If you held the pen, how would you write your story? Urged into owning and telling your story by popular culture today, may excite feelings of regret or shame. Conversely, slipping into a bit of pride over achievements may unleash a one-dimensional exposé.
Whether we choose telling our story or simply holding it, our perspective on its value determines whether we truly own it.
Like most people, my story includes chapters which I insisted on writing, yet once finished, became sources of deep suffering. While other chapters of equal suffering held redemptive value.
The difference between the two rests in who holds the pen.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
If I Held the Pen
Realizing as a Christian, God authors my story seldom quenches the desire to remove or alter painful events or those I deem purposeless.
Though our stories may hold broken and painful chapters, they are never without redemptive value when penned by God.
Yet, who can help shifting into editing mode when reading biblical accounts like the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers? (Genesis 37:18-36) I wonder if during the long years of isolation Joseph ever wished to edit this little scenario out of his story.
Or maybe the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26) wished more than anything her shameful past had long been stricken from her story.
And we can easily imagine David’s desire to edit out his adultery with Bathsheba, not to mention the murder of her husband. (2 Samuel 11:1-27)
Missing the Rest of the Story
But a rash edit of these painful events would have prevented the magnificent redemption stories which shine forth in Joseph’s preservation of his family, which ultimately was the nation of Israel.
The Samaritan woman’s meeting the Messiah and sharing Him with the entire town, and God’s establishing the Throne of the Kingdom through the line of David, beginning with the son born of his eventual marriage to Bathsheba.
Not to mention the purchase of the actual Temple Mount and building of the first Temple administrated by King Solomon.
Perhaps in the same way the stories of these bible characters illustrate a greater story told within their own, the painful parts of our own stories portend an ending only God can pen.
“If you want a happy ending, that depends of course on where you stop your story”
Who Holds the Pen?
A most inconvenient truth for most is, God holds the pen which writes our stories. Yet in our dissatisfaction with His storyline, assuming the editor role, we hastily delete the offending parts.
Equally rash, (and decidedly more foolish), we presume to rewrite better scenarios more to our liking.
“Hold the Pen” is a literary term implying ownership of the narrative.
Despite editing, the person holding the pen retains ownership and ultimate authority in the outcome.
Though God suffers my edits, the times I held the pen, demonstrated my lack of understanding His vision for the complete story.
But relinquishing the pen into His sovereign hand requires a level of trust in the outcome which fear keeps us from attaining.
Relinquishing the Pen
Though we may continue struggling with who exactly holds the pen, we can learn to rest our story in the sovereign hands of the God whose unfailing love secures only the best for His children.
Remembering these three truths when tempted to wrest the pen from God’s hand will help you embrace your story both now and in its future fulfillment.
- Stay Present. Avoid ruminating on the past or fearing the future. Stay connected to God in the present moment. Nurturing your relationship right now, builds intimacy and confidence in His working in your life, past, present, and future.
- Stay Prayerful. Seek repentance for sin, grace for weakness, and comfort for suffering. Every painful chapter of your story is sourced in your own sin, weakness, and neglect, or God’s choice of a hard place for you. Remaining prayerful not only strengthens your heart, but positions you for redemption.
- Stay Peaceful. Guard your peace by resting every concern in God’s hands. Avoid the temptation of self-focus. When your focus shifts to you, worry, guilt, and shame soon overwhelm you. Your peace rests in trusting God’s goodness in each chapter of your story.
Think of a specific event from your story which if given the opportunity, you would edit entirely from your past. Then using the three truths above, spend some time viewing it from a perspective of redemption, personal and spiritual growth, and conformity to the image of Christ.
If You Held the Pen
If you held the pen, your story might have the fairy tale ending you envision. Forfeiting resilience, hope, and strong character, along with personal and spiritual growth would leave your story but a sterile representation of the truth.
Loss of a deeply intimate relationship with Christ yielding unshakable faith is by far the greatest cost of a self-penned story.
Rather than cringe or crumble in shame or frustration with the difficult and painful parts of your story, relinquish them to the One who allowed His story to include the same hard paths, ultimately to redeem yours.
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