Five Minute Friday: STORY.

Close up of potter at work in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, India

It was his turn to tell his testimony. Week by week, a couple of us at a time would give our story. And those nights keep some of my most cherished nuggets of relationship and community and all of it revolving around gospel.

 

The story of his life was enthralling and beautiful and tragic and it had led him to this grinding halt of my living room where we sat in a circle exchanging tales before heading to south America for a mission trip.

 

Inside of his testimony, however, was something that has irked me within Christianity.

 

“I hear the word History and I think it’s just His-Story. He brought me here.” And I can’t tell you how much that diminishes his thousand step walk alongside God. Evangelicals have this idea about God’s plan and calling and blueprint in which he is pulling us one puppet string at a time to wherever he wants us to go and it’s like this thing we say as a big band-aid on any and all problems. He ordained it. Knowing God as I do, I can’t accept that. Knowing God as I do, I know we journey together. I walk away. I walk back. We create together. I destroy, he builds anew. We are coheirs, he is my father, yes, but I also consider him my mother and my brother and my sister and my friend and I think when we widdle our stories down into these screen plays written by God, we are diminishing the real substance between us and the divine, all that love moving in the middle.

 

Stories matter. Between the barista in the morning to the gas station cashier at 9 PM, you’ll come across a thousand different stories, light and dark, hard and soft, and I can’t accept HIS-STORY with the dark and the hard ones, especially when they go on forever for some. We are co-creators, our story is interactional, it is not HIS-Story, it is ours, God has given us that. And it’s really quite beautiful-

 

-STOP

 

So, one of my favorite things now is free-writing and that is what I have done with Lisa Jo Baker and friends tonight! The rules are… (quoting from her blog):

5minutefriday

 1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Story” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.. 

  • Absolutely love this, RR. I’ve never heard someone actually phrase it as “his-story” before, but I have totally come across this idea. I think this idea exists in Islam as well, as “ensh’Allah” (probably spelling that wrong), meaning “if God wills it.” I remember leaving a meeting at church one day and when I said “See you next week” to someone, they replied “God willing,” and just the way they said it made it sound like a correction, like my implied suggestion that I can likely predict showing up again same-time-same-place was somehow not trusting in God’s sovereignty? I cannot imagine living my life with that mindset. I mean, God is definitely sovereign, but I can make plans.
    I especially like how you point out that this is a relationship, an interaction. Is God ultimately in control over my life? Yes. But he gives me (and other people) a lot of leeway to take it down this road or that. He lets me chose his path or other paths, as evidenced by the fact that I can and sometimes do chose paths that aren’t his will. (He certainly isn’t in favor of all the times I neglect him!) But he allows me that and keeps his arms wide open for when I return. Because he is so in love with me and it wouldn’t really be love if he wasn’t giving me the freedom to weave this story with him.
    Peace & penguin hugs,
    Olivia

  • angieryg

    God has given us His story and I love how you described it here! And the fact that we will come across many stories and yet they are all connected in His great plan of life. Lovely post and beautiful words. Blessings on your day!

  • Awesome. Love your father/mother/brother/sister/friend analogy. Also, thank you for this. I just joined in the writing, too. Will try to make this a regular thing on Fridays.

  • Oh yes. That kind of language, about God planning everything, kind of makes me uncomfortable too- though it’s hard for me to describe why.

    For example, a few months ago, when I was looking for a job, there was this one place I thought I would work, and I was happy about it, and the whole interview process and stuff was going great, and then they just suddenly rejected me… and then later I found a different job, and that’s where I’m working now, and it’s a lot better than that other job I applied for- I’m really glad I’m in this job. BUT I would NEVER say “God planned something better for me- that’s why I got rejected” or anything like that. Is God really bad at this and has to drag people through pointless interviews because he can’t get them to apply for the right job on the first try? Did he think it would build character or something if I cried about that job? That’s just cruel.

    I’m glad it worked out this way, but I don’t see what God’s role is. It’s just a thing that happened. *shrug*