Life is all about narrative. Our stories are being written one moment, one decision at a time. I have been challenged to consider how my story is being written – by reaction, by neglect, or perhaps, by proactively participating with God and cooperating with His divine design. I believe God’s desire is for us to participate with joy and wonder in the writing of our stories. And I am just beginning to learn how to join with Him in the writing.
One of the things I have learned is that this process is not for the faint of heart. It requires coming face to face with the truth of our pasts – not the sugar-coated versions we are so inclined to tell and retell until the telling looks nothing like the living of it. It also requires that we truly begin to mourn those places in our story that are filled with sorrow, with pain, and possibly even with horror. It can be very difficult because we do not naturally mourn well. (I’m still working through that one, so perhaps the content of another blog entry at a later date.)
I am, as I write this, in the middle of a course titled Trauma and Abuse. This course is designed to qualify us to be trainers in the area of Domestic Violence. I am reminded again of how rampant an epidemic DV is – across the world. I believe it is the direct consequence of the curse in the Garden. Instead of men and women together reflecting the glory and image of God and living in perfect mutual submission and demonstrating perfect love one to anther, conflict is the norm. Men seek to show their power and control in an effort to subdue. Women shrink back from their duty to call forth beauty and completion and stand against the harm of the curse. Struggle ensues. And the enemy continues his twisted version of what God has truly said in order to entice us into further sin and rebellion against each other and against our Father.
Even so, we instinctually desire to believe the best – about ourselves and about those we choose to love. In doing so, we often choose to ignore sin, ignore broken links in each other’s relationship with God and with others, reasoning it is only a little thing. Surely it’s only human to do so. And the monster is allowed to grow and become uglier and uglier, till it consumes all who are touched by the brokenness of the relationship and the harm that sin brings.
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:7-10
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25
I would like to issue a challenge – and hopefully we can do this together (thanks to this wonderful world of technology in which we move and live and sometimes hide). As you read your world, take note of how others participate in the writing of their stories and take note how you are participating or withdrawing or perhaps trying to take over. Ask how you can participate with God in the writing of your story. Look to see where you can be an encouragement to those around you to see life and to see God as He desires to be seen. And if you’re willing, let me know what you are finding out. Send me a note or leave a comment.
Perhaps the terminology of reading your world is unfamiliar to you. It’s not anything mystical or difficult. It is simply being intentional in how you observe and process all that touches your life. It’s about being present and being aware. What are the circumstances of your life telling you? Are you repeating the same behaviors over and over and surprised that you get the same results when you were wishing for something different? What are the people around you saying – with their words and with their actions? Are they demonstrating an excitement for life?