Thursday, March 16, 2017

We are the story we tell ourselves

It’s been quite some time, not just from my absence from Facebook, but since I have found myself in this position--sitting in front of a blank screen, keyboard at hand, in the quietness of these early morning hours and attempting to write. Recently, I’ve been thinking about this whole giving up Facebook thing for a year and what I am doing with it. I have come to the decision that I want to carve out some space to process what this “giving up” has added to my life. That means, each quarter I am going to log on, poke around the ole Facebook world, see what has been going on, friend request some new people I have met along the way (because you all know that friendship is not real unless it’s FB official), and leave a little nugget of thoughts via my blog post. That’s right, I’m dusting off the webs and will at least have 4 blogs this year.

Let’s not waste any more time!

There’s a podcast I listen to every now and again, and one of their tag lines is “we are the story we tell ourselves.” It’s a great motivational tag line, right?! It’s one that I totally bought into. It’s an idea that makes you feel like you can do and become anything.

2016 held some major shifts for Melinda and me. Some of those transitions were great, while others were challenging and unforeseen. Life moved on, as it always does, and we went along with our “new normal.” With the start of 2017, I was beyond happy to close out that last chapter and to start writing our next one.

“We are the story we tell ourselves.”

My 2017 story, was going to be one filled with grand adventures. I would attempt to live this small uncomplicated life. It was a new story of leaving past hurts in the past, and being safe enough moving forward where no hurt would be too great to cut to the quick. And giving up Facebook seemed like a great way to kick it off.

“We are the story we tell ourselves.”

I was good with this plan. Really good with it. But somehow, sometimes, God has this way of seeing your plan, and then showing you something greater.

I’ve been camped out in the Old Testament these last few weeks because I’ve been wrestling with some ideas and scriptures that just do not make sense in how I see God and this world. In the midst of that, I found myself in Jeremiah.  Jeremiah 2:2 says, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me, and followed me through a land not sown.” It’s funny that in all of Israel’s history, God doesn’t remember their arrival to the promised land or the wonder years of David and Solomon. No, God’s favorite season to remember Israel by is their first season. The season when they were alone and completely dependent on him in the wilderness.

Reading this reminded me of my first season with Christ. How painful it was at times, how intimate and messy it often was, and how everything was new and real and beautiful. Maybe my first season with Him too, is what He is reminded of when I find myself in these seasons of wanting to toss everything old out and to create something new.

Perhaps this Facebook “fast”, if you will, is about returning. Not escaping.

Maybe this year, isn’t about replacing last year’s story. It isn’t about replacing yesterday’s hurts with today’s joys or trading yesteryear’s failures with today’s triumphs. As much as I would like to forget and escape those unexpected painful twists of last year, I am learning that they truly are a crucial part in the story to come.

The first month or so of this year, I have kept true to my 2017 “life goals” and have been intentional about living this simple uncomplicated adventurous life. We’ve ventured off to escapades that involved snow tubing, hiking, and wineries. We celebrated two years of marriage reminiscing in NYC where we spoke our vowels to one another. And I have done well in creating this space free from those hurts of the past by keeping arm’s length to almost everything.

“We are the story we tell ourselves.”

It’s been a great motto to get me to a place I am learning I don’t want to be, to a place that to the core of me I am not. You see I want my story to be free of hurt, to be free of failures, but I too desire a life where I lean into vulnerability, lean into an authentic me that does life with an authentic community, because it is there where I believe Jesus is best seen and experienced—in the mess.

This past Sunday’s message at Hill City was pivotal in bringing together these thoughts. In the new message series Revolution, we were reminded that the story of the cross and resurrection, yes, fundamentally to the story of Jesus Christ, is not the full picture. In order for those moments to be the climax, we have to know, we have to understand the story long before that.

In closing, Hebrews 11 runs through my head. Last year when our small group studied Hebrews 11, it was put upon my heart to memorize the chapter. Since, I have tried to recite it so it is not forgotten. To be honest, I have not it done it lately, and the thoughts pouring out of me here today is a reminder of why I should not forget it. I believe in what Hebrews 11:40 says, “…that God has something better in store, that their faith and our faith would come together to make a complete whole…”


We are the story we tell ourselves, but not apart from our past. Not apart from the pain and errors. Not about from returning to those raw intimate messy parts that have shaped us into who we are. In light of last year, I don’t get to close the door and to create something better. Something better is created by opening that door and letting it go hand in hand with what is being created.

1 comment:

  1. The Great Gatsby -- last line: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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