When people struggle with control issues in their lives one helpful therapy technique is to talk about who is writing your story. People often struggle with letting others affect them or control them in ways that aren’t appropriate. It is as if our life is a story that is being written in a book. The words that appear on the page aren’t there by accident. There are there by intention and choice. Often when people go through hard times they get paralyzed…just like authors who get writers block…people get life block. These are the moments where you just feel like quitting.
When we check out on life, feeling like the next scene is too painful to write, people often do one of two things: they put the pen down (which is actually still writing) or they hand the pen to someone or something else (which also is still writing). The someone or something might be a friend or it might be a substance. It might be handing the pen over to alcohol or an unhealthy relationship, preferring someone else to call the shots and take control rather than have to make one more decision.
The truth is, the story never stops. The pen just gets shifted from person to person…coping mechanism to coping mechanism. There are plenty of people and substances in this world that promise you a happy ending but they all come up short. Most come up short because they weren’t really interested in a happy ending for you, they were interested in making your story about them from the get go.
Not everyone is tempted to release the pen. For others the temptation is to cling more tightly to the pen. If we can just write with more flourish or flare…with more passion or precision…then the story would finally be right and all will be well. This temptation is an attempt to control the outcome. The truth is, that doesn’t work either. The challenge isn’t so much that we have the ability to write the perfect story ourselves. The challenge is getting the pen in the right hands.
The question we all have to answer in this life is this – whose hands are the right ones to write this story to turn out as it should?
The right hands are the hands of the one who has nail scars in them and yet is alive again. Just like our lives have scars so does Jesus. Just like Jesus was able to overcome the biggest of obstacles, even death itself, so he invites us to hand him the pen of our lives and allow him to write the rest of our story for us. More accurately…he has been writing THE STORY for all of eternity and invites us onto his pages.
It is important that we find the right story for our lives because this world is full of narratives one can adopt but there is only one foundation that is solid and that is identity rooted in the story of the Gospel. This takes wisdom and patience and humility.
So who is writing your story? Are you writing it or are you allowing someone or something else to take a shot at it for you? How you answer that question will speak volumes about the things that are currently going on in your life.
May God write on your heart the message of the Gospel. May he adopt you into his family. May he give you a new name. May the Spirit of the living God write an indelible message, a resurrection message, on the broken pieces we bring to him. And may we watch him take our messed up, screwed up, confused story and shape it into something that is, as all things will one day be, new.