerges us in infinite possibilities.
Today you have been handed a new script and you get to write it with God. It doesn’t matter where you were in the last chapter, you can change it in today’s chapter. I agree with Pope in that how we act out our story matters. If we would remember that ours is not the only story, and that it is perhaps not even the most important one, and choose to live out our story with honor and integrity adding value to all the other stories around us…then we will begin to find the true meaning of the abundant life.
Today live out your story untethered from the last chapter and unafraid of the next chapter. God’s story is always moving, choose to allow your part to be absorbed into the larger narrative at work. Two things will happen,
1. Your story will find more and more joy and purpose.
2. You will stop worrying about judging, and interfering with everyone else’s story.
This will free you to allow your life to affect others in a positive way that brings about transformation and God-centricity.
Okay, go write!