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Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's the story been like so far?

I hate when bad things happen.
We all do don't we?
But when you add to that that I'm a very tearful person you find I cry ALL THE TIME:
  • A good commercial,
  • A sad movie,
  • A redemptive story,
  • Children who aren't loved,
  • My favorite song on the radio, all of it sends tears rolling down my cheeks.
I cry so often that my family hardly even notices anymore, "Oh, Mom's crying ... again!" So now you know I hate it when bad things happen AND I hate when bad things happen and I spontaneously cry.

As human beings I think we're programmed this way. We look away, make ourselves think a different thought, bury our head in the sand, rent movies with only happy endings or in my case, we wipe away tears. We avoid heartache, poverty, conflict and disappointment.
We pretend it doesn't bother us.
We focus on not focusing on it.
We hate when bad things happen.

I recently drew a long line on a piece of paper. On the left side was the beginning of my life. This is my time line. I thought of all the significant events in my life...both good and bad and I penciled them in on my time line. All the positive moments I wrote in chronological order above the line. All the negative moments I wrote, also in chronological order, below the line.

I laid my life out before me: when my kids were born, my wedding day, a job, an award, a move, a fight, a death, a loss...all of it. All the significant things that popped into my mind as moments in my life that have helped shape me .. good/bad/or otherwise.

I put down the pencil and looked at it all. And I found the most amazing thing, some of those moments that were so terrible were pivotal points of change. Because THIS sucky thing happened I did THAT. When I did THAT I met THEM. THEY introduced me to THAT which caused me to do a different THIS and now I'm looking forward to SOMETHING.

Have all my terrible things been redeemed? Well, no of course not, my life's not over. There is still a chance that they can cause a turn for the better. But that's not the point. Mapping out my life's timeline showed me something. It's all a story ... a big, ongoing, interwoven story. Seeing how some negative things have been a force for good change provides me with great encouragement. Because if one thing has been used for good in my life than there's the chance that this current conflict can be related to my future as well.

image from creativemedianews.net
This is good news to me as I'm weary of fighting off conflict and negative events. I can't shake them in my life anyway. It's a loosing battle. But I'm no masochist either. I am simply grasping onto the belief that this is what makes a up a life.

A life has hardships and glorious moments, and grief and ecstasy, and loneliness and popularity, and feast and famine and ... I have to believe my life matters.
All of it.
Not just the parts that I particularly enjoyed.
If any of it matters ... all of it matters. And "those who don't believe they matter will have a hard time enjoying life or inspiring others. Understanding your story, and seeing God's presence in your life, is critical to walking with Him in the future and creating and executing a personal story for you life" Donald Miller, Storyline Conference. I want my story to matter.
I don't want to be afraid of bad things anymore.
Do you?

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