Do you ever have moments when you want to change your story?
One of the places I’ve missed most during the pandemic is the library. I love standing in front of seemingly endless shelves of books. Thousands of stories. Love and war, mysteries and memoirs, cookbooks and collections of poetry. I love knowing at any moment I can reach out and choose any of them.
Years ago my counselor and I talked about how life can feel this way as well. Marketing messages try to tell us there are thousands of better stories we could be living. And in this world of option and opportunity it seems we can somehow pick them all.
We’re told this is freedom and yet in so many ways it can become a trap. Because instead of living fully in the reality we’ve been given, we’re drifting to somewhere else, lost on the pages of “what might have been” or “what could be.” We think we want someone else’s story—a book with a more enticing cover.
But so often we only see the cover of someone else’s story or maybe social media shows us the equivalent of the little blurb of highlights on the back of a book. But we don’t know the brokenness or insecurity, the trauma or all she’s overcome, the darkness she endured before she stepped int the light.
I am at a place in my life, and I imagine you are too, when I want to stop constantly scanning the shelves for something on-the-surface better. Something a little more thrilling and attractive. Something a little more wise or funny. Something different than what I’ve been given.
Instead I want to realize that while the details are different, in so many ways our stories are the same. They are all full of anger and fear, struggle and loss, hope and longing.
Sharon Jaynes, author of When You Don’t Like Your Story, joined us on More than Small Talk and encouraged us with these words…
What’s the story you got? Whatever it is, I’m guessing there are pages you wish you could rip out of the narrative. I’ve never met a soul who didn’t feel that way. But what I want to tell you is that the whole of it matters. Every crossed-out word. Every worn-thin erasure. Every ripped-out page. I believe that with my whole heart, because I believe you still can have a better story, even with the marred pages intact. You can change the ending of your story, even if it feels like you’re trapped in a chapter that has come to a dead stop. There is a way to transform the worst parts of your story into a work of art. Your biggest mistakes have the potential to become God’s greatest miracles.
I hope we can find the courage to stand beside each other, own our stories, point to the pages and say, “This is the paragraph I wish I could mark out with a wide, red pen. This is the ugly, unwelcome sentence. And, my goodness, there’s also this joy-soaked scene I never saw coming.”
Together let’s be a living library, filled with stories about all God has done and who we’ve become.
Cheering You On,
- Hear more encouraging words from Sharon Jaynes on this week’s More than Small Talk episode, When You Don’t Like Your Story.
- If you’re not on my introvert newsletter list then you might have missed the fun news… The Powerful Purpose of Introverts is in Target! To celebrate, I’m giving away a $50 Target gift card!
To enter, snap a selfie with the book on your next trip to Target, post the picture (on Instagram, Instagram Stories, or Facebook), and tag @Target and me (@HolleyGerth) in your post.
I’ll gather all the entries and will randomly select a winner on April 1st! (Nope, no April Fools joke here!) If you want to make sure I see your post, send a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for celebrating this exciting news with me!