After more than two years of living where we didn’t know many people, we’ve been blessed to make up for lost time, catching up with friends over coffee and meals since returning to Memphis. As people have been asking how things are going, I’ve realized there are two very different stories in my mind.
Story One: God has been so faithful. He has provided housing for three families, a place to meet as a new church, an amazing team who are giving it their all, and some promising opportunities that are beginning to emerge. It’s amazing what God has done in just six weeks!
Story Two: We don’t have a house. We don’t have anywhere for our family of four to be a “normal family” over the holidays. We don’t have a salary. We’re working harder than ever, in the middle of a pandemic, in a space that’s not big enough to grow our church.
Both stories are true.
I give my two versions simply as an example, but all of us have two stories. Yours may be about your children… your marriage… your job… your health… your finances. Maybe we can call it the positive version and the negative version… or maybe half-full or half-empty… or the optimistic version or the pessimistic version. The question, however, is this:
- Which story do you tell yourself?
- Which story do you tell others?
Why does this matter? I’ll steal a phrase from a recent sermon I was listening to: We tend to see what we are prepared to see. If I’m looking for the problems, I’ll see the problems. If I’m looking for God’s activity, I’ll see God’s activity.
Each time we repeat the story – either literally or in the recesses of our mind – we further entrench whichever story we’re telling. We’re also giving credibility either to the voice of the Holy Spirit (whose character is represented by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) or to the enemy (who comes to steal, kill, and destroy). We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can decide what we tell ourselves and what we give life to.
Tell yourself a story today… just make sure it’s the story God wants to whisper in your ear. Any other story is only meant to tear you down. I’m not talking about denying reality. I’m talking about looking for God’s perspective in the reality.
He’s got your story under control. Just ask Him.