Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Story of You

Another January. The year 2012 is an empty notebook, the days waiting to be filled with the Story of You. This cooperative effort—co-authored by God and you—can unfold in various ways.

Perhaps you've already determined what your personal story will be, outlined it in detail, established goals to mark your progress, and asked God to assist you. If so, you may start with one idea only to discover circumstances or characters will drive you in a different direction, maybe even force you into places you'd prefer not to go and experiences you wish to avoid.

The Story of You may fill the pages of this year with heart-wrenching experience and deeper insight. You may even be taken to a place of complete dependence on God. It'll feel like a terrible place, but time will reveal that total dependence on God is the best real estate in the world and leads to an outflow of blessing.Noah couldn't steer the ark, he had to rely on God. Abraham couldn't force God's timing of the promised child Isaac. Joshua's victory at Jericho was God's doing not human effort.

Perhaps you are a timid, crossing the squares off the calendar while you wait for life to happen. The experiences you do have seem faded compared to the bright dream you foresee. Your prayers may grow into mantras of "Why not me, Lord?" The scriptural directive to rejoice with those who rejoice may taste bitter as others enter into your dreamland, leaving you behind.

You may demand an explanation, failing to see that God has been waiting on you to take a step of faith in the Story of You. David had to go out to meet Goliath. Mary had to say yes to God's plan for a virgin birth. Elijah had to pray, pray, pray for the raincloud that brought an end to the drought. Ruth had to bow to the instructions of her mother-in-law. To say no out of fear despite God's urgings can leave blank pages and gaps in the Story of You.

Chances are you fall somewhere between hurtling recklessly forward and frozen stiff. Whatever your approach to writing life, prayerfully ask God to give you a theme for this year's Story of You. Then stop long enough to hear His reply.

Having a theme for 2012 establishes a plumb-line for measuring your choices. Perhaps it's Relate More to Others or Be Gracious or Promptly Obey God's Directions. It may be Act on Every Writing Opportunity or even Mentor.

There will be a Story of You in 2012. 2013 will reveal in detail what it was. However, setting a theme now will unite all aspects of that story—spiritual, mental, physical, relational, ministerial, financial, professional, and recreational—into the greatest Story of You possible.

New Year's blessing on each of you ACFWers. My prayer is that you find a theme for the year and live it out. I've been doing this for a few years now. Anyone wanting to dialogue on it can email me. I'd love to help or encourage you.


  1. You are the second person so suggest this kind of non-goalsetting that takes in a bigger picture. It occurs to me...and I am addressing in my own blog...that a look at our lives in the context of God's plans does not lend itself to seeing a new year so much as a new beginning, but only as another step in a story begun long ago.

  2. Interesting point, Joanne. Our lives flow from moment to moment even though we may use the New Year to stop for reevaluation. May we each seek God in the moments...