We all love stories. We all tell stories. Not just writers, all people have a story that we know and tell to others, a story about ourselves, about who we are, where we came from, where we are now, how we got to where we are, and what we expect is coming next.
The stories we tell about ourselves and our families are not mere reporting of facts and events, however. They are not just “what happened,” in some objective manner, they are instead deliberate acts of authorship. There is an interpretative act in each of our stories, there are decisions that are made that not only frame our past in a specific way, they necessarily shape our world and fashion our futures.
The story we tell ourselves when we wake up, when we make mistakes, when we succeed and celebrate, determine how we will behave in the present when we encounter difficulties, joys, adventure, challenges, and define how the rest of the story we are writing will turn out.
I have been telling myself a story for years, and I was always under the impression that my story was merely the straight facts + events of what happened in my past.
I have been telling this story to myself and others, and have read it
focusing on certain things, omitting other things that did not fit the major narrative thrust that had been determined, and this reading has forced the way new chapters were written, and I have allowed this to define me.
The realization that I have authored this interpretation of events has slowly dawned on me, and I am confident that many people walk around every day reading and writing a story about themselves that keeps them trapped and bound to lies. We are burdened with a story that speaks words and propositions into the future from the past that say
“you will always be …”
“you will never …”
Propositions that bind us. Propositions that crush our dreams, propositions that make us into men and women who we never were meant to be. Lies that kill hope and remove possibilities. Statements that make only one future inevitable. Words that choke out any other future.
We can reauthor our story. We do not get to redo the past, we cannot undo what was done or unsay what we said, but Jesus offers us a second chance
countless second chances.
Jesus offers us opportunity to reauthor and take back control of our life’s narrative. The events of our story cannot be changed, but the interpretation, the negative framing of events can be rewritten.
God creates hope by offering alternative stories to the pathetic lies we have been retelling all our lives, and can take the things that have been holding us back and reform our past into positive things.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Rom 8.28
We have sometimes understood that when Paul writes that God works all things together for good, we like to think he means a life of ease and prosperity planned for us - only good things. While Jesus promises that he will make all things work together for good, somethings are only good after Jesus has got at them.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8.35, 38-39
Jesus uses the bad things, the difficulties, the distress, the persecution, the trials, the peril, the death, the disasters, and works them all together for good. These are the “all things,” the raw material that Jesus uses to reframe and reauthor our story. To rewrite the stories we have allowed to define us, that have bound us to unhealthy patterns, that have drowned out hope and possibility.
I am rewriting my story. Become again the author of your story, and fill it with adventure, possibility, and hope.
Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.
May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.
May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners. May Yahweh fulfill all your petitions.
Now I know that Yahweh will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of Yahweh our God.
They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.
Give victory to the king, O Yahweh; answer us when we call.