I have always had a plan for my life. And while I’ve heard both good and bad things about having a plan, I know to continuously remind myself that it is a rough draft. I have had countless plans change. Some of this was done with relative ease whereas others were mixed with tears, confusion, and a lot of heartbreak. Nevertheless, they both required significant revisions.
When I view my life as a story, I understand the seasons that come with it. And any good story has a driving plot—one with twists and turns ahead. Where I fall short is how I view myself in the story of my life. When I establish the mindset that I am the author, I am blindsided by the unpredictable events.
“This wasn’t supposed to go here,” or “this wasn’t part of the story,” or “I wasn’t ready for that” are often the sum of my internal thoughts as I sit and believe that I am the author and that I am in control of my story.
I must remember that I am simply a character in The Story. And One who is greater than I holds the pen. He has taken great care in mapping out His Story—He has carefully considered the major plot points and the turning of events. He sits at His writing desk, perhaps a cup of coffee in His hand, and He thinks about each and every character He so dearly loves. He knows that The Story would simply not be The Story unless every one of the characters He created is in it.
He is a master storyteller. He finds a way to use each of His characters to the advantage of the others—He ordains interactions with a goal in mind for His characters to use their gifts, talents, and passions to serve Him and His other characters. He takes what we love, and even what we despise, and He turns it into good for the Story.
More times than I can count, I have felt like He was absent from my life. I have felt that He didn’t really care about me as a character—I’m not doing anything remarkable, I don’t always love people as I should, and I let things dwell in my mind that don’t deserve to take up space there. I was in the midst of these thoughts one Sunday morning as I was heading into church. I didn’t really feel like going that morning. I didn’t sleep well the night before, I woke up late and didn’t get to wash my hair or put makeup on, and I was just flat out tired. I almost decided to sit this one out and just stay home. However, when the service started, I was holding back tears the entire time. The pastor talked about God being present in every single one of our stories. He talked about how He has numbered the stars in the sky and how He knows them by name. To put this statement into perspective, he explained the vastness of the universe. He explained how we can’t even travel to all of the parts of our galaxy because certain areas are just too far away. To add to that, there are thousands of galaxies just like ours that exist in the great expanse of the universe. And God is there among it all. He has placed every single star in the sky and He knows them all by name. What makes you think He isn’t present with you right here, right now?
He transcends beyond time and space as we know it—He is the I am. The ever-present. The past, present, and future. He is all around us. He is invested in your story more than you can even fathom. He is with you each and every step of the way. He cries when you cry, laughs when you laugh, and He celebrates every tiny victory for His kingdom. YOU are so incredibly important in His story—in THE STORY.
Each person you meet is a part of the story, too. And each person brings something incredibly unique to the narrative.
People can be annoying and frustrating. I get it. I spent most of my high school career being annoyed with people and frustrated if things weren’t going my way. I was very much living my story. I’ve been challenging myself lately to love people better. When someone does something incredibly irritating, I try to take a step back and remind myself what unique qualities they possess. I try to remind myself how they are incredibly loved by the same God who loves me. And with this realization, I try to practice being kind to people in the midst of the frustrating moments. It’s hard, and I am no where near being good at it, but I am trying. I am trying because I know we are all important and valued characters in the greatest Story ever told.
This Story is being told right before our very eyes. We are in the midst of it. We are in the midst of one of the most adventurous, heartbreaking, and triumphant Stories ever told. We are in the midst of the Story that all other stories stem from.
I encourage you to always remember that the role you play in this Story is never gone unnoticed. It is never labeled unimportant. And if you’re a visual person like me, picture the Author sitting at His writing desk. Picture Him with His cup of coffee in His hands, His pen and paper sprawled out before Him. Picture Him being thoughtful and intentional in the way He builds His plot. Picture Him smiling when He comes across the character that is you.
You are very very loved. And the people around you are, too. We all share incredible and unique stories, but what makes those stories even better is the fact that we are all part of The Story together.
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” – Psalm 147:4, NIV