Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dirty Little Details

There are things in this world that are always going to try to push their way into the story you are writing.  The story, of course, of you.

Once you figure out you've got something to say with your life, once you start pouring your efforts into embracing what that story is, it seems everybody wants a piece of your pen.

It's easy to fall victim to that.  After all, if the story is your life and circumstance can push its way in, then it's easy to think that becomes part of the story.

But it doesn't have to.

Earlier this week, I was bombed by a difficult situation that, I'll be honest, I still haven't worked my way out of.  And my first thought was absolute frustration.  This is not the story I'm telling, I yelled into the sky with clenched fists.  Then, anger.  I don't know why the world seems to have so much crap for me when I least need more crap in my life.  Then, indignation based on the details of this particular situation.  Before things settled back down, I cried for about an hour and a half and prayed.  My prayer started as: I don't want to deal with this right now, Lord, so You're gonna have to.  But it ended at: whoa!  I almost lost it there for a second.

(I totally lost it there for a second.  Or a thousand seconds.  It's ok; it happens to the best of us.)

My problem, initially, besides the problem itself was that I was instantly reminded of all the other times life has pushed its way in and changed the story I was trying to tell.  I was remembering all of the times I have been bound by circumstance and felt helpless to even say what I was saying.  When I felt controlled by precisely these kinds of things and they absolutely got me.  They took over.  I was fuming because I was keenly aware that I have told this story.  I have given over my pen and allowed circumstance to write my life.  For precisely the reason that seems logical: if it's in my life, it must be in my story.

Oh, the dirty little details.

But as I cried (and prayed.  And cried.  And fumed.  And clenched my fists.  And prayed), something quiet overtook me.  Something still that said, "And?  This still isn't your story.  Don't let it be."  To which my answer, of course, is how can it not be?  It's in my life, that means it's my story.  It's the same ragged, crutched, crooked story I've been forced to tell for longer than I want to.  My heart was literally aching over another hijacked moment, another chance lost to break free of this cycle of circumstance that has always kept me saying things I didn't want to say, living a life I didn't want to live, defining myself by things that I didn't want to define me.  And the still, small voice insisted, "This is not your story.  Unless you choose to tell it."

I had not really considered the idea until recently.  Until recently, I thought every detail was life itself.  This is just what it is, and it's up to me to respond to it.  In my response, somewhere, is the story.  But when this bomb dropped, I saw clearly for the first time that nope.  My story is my story, and if I don't let circumstance get in the way of that story, I am stronger.  More content.  More confident.  And more at peace with even what these circumstances must be.

God answered my crying heart so quickly that in the same vein as I wrote the Facebook status, "So...I may be ridiculously screwed right about now. ...Praying for God to come and answer this because my heart just ain't strong enough" I also came to the conclusion, "This does not change my hope. This does not change my hope. This does not change my hope. God is good, and even in trouble, God is good. This does not shake my heart. This does not wound my faith. This absolutely shakes my flesh. But it does not change my hope."

Because it doesn't.  It doesn't change my hope.  It doesn't change my heart.  It doesn't change the way I relate to God.  It doesn't change the way I live.  It doesn't change the way I love.  And it doesn't change my story.  And if I let it, then it's not my story anymore; it's been hijacked.

I felt...steadfast as I came to that conclusion.  At peace.  Strengthened.  Resolved.  And no longer heart-shaken, though my flesh is still waiting to see how things are going to work out.

And these details?  These dirty little details that we like to call circumstance?  There's no room for them in the story I'm writing.  So I threw them in the cutting pile.  I took my red pen and edited them out.  They don't really matter.  They want to, but details are not the author of this story.  They don't get to pen me.  

You are the co-author of your story.  Not everything in your life has to be in your story.  Sometimes, it's just life.  It's up to you to propose or deny the details to your story as per the choices you make.  Your job in your story is to keep track of your pen and know - as best as you can know - what's being written about you.

As such, you have to decide if everything that wants a piece of your pen can have it.  Or where will you draw the line?

My story will not be dictated by circumstance.  It won't be run by dirty little details.  It will be directed by my God, who is down and dirty in those details because He's just as into this story as I am and eternally more.  He...can have my pen.

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