I found this on my computer today, and thought I would share it. I haven’t written in a while, and this seems to sum up where I am in my life right now. I am struggling to live more honestly in my story and take risks with the people God has placed in my life. I wrote this a little over a year ago, and it was amazing to read, because it is still the journey I am on. I think it will always be the journey that I am on….to LIVE my story well.
Ever since I was a child I loved writing. When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Actually, I wanted to be a song writer. I was in a band and everything.
I have always been enamored with the way that music can reach a part of my soul that no other form of art can. A great book can stir something deep inside me. An amazing piece of art can lead me to a deeper understanding of beauty. But when I hear a great song, it doesn’t just stir me. A great song can awaken a part of my soul that I didn’t even know needed to be awakened. There is something about the marriage of words and music that brings life. I wanted to bring that life to other people.
So, I wrote songs. I even performed the songs I wrote throughout college and seminary. But, they were never the songs that brought life. They stirred little and awakened less.
After college I entered seminary to pursue a masters degree. I knew that I was called to ministry, and in pursuit of that calling, I stopped writing. I don’t mean that I stopped writing all together. I wrote plenty of papers, essays, proposals, outlines, book reviews, and bible studies, but I pushed aside that desire I had to awaken people with words for a higher calling. I left the joy music. I left the rhythm of poetry. I left the beauty of prose. I pushed it aside for study.
I left my story for what I thought would be a greater story. I abandoned my true calling to follow what I thought I could be passionate about. I began to pursue ministry instead of pursuing my place in the greater story. I pursued my calling instead of the One who had called me.
All of us have a desire inside of us to tell a story. Some of us are better at it than others, but we all tell a story nonetheless. All of us have a longing to be part of a greater story, and epic. And, we are.
One of my favorite works of literature is J.R.R Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. There is an epic battle scene in The Two Towers at the battle of Helm’s Deep. The men of middle earth have fought all night long against an army of 10,000. The battle is almost lost as they have been forced to retreat into the inner parts of the fortress. As the day begins to break, Aragon and King Theoden decide that if they are going to lose the battle, they will lose it fighting to the death. They decide to ride out and meet the enemy head on. As they do, the sun begins to rise over the eastern hills, and at the top of the hill is Gandalf, the white wizard. He and a great army of men descend the hill straight into the battle, and the battle turns. Gandalf and the army of men turn the tide and defeat the enemy.
In the movie, this scene is amazing because as Gandalf and the army of men descend the hill, swords raised at the enemy, the camera pans out and all that can be seen is light coming down and clashing with the darkness of the enemy. It is an epic battle. It is an epic story of good and evil. We are left on the edge of our seats until the very end, wondering if the evil will win, wondering if men can overcome such great darkness, wondering if Frodo will destroy the ring before it destroys him.
Stories like this resonate within us because we are part of an epic. We live in the tension of good and evil. We sit on the edge of our seats in our own life, wondering if evil will undo us, if men really can overcome.
Our story is different though. Our story has an advantage over every other story told. We don’t just have a wizard entering in to rescue us in the battle, we have God who chose to enter into the battle himself and rescue us from the enemy. He is the light clashing with the darkness. And, He turned the epic story into a sure victory.
All of us have a part to play in this story. Right here. Right now.
I find that I am asking myself what my part is in the story, and am I living it? Am I truly living out my part of the story, and am I doing it well?
I often wonder what the first thing God will say to me when I get to heaven. I’m pretty sure that He will have to speak first, because I won’t be able to formulate words.
I want him to say, “Amy, I’m so proud of you. You did such a good job with what I gave you to do on earth. You loved others and served well. And, I think you are beautiful.”
But, I’m afraid it will play out a little more like this… “Amy, I had so much for you, and even though you were always obedient, you were never able to truly experience me because you were too busy trying to do things right. All I ever really wanted was for you to know me. Instead of living out what the passions and gifts I placed inside of you, you played the part you thought I would want you to play. I just needed you to be yourself.”
Just writing that breaks my heart.
What story are you living? What churns deep inside of you that no amount of civilization can numb? This is the story we are called to live out. This is the passion that has been given to us for a purpose. A purpose in our story. A purpose in His story.
I am praying that God will give me the strength to stop playing a part and start live my story…to love myself well so I can love others well…to stop doing so much, take a breath, and be still.