Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 12 & 13: What's The Story?

My friend Larramie sent me a wonderful email yesterday. It was about how I share my story. She remarked on my candor, asking how I felt about being so open in my writing. Her heartfelt encouragement made me want to hug her, right through the giant tangle of the world wide web.

But here's the funny thing: I haven't replied yet, because I'm not sure how to answer. As crazy as it sounds, I've never thought about how to feel about sharing this stuff. I think I've always been of the mindset that most of us have more going on inside--interesting ideas, provocative thoughts, perspectives and experiences--than the typical scope of our everyday lives creates space for. Maybe this is why I love reading blog posts and have found so many cool friends's a venue for us to dig around and share our lives.

But sometimes what comes up is the realization that we don't like our lives. That's tough to reconcile.

In Donald Miller's most recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life, he makes the compelling argument that any one of us can, at any time, decide to live a better story. Having done this a time or two (and oh, how I wish I'd had this spiffy catch phrase to describe my flailing, floppy process!) I totally agree. But it takes more than a decision, right? As I blogged yesterday, we need some sort of help to recalibrate in a new, better direction. Otherwise we just spin.

Today, my story is in a sad spot with the recent death of a friend. It's a mourning kind of place, rather than a launching pad from which to conquer the world. But I like my story in the big-picture sense: the thru line, the direction, the hope. It hasn't always been this way, so I'm a extra grateful.

How do you feel about your story? Let's spend this weekend thinking that over. Ask yourself--write it down, create lists of like/don't like if that helps. Then ask God what HE thinks, and if he has any recommendations. Then (and this is the challenge) to the best of your ability, do what he suggests.

If you've read my first book, you may remember the chapter where I describe trying this for the first time. My friend Amy and I were praying for husbands. She checked in with God and received fun marching orders to girlify herself: Get a pedicure! Buy a purse! I asked God what my instructions were, and he essentially said, "Stand back! We're taking the whole structure down and starting over..."

Tough, but the better story is worth it.

Need encouragement? I love the song The Long Way Around by the Dixie Chicks, because it's just so true: when I look at friends who settled down the minute they became "adults," the ones whose stories have been clear, focused, and linear when compared to my crazy zigs and zags, this feeling of envy creeps in...until I realize that for whatever reason, I couldn't have pulled that off if I'd tried. I'm not a simple girl. I'm taking the long way around. And maybe that's part of the story :)

How do you feel about your story?


mkate said...

Donald Miller had an interesting blog post the other day that fits well with today.
How I'm feeling about my story is summed up in what I told the Lord last night: I'm choosing again to trust you because I don't see any progress.

Jane said...

How do you feel about your story?
I love this question. When I think about my life I often have the feeling of not wanting to look back because I can't believe how wrong I got it and I notice that all that comes from comparing it with other peoples' lives which is always a dangerous thing to do. When I involve God in the matter and acknowledge him being the giver of my life then I am at peace and everything becomes exactly the way it should have been. All of it. My life is not mine to judge. Mine or anybody else's! My life is a gift from God and as long as he remains at the center of it, all is well. I too have traveled the road less traveled and somehow, I don't think its over yet :-) May the holy spirit fill us all with love and understanding this weekend.

larramiefg said...

I like my story. No, not every single page of it but the chapters switch from lessons learned to friendship, mystery, love, adventure and all are valuable. In fact reading/living my story holds the zest for life because you just never know....

Sarakastic said...

My story has been awesome but where it ends up is a mystery to me.

Liz said...

I like my story. Even the parts that I 'shouldn't' like because they were terrible and scary have turned in to what I have now, and I can't really imagine how different my life would be if everything had been smooth and easy the whole time. Sometimes it's hard to be patient for the future though and to see where to story goes.

Gretchen said...

I'm with you, Trish! My life has taken a lot of zigs and zags as well, which, in retrospect, have made it a heck of a lot more interesting than it would have been. I'm at a place where things have stayed sort of stagnant and not fun, so I'm having a hard time both embracing what is for now, and knowing how to get out of it or rewrite the story.

vee said...

Thanks Trish. I wasn't familiar with that song by the Dixie Chicks. I like the lyrics and I too feel as if that's the story of my life. Good knowing i am not alone in the zig-zagging through life. It's been long indeed.