What Is Your Story?

Have you ever met that person (or perhaps you are that person) who likes to have their hands in everything?

I don’t mean that in a particularly bad way, but just that they seem to be involved in just about anything and everything possible?

I was that person in High School and my early years of college.

Granted, I wasn’t super involved in sport (shout out to my golf peeps!), but just about anything else and I was there.

That was my story.

That’s what defined me; what filled up my resume and what I presumed would get me into college and eventually land me that good job.

Even beyond the resume though, I believed that’s what made me me.

With every commitment, every enthusiastic ‘yes,’ every appointment-filled block in my planner…I actually believed I was creating myself; my identity.

I was writing my story.

What I failed to recognize until years later is that I was not necessarily writing my story, I was trying to find it.

One activity failed, so on to the next one, and the next one, and so on.

A goal never came to pass, so I’d just create another one, and another, and so on.

One school wasn’t all that I had hoped it would be, so I transferred to the next one (thankfully there’s no ‘so on and so on…’ with that).

But you get my point.

I didn’t realize that I was developing this addiction to searchingstriving, and always looking for…well, ME!

And in this searching, I filled up my time, my energy, and my space with so many things that I almost lost what truly made my life special.

I came home one day from work to find this beautiful gift from a friend sitting in front of my door. It was a really cute planner with a note that read:

‘…as you get busier and busier with your life and all things social, I hope this planner helps you organize your daily duties. Just be sure to pencil me in from time to time.’ 

I couldn’t keep the tears from slipping down my cheek.

Some of them were grateful tears for the amazing friend God had placed in my life. But most of them were tears of regret.

I couldn’t believe that I had filled up my time so much with searching and striving that even my closest friends felt that they needed to be penciled into my schedule.

That’s what did it for me.

It was in that moment as I read and reread that dear note (which is still sitting on my desk) that I realized the patterns of my past were the same patterns of my life right now.

Nothing had changed.

I was still looking for me and in that search, was neglecting my story.

One of my favorite songs – and the one that inspired this post – is titled My Story by Big Daddy Weave.

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If I should speak, then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin;

of when justice was served and when mercy wins;

of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in.

Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him.

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Grace.

Mercy-filled justice.

Kindness.

Sacrifice.

Forgiveness.

Love.

Hope.

Victory.

Freedom.

Life.

This is my story.

This is your story.

Our story is not one shaped by our circumstances, our achievements and failures, our pursuits and our strivings.

It is not one created by our own hands, but by the hands of grace and mercy stretched out on the tree.

For it is in Him that we live and move and have our very being (Acts 17:28).

Outside of Jesus Christ, we don’t have a story worth reading.

So instead of telling you a story of all that I did, all that I was involved in, all that I accomplished, or all that I was back in the ‘glory days,’ I will tell a story of forgiveness and grace.

Instead of telling you a story of all that wronged me, all the bruises and scars, or all the pain, fear, and uncertainty that I have faced, I will tell a story of hope and freedom.

When the vain pursuits and frantic strivings of this life beg for your attention, offering lies of prosperity, I want you to remember something.

Remember that Love is what built you.

Recognize the Sacrifice that saved you.

Know the Grace that covers you.

And believe that Victory awaits you.

People should be able to look at our lives and see the grace of God in our bold steps, hear His love in our words, and recognize freedom in our undivided devotion to the Lord.

That’s one heck of a story, don’t you think?

If I told you my story now, it wouldn’t be one of striving and schedule books. It wouldn’t be one of 3-hours of sleep and endless cups of coffee. And it certainly wouldn’t be one lacking in joy and purpose.

If I were to tell you my story, it would be a story of Him.

 

3 thoughts on “What Is Your Story?”

  1. Were you the person who had a day planner for their day planner? Did you do all those things to prove you were worthy? to mask your emptiness?

    I like the way you tie together of identity and definition. Is that idolatry?

    It sounds to me like you are saying that the story we are to tell is one of the future, not of the past? That the incidents and accidents of our lives describe but not define us? of how we were not defined by place or time, but by Jesus?

    1. Haha I wasn’t quite that bad, but business and scheduling was always a way for me to feel like I had control. If I could control my schedule and my time, then maybe I could control my circumstances. But of course, that never happened. Being busy kind of helped me avoid the vulnerability and scariness of being still and quiet. This tends to be my default now, but I’m learning the joy and the strength I can find in being still and quiet with the Lord.

      Our identity and pursuit of it can absolutely be a form of idolatry when we seek to create our own story instead of live in and proclaim God’s story. I just found a quote this morning that says – We aren’t just supposed to be observers, listeners, or have a bunch of opinions. We’re not here to let everyone know what we agree and don’t agree with, because, frankly, who cares? Tell me about the God you love; tell me about what He has inspired uniquely in you; tell me about what you’re going to do about it, and a plan for your life will be pretty easy to figure out from there. It does not matter how we interpret the Gospel or how we go about living it out in our own, unique way – it only matters that our story is one of Him and His glory. One of the things I try to avoid in this blog is telling too much about me and my thoughts, ideas, and feelings. I would much rather have people get to know God before they get to know me.

      I wouldn’t say so much the future as much as I would say that we are supposed to be telling God’s story. In our lives, yes – we are not defined by what happened to us or what we have done. But we also aren’t defined by what we want to do, hope to do, or plan to do. We are defined by the cross, by the empty tomb, and by Christ’s coming glory. That is our story.

  2. hmmm…that is interesting, you said, you used it to “avoid the vulnerability and scariness of being still and quiet”. What prompted you to face your vulnerability?

    The rest of your response reminds me of what I read about the word “image of God” in Genesis regarding humans. According to NT Wright, the phrase is something akin to the idea of a mirror; reflecting God to creation, and creation back to God.

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