I've had some time to think this weekend about several different things, and I kept coming back to this concept of story; to me it makes a lot of sense and helps me look at things a little clearer.
I find it interesting how much of the Bible really is written in story form. It makes me wonder if many of them are in there not only to learn from, but also because there is almost always someone we can find to identify our self with. Even when Christ taught, many of his parables gave us someone or something that we could identify with.
Which again brings me to the point of how important our story really can be; not only that, but how important it is to continue to live that story.
Many times we reach the point of making the decision to all out follow Christ, but we soon forget what all that entails. We go along for a while trying to do right, trying to be different, trying to grow in our walk, but it seems so hard. One of the biggest challenges is realizing that most often you HAVE to change who you hang out with. Friends are often the biggest influences in our every day life and are often the reason we can get out of that rut that keeps us so trapped.
Leaving friends behind and working on developing your story can be one of the hardest things you ever have to do. Especially, if you are so used to doing so much with them. They don't always 'get' your change in heart and focus (especially at first) and can really hinder your walk by keeping you from being part of a better story.
I'm not saying we can't be a witness to those friends, but rather, we need to remove our self from those circumstances, those friends so that we have room for the friends God wants us to have in our lives that can help us with our story and our walk.
I have a couple friends that I would love to have them meet each other. Both come from broken homes where their parents split when they were early in their teen years (most crucial point of development). Both have turned to drugs, sex, alcohol, and bad friends for validation for who they are. The differences are one is about 3 years older than the other, and has overcome many of the obstacles she had to deal with. She has started writing a better story for herself.
I want them to meet because it is through these shared experiences that they could share their stories with each other and the one who overcame could really be a great tool and witness to the one who is still stuck. I have mentioned it before, but its often our hardest trials and our failures that God will use to reach other people and help them get out of the bad story they are in.
They key to all this though, is continuing to be a part of a good story. It is so easy to be influenced by those who you are wanting to be a witness to. Stepping back into their arena is often a tool used by Satan to tempt you to take steps back into your old story.
I am amazed at the difference I see in a friend's life, but sit watching and praying that God will show her an area in her life that could really hinder her from being able to witness. We have talked about judging Christians and Non-Christians in our Connection Class (our version of Sunday School) several different times recently and so here I sit trying to decide if I have the relationship I need to lovingly help someone with her story and making sure she continues to write her story according to how God wants to see her story written.
For me it is all just a reminder than our story isn't over when we give our lives over to God. It's a story that must be continued only we have to let Him drive the pen and say, "Not my will, but yours be done" when it comes to our lives. For so many, it's "I give it to you, but I want to keep making the decisions and keep writing my story....after all....its mine." That's not the story God want's for us. He has a bigger story for us, it's up to us to follow where He leads.
Not trying to steal thoughts here, but the idea of "story" came from Donald Miller and I have to give him credit for it. It has really helped me grasp a few things in my life, and I believe it is a great illustration for how important our lives really are.