Friday, October 12, 2012


A quick reminder that Recess with Jesus is FREE today through Sunday in the Kindle store.  Please do me the honor of downloading a copy and please do me the favor of leaving a review when you're done.  Also, please share this with as many friends as you've got.  

Now, onto today.

It wasn't that long ago that someone asked me if I ever regret the parts of my story that I choose to make public - through this blog, through interviews I've done, through blogs I have guest posted on, through opportunities I've had to speak, through just meeting people.  As I get more bold in my writing and as God does a fantastic job of skillfully weaving more of my story into His own that He's asking me to tell, I thought I would address this question right up front.


The simple answer is no.  I don't regret it.

Here's the thing about story: everybody's got one.  And there is a way, I am learning (by God's great mercy), to tell your story with grace. can find that grace, there's nothing to regret.  No matter what your sordid details may be.

This means that yes, there have been times I have regretted it.  Times I have used my story with less than grace, and that will always come back to bite me.  This is why, for quite a while, I simply stopped telling my story.  Without the grace, my story got away from me and became this thing that hung over me until I was so drunk in the details that I was kind of hungover myself.  As time presses on and God develops in me the gift He's given me of story, He's teaching me the grace so that we can weave mine back in.

Grace in story is this: it's recognizing that the most powerful, the most real, the most worthy aspects of your story are never the details.  It's never about what happened.  Anybody who's got a story and been buried in their details knows this is true.  Because in all of our seeking to understand our own stories, we run into the narratives of others whose details are the same and we walk away more confused than when we thought we were searching.  We don't relate to people in details.  If there is even one other person on this entire planet who lived precisely the way you have lived, you have no kindred connection unless there is something in your heart in the way you handled that life that draws you together.

We relate to people in heart.

So telling your story with grace is foregoing the opportunity to name names.  It's refusing to dwell on the details.  It's choosing not to elaborate on events.  Instead, it is owning your heart and owning your healing and owning your journey and your character and your subplot.  It's about laying out not who said what but some bit of truth that another heart can hear.

When I'm using my story, I focus on my story.  My details.  My decisions.  My desperations.  My heart.  That's how you're going to connect to it anyway.  Then, I don't have to worry about backlash.  I don't have to worry about offending anyone.  I'm not dragging any names through the mud.  I'm not distracting from the real issues with something so trivial as the facts.  This is my heart, and I'm offering it in the hopes that there's another heart out there searching.  And I have no regrets.

I am neither naive nor foolish.  I know there is stigma in my story.  In the details I don't dwell on, in the ones I have to hint at to set the scene, and in the nitty-gritty of how I have responded, which I haven't always been proud of but neither will I run away from that.  There's stigma in this story and there are people who will pounce on that, but I don't have a lot of room in my heart for stigma.  There's something greater at stake.

Your story is your story.  There are people - even good-hearted, well-meaning people - who will tell you that you don't need to live under that story and that you shouldn't be bringing it up.  That if you keep talking about it, it will hang heavy over you your whole life.  That's bullhonky.

My story frees me.  It makes me make sense.  It adds depth, meaning, and even promise to my life.  It lends authenticity to everything I know, knowing I can draw on these deep breaths I've breathed and talk about this world like I'm living in it.  It is an honor to know that in some small part, my story is also freeing others.  Others who grew up as men and women without.  Without families.  Without a place.  Without a dream.  Without a hope.  Without a purpose.  Without a future.  Without a promise.  And who were told that as they grew up, they ought to ditch their story, too, and have nothing.  We cannot live as people without a story.  Without our stories, we are hollowed, not hallowed.

Our stories bring us grace.  And then I think it's up to us to weave our stories back into the Greater Narrative with that same measure of grace.  No regrets.

No comments:

Post a Comment