what’s your story?

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Photo by Glen Alan Woods. Taken at the End of the Oregon Trail Museum in Oregon City, Oregon

We all have a story. Our past tells its beginning. Our present follows its ongoing narrative. Our future promises the opportunity of a legacy full of meaning. Together they form the plot lines which intersect with that of our fellow characters. Yet in our stories, however obscure they may seem, we retain the role of protagist. Our stories matter. Yours matters.

Some of you don’t feel that way. You sigh at the never ending burden of daily routines and unpaid bills. The ubiquitous specter of meaningless drudgery dulls the spark you once enjoyed. Each day is a struggle to make it to the end so that you may bury your head on your pillow and pray for dreamless sleep. Wakefulness hurts too much.

How did it come to this? Where did your intended storyline go awry?

Currently I’m in the process of reflecting on my story. My childhood, youth, early adulthood… There is much joy to be found. Family, friendship, and positive formative experiences bring smiles to my countenance, along with a contentment born of thankfulness. But there is also pain. It’s hard to remember the dark seasons, the years I wasted with regretful attitudes and thinking. Yet there is value, understanding my tendency to regress back to those negative self-defeating behavioral patterns.

Remembering my past roots me in the present with a view toward exploring my future in ways that forge new paths. The script of my future, although completely apparent to God, is not yet written in the natural. That is, I have the opportunity to enjoy God’s gift of life to the fullest, deploying the creativity, passion, and purpose which he has encoded in me through his act of creation and my willingness to live as he intended.

When he set me free from the bondage of sin he liberated me to enjoy the frontiers of a Christ honoring life, helping me break free of culturally or self imposed imitations which frown on redeemed creativity.

I’m moving forward in this messy, scary narrative. Will you take a risk and join me? If your answer is yes, please leave a comment on this blog. Give me a sense of your story. I’m listening with great interest.

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8 thoughts on “what’s your story?

  1. I tell people all the time their stories matter, and then I walk along side them as they search and discover that that story is. Two weeks ago I realized I hadn’t considered my own story–and when I did begin to wonder, my first thought was “Why would that even matter?” But if everyone’s story matters, like I know in my heart they do, then surely mine must too.

    So like you and the people I work with, I’m on the journey: “Remembering my past roots me in the present with a view toward exploring my future in ways that forge new paths.”

    It is uncomfortable and nostalgic, remembering the past, but it sure does help us gain a bit of wisdom and insight in the present, yes? And encouragement and inspiration for the future. Like you, God only knows what happens next for me; I’ll take the risk if He’s leading the way.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Glen. It is no coincidence your post was the first thing I read upon waking up this morning.

  2. Great blog. I talk all the time about allowing people to tell their stories. I especially request that ministers allow children of divorce to tell their stories. They matter.

    A couple of years ago I was in a small group bible study. After we finished the bible study several of use decided we need to keep meeting at least once a month. Then we had the bright idea to each write our story. The first month everyone wrote about their first decade of life. Since we had different ages, from mid thirties to seventies, it became a lesson in history from some of the younger women. The 2nd month was the 2nd decade of life. We all got so close as we learned everyone’s story.

    When we started the oldest lady didn’t think she had anything worthwhile to share and yet we all so much enjoyed hearing about her childhood, teen and early adult years because she came from a time most of us hadn’t seen.

    Stories matter.
    Thanks,
    Linda Ranson Jacobs

  3. Linda, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love the creative idea of your small group writing and sharing their stories. I think it helps people to understand one another better and makes for more meaningful dialogue about our present and future. I appreciate you reading my blog and contributing!

  4. Leanne, you always add so much valuable insight to this blog with your comments. I also have tended to discount my own story, preferring instead to focus on others. I think I’ve missed out on opportunities for personal growth as a result.

    By the way, I’ve not forgotten your invitation to check out what you are doing for the homeless. I would like to do that soon. I will email you to see if that’s possible. Thanks so much for reading. It encourages me!

  5. You and I are true siblings through Christ, Glen! It’s way easier to love and serve others than ourselves. Yet, we can love and serve even better and more fully if we truly understand our own hearts… our stories somehow connect with those whom we serve, that’s why we love them so much, yes? So you are right, there is opportunity for personal growth and deeper understanding of our relationships with others when we explore ourselves.

    It’s hard for sure, but when we dig through the unknown space, I am certain there is something pretty great on the other side! That is what I keep telling myself in order to give me courage… I am only at the beginning of my journey.

    By the way, your post here inspired my next article for Pen to Paper. It will be ready on December 1. Thank you for sharing your heart… I’m rooting for you!

  6. Leanne, I look forward to reading your post on December 1st. In the meantime I will keep pressing into the margins of our city and my own story. God bless you richly as you do the same!

  7. You made me think about writing my story. Like Linda’s group did, I think I’ll do it by decades. Besides sharing with a Bible study group, it would be something to pass on to my son so he can share it with his family when he has kids.

  8. Tee,

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. I’m thrilled for you that you’ve decided to write your story. It will mean a great deal to your family, I’m sure. If you publish it online or as a book, be sure to come back and let us know how we can find it.

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