The kids can be absolutely and utterly insane, but as soon as I crack open a book and start reading out loud, the room quietens. They want to hear the journey through the pages I’m about to take, and a mere few pages in, the three are huddled around me, eyes poring over pictures and minds absorbed in the story.
The sermons that stick with me most are the ones that take me on a story. Either through vibrant illustrations from the speaker’s life or a unique allegory told to pierce my heart in just the right way, it’s the stories that best stick with us, not the three-point application. Admit it—it’s probably the same for you.
The movies that best suck me in and leave me hooked until the credits roll are the ones with a fascinating, remarkable plot—the Bourne series, Jane Austen adaptations, Ocean’s 11 through 13. It’s the same with the small screen—how else would early twentieth century England be fascinating without the Crawley family and the servants below?
We all love a good story.
And I believe we’re all in the thick of a story—our own personal Story, where we’re the protagonist. God is the author, and He’s orchestrated the perfect setting, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution for our storyline. And our own individual stories, from birth to death, are all part of One Big Story, a beautiful, redemptive plot that leaves us hanging gape-mouthed with wonder and obsession (I’ll give you a hint about the end though: it all works out perfectly. Better than we could ever imagine.)
But if you’re like me, sometimes my Story isn’t that terribly exciting. It feels easier to live out a good story when there’s adventure, chaos, and danger, and I’ve been there before. But that doesn’t comprise most of my life. Really, my days are mostly spent changing diapers, getting dinner on the table, paying our mortgage, and going for runs. It’s hard to believe you’re in the thick of something exciting when your days are—well, less so.
What does it look like to live out a good, relevant, gets-me-up-in-the-morning Story when it still just feels like…. regular life?
Believe it or not, there is encouragement that the mundane is still part of a Good Story. Parenting and living the day-in, day-out of raising three kids is not exactly erupting volcanoes and chasing after the bad guy and falling in love Victorian-style. It’s a lot of daily grind.
What gives me encouragement, then, is that the daily grind is shaping me into a better character for my story. Easy stuff doesn’t make me stronger. It’s the hard, repetitive challenges that build and shape me into a character worth reading. God’s not in any hurry to build His characters and then set them off in order to rush to the climax of the story. He’s a better storyteller than that. He’ll get there.
William Wallace had the darn English to contend with, but it was his early years of turmoil that shaped him perfect to lead the Scots in battle. Lizzy Bennett endured ambiguity, her position in Victorian England, and her mother, but those were the things that made her into a remarkable character we all root for when Mr. Darcy finally comes around.
Those daily drops of character-building were in their stories, too, but we don’t really see them.
No life is grind-free, but that grind can be more fun—or at least better-endured—if we trust in the Author of our story, who’s got the perfect climax and resolution in mind. Whether our plot feels more like currently in the character-driven art film phase or in the epic climax of tossing a ring into the fires of Mt. Doom, it’s all stellar. He has an adventure for all of us.
He hasn’t forgotten about you and your laundry-folding days or your hours spent in a cubicle. You’re the perfect character for the story He’s crafted just for you. And it’s gonna be awesome. The angels are popping the popcorn right now, I bet.
What sort of movie is your life like? How do you find contentment during character-building moments?
By Tsh, Simple Mom