I believe we’re all wired to be storytellers. You may not be great at remembering details. You may not have that cadence and timing that makes an otherwise pretty ordinary event extra dramatic, or funny, or suspenseful. Regardless of all of that, you do tell stories – even if they are only the stories you tell yourself.
They are the stories that explain your childhood, or tell you why a relationship failed. They are the stories that help you to understand the chaos and dysfunction in the world around you. They are the stories that define your identity, and tell you who you are, and who you want to be.
These stories can be objectively true. But more often than not, they are subjective: subjective to your own emotions, predisposition, core beliefs, and personal experiences.
That’s why I believe that the stories you tell yourself can be retold. They can be shaped, redefined, and rewritten. I like to believe that no story is beyond redemption: that is, no matter how much pain you’ve gone through, there must be some results that does good – even if it’s simply that you are stronger and more resilient.
Lately, I have found myself at a point of transition. Circumstances have changed; new dreams are stirring. It’s a time to stop and make sense of my own story – past, present, and future.
First, I can look at my past and make sense of it in a positive way, identify how it has made me stronger or brought me into blessing. Or, I can look at difficult things that have happened and see myself as a victim (ew).
It’s pretty easy to see which choice is the right one here. But, if I’m finding it difficult to resolve a particular event, relationship, or circumstance from my past – to see the “silver lining” in it – I probably still need to find some sort of healing. For me, this takes processing and prayer. And not to feel guilty for feeling hurt or ashamed – pain is still pain, even if it’s not the horrific, life-altering sort of pain that you’ve seen in the lives of others.
Likewise, I must look at my present, and decide what to make of it. That’s not always the easiest. It can often be difficult to make sense of a circumstance while you’re in the thick of it, especially if it involves lots of change or instability. Still, I think you can stop where you’re at, and assess what you’re learning and how you’re growing – even if it’s not necessarily what you would have chosen yourself.
Lastly, I can look at my future – the story unravelling before me – and anticipate, believe, and envision. I can set goals, perhaps attainable in my own strength. I can also dream big, picturing the fruition of desires I might not be able to make happen on my own. But still, they are desires I hope, pray, and believe will come to pass.
All of this amounts to my own story. A story that I make joyful, positive, and redemptive, with all its unexpected graces and challenges.
You may be in a point of transition, as I am. Or you may simply be making a big decision, or wanting some clarity and reflection. Regardless of your circumstance, I believe that taking some time to consider your story is always valuable. In terms of your past, I think it can bring healing and resolution; for your present, fortitude and peace; for your future, faith and joyful anticipation.