“That’s not my story.”
I was immediately intrigued when I read those words. They were from a very brief inspirational blurb written by a faith-based singer I subscribe to, JJ Heller. It was something that was already spinning new thoughts for me.
Her idea was simple but straightforward: we each have our own unique story. It’s something entirely individual to us, and what God has planned for us within His kingdom. Sometimes, it’s quite easy to look at the story God has given someone else, and compare our own to it. Really though, that’s not an appropriate or accurate comparison at all, since God has designed specific purposes for us all to fulfill!
I just love that kind of reminder! Remembering that since the beginning of time, God has had something for us that is totally outside of and better than what we or others have thought of for us – more than what others and ourselves have expected for us. He is writing a story for each of us, and it’s not going to be like anyone else’s.
She finished with how, when comparison starts creeping up on her, she likes to remind herself that, “That’s not my story.”
Things like that help to break apart jealousy and allow freedom for us to rejoice alongside others in the success and joy of their story – someone else’s story.
Isn’t it funny how that often works? How often God has designed life to operate like that: that after we focus outside ourselves, enacting our gentleness, kindness, patience, love, joy, self-control, goodness, peace, and faithfulness, only then does freedom and joy continue to flow. Have you noticed that? That when we give of ourselves, joy and purpose often follows? And then, more of our story starts spinning along? I’ve noticed that, as frustrating as it can be at times. That things start moving in our life when we volunteer, or do that favour for someone who really needs it, or fix our attitude so that it doesn’t drag the people around us down, or choose to smile with pure grace when someone else is gifted with something or someone we desperately yearned for.
When we choose to override our sinful default of comparison and make the hard choices to live past that, God honours that. He knows. And you can trust in knowing that even when it seems like your story isn’t going anywhere right now, it is. God’s got it. He’s moving it along, even when we can’t see it, or feel it.
In those times when we get so dissatisfied with our own stories, drowning in feelings of comparison, wondering hopelessly when our story is going to get roaring, we need to shake our head and speak strongly:
“That’s not my story, and that’s okay. God is writing my story, and it’s not going to be like anyone else’s. I choose to fill my story with joy [or your choice of the fruits of the Spirit] and take out all comparison. I choose to focus it back on God, who I know will fill it so full I can’t remember what I ever thought was missing. He’s made it, He’s writing it right now, and He will continue it, so I know it’s good!”
If you need to, yell that out! You might be surprised what that extra “oomph” might do to it.
Everything God calls us to outside of ourself is greater than whatever comfortable mess we may have spinning within us. We can choose to trust the story He has for us and step beyond our own self, rejoicing together in all the stories He’s placed around us. I think that’s an absolutely wonderful thing.
Psalm 138:16 (NLT)
“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
And so I write to you, “What a Wonderful World!”