“What’s your story?”
A number of years ago the aunt of a woman I was dating asked me that question and everything inside me tightened. It was the first time I met her and a number of other members of the family. I really wanted to give a good impression. As I saw it, my story would do the opposite.
When You’re Unsure of Your Story
I was mere months away from my arrest in a prostitution sting that prompted my resignation as a pastor. Work in the months that followed proved hard to come by and I’d settled for a job making about $10 an hour at the outdoor retailer, REI. Unable to afford my own place, I lived in my parents’ basement. That is not, “I’m so glad you’re dating my favorite niece!” material.
I did see myself on a path to redemption and believed that life with the woman I was dating would help me get there. But truth be told, my clinging to her as a potential source of my identity made it clear that I had yet to even begin substantive inner work. Shame still riddled my soul, making honest reflection on my own woundedness impossible.
So here question sat there, “What’s your story?”
The truth is, Easter means you have a redemption story, you just might not know the fullness of it yet.
The Psalmists Story
In Psalm 30, we are offered someone’s full story, and a guide to our own. The only question is where in the story do we find ourselves?
The Psalmist opens with praise for all that God did (Psalm 30:1-5), then quickly summarizes what the circumstances that set the stage for his redemption:
When I was prosperous, I said,Psalm 30:6-7
“Nothing can stop me now!”
Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
The Psalm fails to tell us if the man, like so many, lived under a meritocratic delusion and thought he earned his prosperity or if he was like Job who lost everything even as someone who honored God, but we know there was a time he found security in his wealth.
We also do not know what it means that God turned away. Perhaps he lost everything. Then again, like the author of Ecclesiastes, he might have realized it was all meaningless. All we do know is that God turned away and he was shattered.
The rest of the Psalm tells the story of God turning back towards him and restoring his joy.
What Would You Write?
So if you told your story, what would it be? Where do you find yourself in it? Have you already reached redemption, or do you still find yourself shattered? Are you miserable with plenty or perhaps you discovered peace with just enough? What story would you write? Or maybe you are looking at a mishmash of notes and need help finding coherence.
As I continue to write my own story, one that moves from coping to healing to thriving, part of my thriving future involves both the kind of transformative pastoral care that helps people discover their redemption stories. That is why I am launching THRIV3 Holistic Life Coaching, a service designed to help you embody your own reconstructed abundance.
Are you not sure what you’d write? Or maybe you would just like to help me in the business development process? Sign up for a discovery call today.