Same Old Story

I keep running into Christian books that talk about ‘story’ lately. I even caught a sermon series by Pastor Steven Furtick about writing a better story recently where he talks about the Bible as the story of God.  Furtick also spoke about how our lives, in the end, will be only a synopsis. Someone somewhere is going to summarize our lives, and break it down to its most notable parts.  Frightening stuff!

Furtick also mentioned how we’ve all got the wrong leading character in our story.  He says we need Jesus to be our leading man, our director, and our editor too.  I agree with that, Furtick states that we all too often have bought into the stories the world writes and then try to fit ourselves into them.  Usually it’s a poor fit.  Like Russell Crowe playing the kid left home alone in the movie of the same name, or Danny DeVito cast as Miss America.

I started thinking about the stories that I have inserted myself into during my life.  Some of them were a good fit like motherhood and marriage, some, were only good for a season, like being a beautiful girl on a college campus.  That may sound vain but in reality, that’s who I was for a time.  Just window dressing for a brochure.

The thing is, it’s hard to let go of that story. Just like the high-school football player who keeps living his “glory days” while trying to force his body back into that old football jersey, we’ve all got stories we don’t want to let go of. Like the reruns of a favorite TV show, we watch them over and over again.

But God has a better story for you. It’s a story where you’re merely an extra in a huge stadium scene but for me there is more fulfillment in that scene than in all the scenes where I’m the leading lady being swept off my feet by the handsome leading man.

rudy-beauty-queenIn my human scenario, the beauty never lasts, the handsome guy turns into just a regular ‘Joe’ with dirty underwear and a bad habit of leaving them on your bedroom floor.

In God’s story, each moment has meaning and impact and each character is a pearl beyond price, which never fades or loses its value.

Sounds great! But how do I really make Jesus the lead in my movie?  Paul said it best when he said “I die daily in 1 Corinthians 15:31 and then he says “for to live is Christ and to die is gain” in Philippians 1:21.  What I think Paul is saying here is that every day when our feet hit the floor we deny our own desire to be the star and place Jesus squarely in front of the camera of our life.

It is our focus on ourselves and on others that usually brings us the most misery.  When we focus on ourselves the person our camera sees is rarely as beautiful, intelligent and heroic as we want them to be.  It’s the same when we focus on other people. But when we set our focus on Jesus and building his kingdom and living as he would live in the day God has given us, we find that our measure of what is important and what is not changes; our view of people becomes less about their externals and more internal, and our sense of joy becomes more lasting.

The funny thing is that when you get it right (and you won’t always), you have a front-row seat to the miracles God performs in ordinary lives. Even yours.