Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is Your Story Being Written as You Hoped?

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Italy. As an associate with the NLI Network I attended Summit and, while there, our EMERGE team hosted a one day Women's Leadership Conference. It was my honor and joy to speak at that conference. 

I was asked to speak on Story; Is Yours Being Written the Way You Hoped.

Well, don't I know a little about that?

You see a while ago, when I was floundering and flopping through my own life, I was forced to take a long hard account of myself. I was grieved with the answers I wasn't getting to some soul searching questions:
Why was I so disappointed with how things were turning out?
What about my dreams?
and most harshly, Did I even like where things were going?

First, it's painful to admit not being okay with one's own life and secondly, facing that truth left with me no choice but to engage the wrestle. And if you're a fan of Jacob you know his wrestle left him with a permanent hitch in his walk.
Not cool, God.
Not cool.

This was a very stressful time because on the one hand, I felt obligated to be thankful for the I've had. To complain that I didn't like the way it was going seemed disrespectful to the Maker of the Universe. The last thing I wanted to do was appear to be a selfish, ungrateful child. Yet, I knew something needed to change. I talked about all this and more in my presentation at the EMERGENCE women's conference in Bari, Italy.

I confessed, through the help of a translator, that it all began the time I felt sad because I was unable to remember some things, facts if you will, about my life.

My family would say, "Do you remember that time we took that trip?" and honestly, I would think "No."
And other times my mommy-friends would talk and say, "I'll never forget when my baby smiled for the first time!"
But me? No!
I could barely remember what it was like when they were babies! How could I remember smiling? or Cooing? or any of those super cool baby book kinda things?

This absolutely concerned me.
First, I was grieved.
Then I became a hypochondriac believing I had an early onset of dementia. 

That is when I really began to tailspin into fear.

It was about that time I came across Don Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Million Years. He wrote of having a similar experience - forgetting the moments of his life, "The saddest thing about life is that you don't remember half of it." and "I realized my life, for the most part, had been a series of random experiences."

So he did something incredibly un-boring. He took a bike ride across America.

Me? I was home with five kids. I barely made it out of the house to go to my job. No way would something as great and monumental as a life changing, cross country trek be acceptable to the responsibilities I had at home. 

Above all else, thank God I realized: there is nothing wrong with my mind. I'm not 'losing it'. I'm not the youngest woman to have Alzheimer's. My life, was simply one long string of un-incredible monotony. 

That is when I received an encouraging card in the mail. (Sidenote: if you ever feel like a friends needs cheering up, or could use an "I'm thinking of you" note: do it! Send her a card. Let her know you're thinking of her. It could be the very message that speaks to her soul).

That's what this card did for me. A regular ol' card had this quote inside:
"Man fully alive is the glory of God" Saint Irenaies of Lyons

and I asked myself a very hard question. 
The kind that takes bravery because you know once asked, once it is spoken out loud, it can't be taken back. It can't be ignored.
I dared ask myself, "Am I living my best life?"

Is my life boring and unmemorable because I fail to treat is as the precious gift that it is?
Am I not living my life fully?
And if the answer is yes, is it possible I am robbing God of the glory He deserves?

People, these questions seared my heart.
Rocked my soul.
Made me face truth.
Caused me to cry.
And it was that ugly cry.

It didn't take long for me to know what to do.
I wasn't going to do some cross country craziness.
No, my choice was more internal than external.
I knew I needed to live differently.
Not do something differently.
But believe something differently.
Believe that my life, and where it is, and who is in it, isn't missing anything expect intention-ality.

And it wasn't like a New Year's Eve kinda resolution to live more aware. No, my soul shifted. Like if someone moved my heart from the left side of my chest to the right side.
My soul moved.
Never to go back.

I started this blog then, too. A blog called To Write a Better Story.
Because that's what I needed to do,
Write a better story with my life.

Not change my life. Live it better.
Live it fully.

Well, at least that's how I opened my presentation at the women's conference. Stay tuned for the rest of that message.

But wait! What about you? If we were having coffee together and we could see each other. Really see one another.... if I asked you, "Are you living your best life?" what would you say? Would your eyes flicker with disappointment? Would you look away? Or would you confidently take a sip from your latte and nod? Or do you drink tea?

You can live a great life, you know. First you must ask yourself if you are. 

1 comment:

  1. That's wonderful. Thank you for writing this blog entry!


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