My “three-minute” story

On Sunday the pastor of my church taught about, among other things, defining and telling your own story about you and God, so when someone asks about God, you’re ready with an answer. Writing your own story ahead of time helps you to be clear and brief, good things when you’re trying to convey important things.

Gilbert challenged us all to write down our own stories and email them to him, and he would read them and comment. I thought about it, and decided I have this-here blog thing that I’m used to publishing to, and I don’t mind writing down stories about myself and putting them out into the world, with or without other people’s commentary, so I would do that instead. (I’m not sure if Gilbert has noticed yet or not that I’m a bit of a contrarian; I don’t always follow directions as given. The cat’s out of the bag now, I suppose.)

This isn’t very polished, but it’s honest and heartfelt, and it’s one of my own stories about me and God.

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Everything really changed when I started to understand that God is a person. Not a human person, but still a person. It helped me make sense of him. It helped me make sense of myself.

I can’t relate to a construct, or a philosophy, or a divine essence. But I know how to relate to people. I do that all the time.

At the beginning of 2011, my last job ended. I was scared and relieved, because being in that place and doing that work and feeling stuck, like nothing would change and I would keep being unhealthy and unhappy for a very long time. I wish I had been able to leave myself and a long time ago, but I couldn’t. I was too scared of trying something new and too disbelieving in myself. I missed my chance, and the unhappiness locked me into place. Hating life as it was, and hating the idea of change, and hating myself for being stuck in the middle and helpless.

What I couldn’t change, God changed. At the right time, that job ended, and I was spat out into the world, into the world I was scared of and a new process of change, like it or not. I didn’t know what would happen or what to do.

I wasn’t on my own, though. Last year, I see now, God was already prepping for my departure. In June, I met my martial arts school, a community of people who believe in me and are teaching me so much, about how to believe in myself and how to work constructively on becoming a better me. In November, I met my church, a group of people who are working on something so much bigger than themselves, who care about their city and care enormously about God’s ideas and intentions, and who are working hard and taking the risks of doing something new. Along the line I met the counselor who has helped me do so much good, hard work in learning to understand and accept myself, no matter what. I started writing and received so much encouragement from friends and family. So many people, so many pieces of my life this year that have helped with the process of change, and all of them gifts from God. I see the circumstances of how those meetings happened, and I know chance and coincidence doesn’t cover it. God had all of it in mind, long before I did.

Over the course of the past year, I have experienced so much that’s so hard — a lot of things that I can’t even bring myself to say yet. I have been terrified and shrieking-angry and despairing. But all of those moments and situations passed, and I’m still here — here and stronger for facing them.

But not for facing them alone. At every hard point, God was there, and whether I was howling or crying or moping, I have learned to do it with God, in and aware of his presence. He has reassured me and chastized me and pointed me toward the next thing to do, and no matter what, has always been here, like the best friends always are. I’m forgetful of him sometimes; he isn’t ever forgetful of me.

I don’t know where this story ends yet. I don’t have a new job, and in this minute when I am writing I am facing down another bout of scared despair. That’s what this week hold for me. I wish I could write the fairy-tale ending for you right now, primarily because I wish I could skip to the end myself. The hard middle bits of a fairy tale aren’t any fun.

But God is right here, still and always here. I am such a different person now than at the beginning of this year: stronger, wiser, braver. When this story started I couldn’t have faced a grasshopper, let alone a dragon. But I’ve got my eye on bigger game now. I can face dragons, now, face them and stare them down. Because I’m not alone. God is here, and no dragon stands a chance. If God wants me to face down dragons, he’ll teach me how and back me up and give me the strength to do it. No doubt. Because that’s who God is — that’s who I am learning God is. The best friend, the best teacher, the best general, the best mentor, the best counselor, the best listener, the best visionary, the best artist, the best encourager. All of those people-roles are God’s roles, first and best.

I want to change the world for the better, and God’s been working on that project for a long time already. He has ideas for where I fit in, and I can’t wait to see what he has in mind.

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1 comment so far

  1. Dawn on

    He has many surprises in store for us. 


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