While at the Storyline Conference back in October, I had the opportunity to hear Shauna Niequist share a bit of her story. One of the things she said was that we often make the mistake of listening to narratives not given to us by God. She suggested that we must “hold the story up to the light and ask: God, did you give me this story?” She encouraged us not to live a narrative that was given to us by anyone else.
It was a good reminder for me. I spent several years of my life listening to and trying to live a story that God didn’t give me or want for me. It resulted in many wrong turns and some terrible choices attempting to be someone I was not. I chose to listen to narratives that told me I was insignificant, that told me that you can’t do any better than this, that told me that settling in life was an okay way to live.
However, after years of listening to these narratives, the only place it took me was to the bottom of a hopelessly deep pit. It was there when I was finally willing to cry out to God, You take it, You write my story. I am done fearfully settling for a life where You are not leading the way.
And, that’s when it happened. The miracle. My life didn’t all of sudden become perfect, but life did become precious and beautiful to me. He gave me eyes to see it every single day, the sacred moments all around me. He’s shown me that my story is part of a bigger story and one worth celebrating every moment.
My son and I took a trip to Barnes & Noble a few days ago and I came across one of Shauna’s books, Cold Tangerines. I’m glad I picked it up. I love when I find folks who put into words, so well, what my heart knows to be true. I was only a few pages into the first chapter when the words she wrote started to resonate with me.
“Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask, and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted.” ~Shauna Niequist