Why your story matters
I remember once seeing an ad from the Navy that said, "if someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone read it?" For some reason that question has been imprinted upon my mind and has stirred my thinking in regards to what our life stories mean. What worth they have.
In stories, you have what is called the "arc" of the character. This arc is essentially the trajectory of the character as he or she changes and moves towards something. Conflict, other characters, and of course, the author of the story affect the arc and the arc becomes the feel of the story.
Recently I finished reading Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In this book, Miller explores the idea that our lives are stories and that story matters. I like this book and I agree, but we must be sure to connect the dots of our stories to their ultimate purpose.
Our stories matter because they are sub plots in God's grand narrative.
Our lives are indeed a story and they matter, but the goal is not to live some epic adventure so people look at our life and think wow. It's cool if our lives are epic adventures and let's be honest, that sounds pretty great - but living an epic adventure in a self-glorifying manner (for the record, I don't think Miller is in any way advocating a self-glorifying ethic of story) is at odds with:
"And aspire to live quietly, and to mind to your own affairs, and to work with your hands..." (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
The "living quietly" is really important. To me it suggests humility. Looking at the opposite, living loudly, to me suggests a recklessness and someone fighting for maximum spotlight. To live quietly is to be humble and to be willing to stand in the background because our worth is tied to Jesus and not to how awesome we are.
When you read an incredible novel, do you give all the credit to the characters for the greatness of the story? You may deeply relate to them and feel warmth for them, but surely the character doesn't deserve the glory for a great story. He is just a character. A valuable part, but a character.
The author gets the glory. God gets the glory of our stories.
Our lives are wrought with conflict and pain and boredom and happiness. Of loss and gain and tragedy and comedy. We ride our arc like a roller coaster rides on a track. But unlike an author of a novel, God is in our story. Jesus is the protagonist (the good guy and main character). He is also the author. Crazy huh?
This is good news, as God gets glory and we get Him. We get His love and His care and we get to live in this broken but awesome world that He has made. And we get to live in His story.