I have been a story teller since I was a kid. Only then we mostly called it: lying. I wasn’t evil, I usually just embellished my story to make it more interesting. Like inventing boyfriends, so people would think I was popular, or making up awesome things my family was gong to do….I tried to make my life more like what I wanted it to be, instead of what it was. (Except that time I signed my gramma’s name and made her a doctor to get out of Gym.That was : just to get out of gym.My gramma is awesome enough without being a doctor. Though- that would be handy.)
Except it didn’t change anything. Life was still- what it was. Even if others believed it was different. Looking back – I now know my life story wasn’t that different from most others. It was the late 70’s 80’s What my family faced was a pretty typical example of what families were facing everywhere. I just thought e were the only ones.
Of course- I also made up some doozies to try and save my bacon. Usually only to get busted- because moms- somehow always know when you’re lying. (Is it me- or does Gold Dial Soap have the worst taste ever? No matter how much you scrub your teeth on the bedspread- you can still taste it. YUCK. Old skool discipline–caught in a lie? Or otherwise sass off? Mouth washed out. Still gag if I see dial soap.)
As an adult-I’ve managed to stop telling stories that aren’t true. (Well, mostly.I mean- I’m human- I lie on occasion. Like all good Christians- it’s usually just so I don’t HURT someone’s feelings, of course. Or over something dumb. Because I’m dumb like that.)
Instead of making up a better life story and telling that as truth- now-I wrestle with God over the pen that writes the story of my life. I WANT to live a different story. I WANT to write my happy ending. My miracles. I want to write in (and out) the plot twists and characters that are part of my life. The problem is: I can’t wrench the pen from his hand. God is sovereign like that. Ouch. Been there. Strained that.
Powerless over His pen- instead – I suggest edits. Usually in the form of: prayer requests. I keep hoping God will like my suggested storyline – and make the edits I suggest. SO far? Not so much. But, they sound something like this:
“Dear Lord, I ask you to heal my husband’s cancer so your glory will be known to all.” “Dear Lord, I pray that you’d fix my kids- Whom-I’m pretty sure -I wrecked.” “Dear lord, keep the basement from flooding so I can do your kingdom work instead of cleaning up a soggy mess.” “Dear Lord, I pray that a publisher will call me and say: Hey we love your book- here’s your golden ticket. You’re an author.” “Dear Lord, please help me make a difference in someones life.”
Pretty much: “Dear Lord- please do what I want.” Amen.
See? I have GREAT plot lines. God glorifying ones, even!
At least I’ve given up the lying. Right?
Friday night- I spoke at a Ladies Night Out Event. It was my last talk on the current MOPS Theme: “A Beautiful Mess.” I told my story. Well, parts of it. I do have boundaries- and time limits:P No embellishment. No lies. Just: my story.
And you know what? It mattered. It made a difference. Probably more than if I’d told the edited version. Why? I think because- deep in our hearts- most of us know that life isn’t perfect. We know we are broken, jacked up messes. And-we wish we weren’t. We wish we could re-format the hard drive and load a new operating system. (No idea where that came from.) And we think we’re the only one.
We think that everyone else is better at life. Perfect-er. Prettier, more faithful, smarter, more gifted, more talented, happier, luckier, healthier, more interesting, more- everything. And we think we’re- pretty much-less.
What I’ve learned over a year of speaking on this years theme is this:
I may not get to write my story- but I do get to share it. And sharing our stories can be the most beautiful gift we can give.
It’s in the sharing that we discover- we’re not alone.
It’s in the sharing that we discover our edits would have cheapened the story.
It’s in the sharing that we realize that God has a bigger and better plan- and that the story isn’t over. Ever. It’s eternal.
“Dear Lord- it’s hard- to let you write my story. But let’s face it- aside from lying- my only choices are: embrace and share the story you’re writing- or waste my life wrestling for the pen. Since you’re God- and’ I’m pretty much a mom-version of Nacho-libre- I think I’ll give up the wrestling. At least I’ll try. I love you Lord- I trust you. (But you know a few of those edits? You might want to consider.. justsayin. Curing cancer would be really good for your PR. ) Amen”
I don’t know how you feel about your story- maybe you think it’s just boring- or the most tragic thing ever- maybe you are right now- wrestling with God to get that pen our of his hand and write yourself a new one… trust me- you’ll probably just end up poking yourself in the eye with the pen. And- God will probably still be sovereign. He hasn’t handed off that baton yet. It’s unlikely he will due to a creative plot twist you, or I- brainstorm for Him. He’s God. he probably has all the ideas. Instead of wrestling to change our stories- I wonder what would happen if we embraced them. Shared them, and let God work through them?
I think He could make something beautiful out of them;) Probably -something much better than anything we can imagine.