Thursday, March 6, 2014

Living the Story

by Kate Peterson

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are My ways higher than your ways
    and My thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:8-9

I think in story form. If you ask me about my day or week or how I feel, I will most likely tell you some version of a story. To me, nothing happens in isolation. Everything has an influence, a pattern, a purpose. 

Which also means that I am a dot-connector. I look for the connection points, the numerous “coincidences” that I actually believe are evidences of God’s fingerprints, His grace.

Both of these characteristics mean I am constantly looking for the weaving hand of my Maker. However, they also mean that I am up a creek when my understanding of the story does not jive with the reality I am living.

Like the last few months. My understanding of the story God was writing with my heart, my life, and all the awkward moments and prayers did not line up with his. And to my dismay and disbelief, we parted ways. Yet, while our relationship changed, the story I had did not. I still was left with everything I thought had been penned out up until then. 

So, instead of simply accepting the fact that we were on two different pages and moving on, I have found myself sitting in an ache of confusion over what book we were even in.

Am I just ridiculously stubborn? Am I deaf to the real voice of Jesus? Is he?
Did God hear my prayers to prevent this very thing from happening? 
Did I do something wrong, God?

I mean, you would think that the months (perhaps, years) of pleading I did to not have this chapter in my story would have made a difference. The belief and hope I had that if I submitted to and followed Him, He would lead me on the perfect path. 

To put it plainly: No confusing break ups. No "unnecessary" heartache.

You see, I am also a perfectionist. A realist perhaps, but still an idealist. And I am slowly realizing that the whole time that I have been pleading for a safe path through this reckless, broken mass of dirt, I have been asking for the way to avoid all the bruises and scrapes I am afraid of. To have every pain make absolute sense. In that, I have been blind to the fact that I have been asking to write my own story. I have been seeking an understanding which is not necessarily mine to have. My theology of a good and sovereign and unknowable God breaks down in those moments.

On the one hand, I do truly believe Jesus has a way that is above the broken. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith and is the ultimate example of how God intended His creation to live. However, we also live and breath and love in a broken world. That is a fact, and Jesus experienced it fully as He was crucified on the cross by people who abhorred Him and His love.

So, these two realities - that the Creator has a perfect design and that the world is in disarray - have been colliding daily in my heart. Even when I seem okay, I still wrestle with inexplicable questions. Why, Lord? How?

But all that wrestling does is leave me with an unfinished and haphazard story and a hand that is struggling to drop the pen.

I am learning that the only way to live the story is to stop trying to connect the dots. To give Him the pen, and trust that the Author sees the story better than I do. Even when it feels like we are skipping pages or speaking two different languages. Because if I spend my whole life trying to read my own life story, when am I actually going to do anything worth writing about? 

Giving up control and understanding, giving up authorship, is terrifying. No doubt about it. But if I have a theology of a loving and gracious God whose ways are far above mine, why would I dare attempt to take the control from Him?

In the end, it is not my story anyways. It is His. It always has been.

What part of your story is Jesus asking you to trust Him to write?

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