Written by Tom Loghry, Senior Pastor Rockland Community Church, GCTS Graduate & Editor of Advent Christian Voices
Laying in bed late one night, I began thinking of my life story. As I considered the plot of my narrative, I found there could be two tellings. And which way it went struck me as immensely important, not because I am immensely important, but because the story I tell myself about myself guides me into the future. This is true not only of me but also of you.
We are storytellers.
You might never write a novel or play the bard around a campfire, but you are always telling yourself the story of yourself. Certain archetypal episodes from our lives crystallize and we refer to them again and again in telling our tale. You tell yourself that you are a victim because of that time you were terribly wronged, amidst many other instances; you always expect the next blow. You are a fighter, overcoming all the odds, just as you did on that occasion everyone doubted you; you will prove the world wrong again. You are the smartest person in the room, just look at your record; you have the world on a string. You are a terrible person, just think about what you did; you will never be good.
That is one way of telling your story. Here is mine by the same line: Every day of my life I have sought perfection in myself, but every day testifies that I have not found it; I will always be seeking. Every human story told in this fashion is haunted by loneliness. I am utterly alone, and so are you; every story will end a tragedy. The victim will again be crushed. The fighter will lose. The smartest person will learn he is a fool. The terrible person will never know consolation. The perfectionist will never find perfection.
The other way is told like this:
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. [Psalm 139:15-16 ESV]
I look at my life and the story that is told is not one of my own making but of God’s incomprehensible design. I don’t deny my responsibility for decisions that I made along the way, good or ill, but they were not formed in a vacuum and all that was good could only be attributed to a divine conspiracy of grace and not to anything within me. The same is true for you. Our story naturally centers on us – but who tells the narrative?
God knows my story best and I would like to tell it like Him. Give Him the pen and just let me read it again and again. The immense importance emerges here. My story is not all told, but who will be the teller? I do easily forget. If I see His hand behind me, I will look for His hand before me. What I seek, I will find. And I will never be alone.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. [Psalm 139:17-18 ESV]
(Tom is the new Senior Pastor at Rockland Community Church, North Scituate, Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is the Editor of Advent Christian Voices – https://www.adventchristianvoices.com/. Tom and his wife Sara have a son, James.)
Published June 1st 2021