by Christina Stolass
I have something to say; it’s been on my heart for a long time. But, before I could say it, I had to live it, really live it. I am old enough to know that talk with a life that doesn’t follow is only senseless chatter. You and I live in a world of continuous editing; everything is public and likewise everything is edited to make it a little better. We battle constantly to be a little better then others, a little better then reality, a little better then what we feel is expected of us. We photoshop pictures, smooth blemishes, add filters, and enhance colors. Our Facebook statuses and twitters remarks are typed with awareness and consideration of what our audience will think. How many times daily are we guilty of exaggerating the good and minimizing the bad?
And those of us who are writers, my goodness, we like editing. We cut lines, paragraphs and repetitive words. We use thesaurus to make our words sound more intelligent. We go through great lengths to make written words effective; to make our writing profoundly impactful. We edit because the rough drafts are messy, lengthy, and the reality is, rough drafts aren’t ready to be published.
And somehow, that’s what this messy life feels like on most days doesn’t it? Like it’s not ready to be published. We see our rough draft life; laden with mistakes, mishaps, and failures. We see weeks, months or even years that need to be deleted. But-- that’s a lie. Far too often our stories are so meticulously edited and cleaned up that they are rendered ineffective because they are no longer real. And sometimes, our stories are never told; because we feel they are never finished or never ready.
The truth is, this voluntarily silence, this continuous editing of our lives is one of the largest hinderances to the gospel in our world today. When we pretend we have it all together, when we wear masks and hide our failures, we damage more then ourselves. We actually hinder God’s work in all those around us. God promises that He works in all things, in all things there is purpose. (Romans 8:28) But what happens when we delete some of “those things” from our story? When our editing attempts rewrite our story we minimize the power of God and cheat Him of the glory He deserves.
Believe it or not, you have a story that is uniquely yours. It may be one of heartache, broken dreams, and continuous struggle. It may be one of hope, redemption and restoration. It may be a story in progress with unexpected twists and turns painfully being scribbled into paper one day at a time. I don’t know your story; but I know you have one. I know there is a dying world that needs to hear it.
As hard as this may be to believe, as hard as this is to hear, you need to know that if you are in Christ-- God has a purpose for your story. The unedited version. Are you willing to discard the attempts of cleaning up your story and display the rough draft instead? Rough drafts bring glory to God whereas edited stories bring glory to the person.
What have you been trying to edit out of your story? When we surrender to God the desire for the approval of others we get the privilege of God displaying His extravagant grace in our life. Every Believer can trace the fingerprints of God in their life, in the moments of triumph, but even more-so in the moments of despair. Don’t wipe away the Lord’s sovereign fingerprints with your attempts to beautify your story. The most beautiful tales are those where God’s grace is the cord that runs thick, His relentless grace connecting every page, grace headlining every chapter. And those stories are so relevant, those stories draw people to the gospel, because aren’t we all broken people who find it impossible to rescue ourselves? Yes. And there is a Savior, who gently whispers that we can stop trying to clean up our stories; the righteousness has already been purchased for us through His precious blood. We can stop the editing and tell our beautiful stories fearlessly; for the ending is predictable and glorious. He redeems all. He gives us beauty for ashes. He turns our mourning into dancing. He wins.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Christina Stolaas is an energetic mom to four adorable young kids. In her free time, she enjoys writing, training for roads races, and passionately pursuing a deeper walk with Jesus. Through a rough childhood, she has learned to earnestly trust in the Sovereignty of God and seek to be "fruitful in suffering" as God continues to mold her to His likeness and bring beauty for ashes! (Isaiah 61:3)