Monday, July 23, 2012

Living Our Story (one chapter at a time)

Since reading Donald Miller's A Million Miles in A Thousand Years earlier this Summer, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the concept of 'story' as it relates to our lives. Maybe it is just the writer in me, but I have long loved the metaphor of 'story' because it acknowledges an author, character development, plot turns and the fact that when we think we have met an end, we are frequently merely closing a chapter with pages remaining to be turned.

I am also intrigued and motivated by the challenge of what kind of story I am living--and what type of story I am inviting my children to join. In his book, Donald Miller defines story many different ways, but I particularly enjoyed this point:

“A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important.” ― Donald Miller
What is my story? What is it communicating about what is most important to me? I have been particularly pensive about my parenting story--primarily because THAT is the story that seems to most frequently stress me out.

After last week's 'weary' post, my gem of a husband swept me away from home for 18 hours in Atlanta full of my favorite things...good food, a pedicure, time with him, sleeping in and Buckhead Church. The beauty of stepping away for rest is the perspective it allows. I had an opportunity to evaluate why this chapter of parenting was suddenly overwhelming me.

As I thought and prayed and discussed with my man...I realized I am trying to accomplish too many things as a Mama. The aggressive overachiever in me is rearing its ugly head. As a result, I have unrealistic goals for myself. I have taken the 18 year parenting curriculum and tried to cram it into too small of a period of time. It's not fair to my family or to me. At any given moment I am trying to teach my people a dozen different things. I fear at this rate I am going to henpeck them to death!

I have been sensing God reminding me to boil it down to a few very important things that all the rest can hinge on. Honestly, I am still praying through all of it...trying to get clarity and peace about what 'the few main things' are for this age, these kids and our family. I am also asking God to deal with the nagging voice in my head that is taunting me with accusations of being a quitter, getting soft and/or aiming too low.

The reality is that GOD, not me, is writing my children's story (and by extension, mine). I cannot and will not be the one to address every spiritual, moral, character issue in my children's lives. He will bring community around them as they grow and use experiences to bring about the growth He has in mind. Their childhood will be the foundation, but the process will take a lifetime.

I most definitely have a significant role...but I need to play THAT role...not trip myself up trying to play all of them. It is far more important that I handle my assignment with obedience and excellence than it is that I muddy the waters trying to do things I was never designed to do.

I am also realizing that my role is specific to the story God has written for me and the children and husband I share life with. I cannot look around at others and think that their 'main things' with their kids are necessarily the same as mine. I have got to fight the temptation to ask what is 'normal' and/or how we are doing compared to others. When I need a guidepost, I am to look to our Father, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

Comparison is indeed the thief of all joy. Praise God our stories are all different!

"Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale." - Frank McCourt

Confronting this has been simultaneously freeing and humbling. It takes courage, sticking close to the Lord for guidance, and a new resolve.

I believe what is at stake is worth it.  

1 comment:

Miss G said...

This is an excellent post! I came over from Christian's blog Modobject at Home.

Yes! Our role is specific to our own children, husband and family and God needs to be writing it not me trying to overachieve. I relate to so, so much of this and I am saving this post as I think I will probably need a reminder from time to time as my first child is only 2 and we are definitely at the beginning stages of this 18 year parenting curriculum. (Good analogy!) Kelly