I recently noticed something about my life. Most of the stories I’m telling, all the big, significant moments in my life that impacted me the most.
They’re in the past. They aren’t in the present.
Bullying at school. Growing up in a broken home. My Mum’s death. Even, to a degree, the transformation and healing that has come in the last few years at my current church.
All these stories have one thing in common. They are largely past tense.
Obviously they still have an impact on me now, still shape me – and there are still lessons to be learned from them. I can still use the experiences to serve others. They aren’t totally invalidated whatsoever, and never will be.
But truth is, I’m beginning to get tired telling only those stories.
You see, all of our lives are stories. Every part of our life is a chapter of a story. (you can tweet that here)
But whilst some are great stories, others aren’t. They need to be ended.
Of course, in reality each one of our lives is merely one chapter in the biggest story of all. God’s story.
But recently I’ve been watching other people live great stories – writing, speaking, relationships, career – and I’m desperate for a great new story of my own.
For a long time, in my twenties especially, I lived partly in a fantasy world. Some of you might be familiar with this. It’s a place where everything is as you want it. Where you’re in total control, and everything’s perfect – in your eyes.
I existed there for a long time – even though I had lots of friends and family who loved and cared for me. It was easier to fantasise about the big stuff. Career, relationships, ambitions.
I expected God to drop them in my lap – just like I perceived He had dropped suffering in my lap.
My logic was the logic of exchange – God had wronged me, and as far I was concerned the only way for Him to make it good was to drop all the good things I desired in my lap without any effort from me, exactly how I wanted them to be. Nothing else was acceptable.
Of course, we all know this is totally irrational and immature. God hadn’t caused this suffering and doesn’t do deals.
I knew it too.
But pain – especially when it seems unjustified – can make you angry. When you’re angry, you act irrationally – just like I was.
When you’re hurting and afraid, it’s a lot easier to run away and do nothing. Like I was.
However, despite all the pain, I did – and do – know one thing for sure: I don’t want to be sitting here in in 10 years time with the same frustrations, the same unfulfilled aspirations and unrequited passions I have now.
I want to have fulfilled those aspirations and passions, embraced my calling. I want to be further on and deeper in my faith, maybe have lived more than one new chapter in my story, and maybe be ready for yet another chapter.
So at the moment, I’m spending time with God – in His word, in prayer. Asking Him to show me where He wants me to direct my gifts, energy and my passion. I’m reading, I’m reflecting,
I’m taking action.
I’m asking myself difficult questions.
How can I use my gifts and my passion to serve God most effectively? (you can tweet that here)
What’s the next chapter of my story?
What is God’s next great adventure for me?
Right now, I genuinely don’t know the full answer. I get the feeling it involves creating things with words and sharing them with the world. Writing, speaking, audio, video. That’s where my gifts lie.
All I can do with my gifts is keep using them. Keep writing, keep creating and sharing what I create. It’s all I can do with them right now.
What is the future? I don’t know. But I’m looking for it.
I’m asking God to speak, to intervene.
Because I don’t want to settle for second best. I want God’s best.
I want to be constantly moving forward. Looking for the next opportunity, the next stage in my discipleship, the next part of my journey.
I’m tired of simply sitting watching other people have great stories, and of my story only being in the past.
I want to live a meaningful story –
– one that’s here, now and for the future.
A story to leave a legacy.
Don’t you want to live a meaningful story too?
You see the question isn’t whether we’re telling a story, but what story we’re telling. (you can tweet that here)
So what kind of story are you telling right now?
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