“So you see, we are a dot, living on a dot, spinning around a dot, positioned within a dot that is one of hundreds of billions of dots within the universe…”
This was the how the Sunday morning message began.
I sat listening to Dr. James Peterson, Schumann Professor of Christian Ethics at Roanoke College (and member of our church), trying to visualize dots within dots. I kept creating the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt, then erasing these patterns from my mind’s whiteboard as I knew that wasn’t the visual he was describing. What Dr. Peterson was trying to get his listeners to comprehend is that we—individual humans–aren’t even the size of a piece of lint on a carpet of Buckingham Palace.
And yet, God came and dwelt among us.
God— the One who made the dots. Who even decorated the dots with light and shadows, green and orange, dinosaurs and caterpillars.
And then He created man in His own image. In the image of God He created them.
What a story—God’s story, I mean. That was really the heart of Sunday’s message. We dots are a part of God’s story. In fact, we are the reason He wrote the story. But so often we live as though the story is ours—we are the authors and main characters; God is simply supporting cast.
I confess. I am so very, very guilty of living life as though I am writer, director, producer, and main character in a story I’ve deemed all my own—a regular old Mel Gibson or Clint Eastwood, if you will. I don’t even realize my self-proclaimed glory-status until I take a rare step back and look at the heart of my complaints, concerns, anger triggers, and fears.
It’s an easy slide. And, quite frankly, the world screams my life is all about me anyway, so my starring role is easily justified—nurtured even (iPhone, iTunes, iTouch—can I get an Amen?!).
But it isn’t just “in the world.” Sometimes I wonder if the ad nauseam of Christian help literature and pop-church culture adds to the “living my story” complex—and I say this as a writer within the Christian literature culture. Understanding my gifts, serving God with my talents, finding my fit within the body of Christ. Even Sunday mornings can often focus on having an experience; an idea that by its very nature is a me centered activity.
But to live the moments as though I am a part of God’s story, and not the other way around—there’s a thought. How would this thinking shift my attitude towards…well…everything? How would it affect my decision-making process? How would it influence the intentionality of my relationships? How would it temper my easily inflamed emotions?
The funny coincidence about Sunday’s message is early that morning in the only quiet hours of my day I finally sketched out some goals for 2014 in my journal. I had been avoiding the whole thing, maybe secretly trying to halt the advent of another year—still not fully settled with this new season of life, not loving the storyline of 2014 as I have it written thus far.
But then, hearing this idea of entering into God’s Story in 2014 rather than continue fighting to redeem my own flawed character and her many strained plots, I began imagining a year of fitting in and flowing inside a story I don’t even need to write. What would it be like if I didn’t have to work so hard to tell my story? How much less strained would my day-to-day be if it didn’t have to be about me? What if my story wasn’t even the right story to tell?
Later on Sunday, I picked up my journal and revisited my early morning goal-scribblings, certain I would be slashing through them all and writing different goals that fostered this new insight of God’s story. But, as I read through each one with a “God’s story” point-of-view–me in the 3rd person, God as author, perfect editor, and publisher (or writer/director/producer to think in motion picture terms)–I realized the list didn’t need changing. Only my perspective…like a prism being held up to the light and turned at just the right angle producing the perfect burst of light and color.
2014 isn’t my story; it’s His Story, and that is a very good thing.
Cheers to a Year of living and telling His Story!
Talk to me! How are you feeling about 2014?