“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII William Shakespeare
Have you ever thought of the life that you’re living, as a story, a story worthy of attention? Imagine if you will, that I tell you the story of my day. I begin, of course, at the beginning where I would say, “I woke up,” in the middle, “I went to work,” and finally the climactic ending, “ I went to sleep.”
Is that an accurate depiction of my life’s story? After all, it does contain the steps necessary for the creation of a story. There’s the protagonist who in this case is me. But still, is this how a story unfolds? Is this how your life story rolls out before you, by the very act of waking up, which then leads to a progression of events? Well, technically yes, it contains what is widely believed to be the three elements necessary for a story to, well exist. It has a beginning, “I woke up,” a middle, “I went to work,” and of course an end, “ I went to sleep.” But is this alone what makes your life’s story a great story?
Well, I think we know that the answer is a resounding no, it’s not even close. Our life story contains much more than just a structure. The aforementioned story contains no crisis or struggles to break through, no revelation and in the end, no real change’s have taken place. Yes, it contains information that follows a chronological sequence of events, but that’s just a dry account that contains none of the essences of life that makes a story worthy of attention.
So allow me to ask you one simple question, do you believe that your life is a story worthy of attention?
My answer is YES. Your story is worthy because you are worthy. You have been made in the image of God, and on the day of your birth, He placed a pen in your hand and said: “write your story, liveyour story.” Still don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at the essential components that make a story, your story.
Introduction – The beginning of a story is the invitation where you invite the reader into your life. Here is where the mood and tone of the story are set. At this point, the formal introduction is made between you, the protagonist and the reader.This is the deciding point where the reader chooses to come in or move on.
Crisis – Like it or not, crisis is a key component of our lives and therefore a part of our stories. At the point of crisis, when your life is turned upside down, this is where your story starts to unravel and the reader has now come along for the ride
Struggle – When you have been thrown into crisis, as life often does, the protagonist, you, are forever changed. This is your tipping point where you take whatever steps to try and solve the struggle and return to life as it once was. The thing is that the crisis has in one way or another changed you forever. Take a piece of clay otherwise known as you and press it against the wheel. From that point on, the force of the potter’s hand changes the clay from the form it once had and it will never be the same after. You can try to go back to life as it once was, but you will fail because life as it once was no longer exists and a new adventure awaits.
Revelation – At the previous stage we saw how the potters hand changes the form of the clay, but remember the clay is still the same, only its form has changed. At the revelation stage, the protagonist makes a discovery about their life. These lessons learned in the storm can now shape the direction that the story will go. Often these revelations will come in the form of life lessons, a trusted mentor or a combination of both. You either learn to conquer the storm or the storm will conquer you, it’s your choice.
Change – Have you ever witnessed the miracle of the common caterpillar as it is transformed into a beautiful butterfly. But that transformation didn’t come easy. Within the chrysalis, there is a great struggle going on, in fact, without the struggle there would be no butterfly, but struggle or no struggle, it will never be a caterpillar again. So it is with all of us and our stories. If we never experience the heartbreak of loss, the pain of rejection or even unspeakable joy, our lives will become stagnant and boring. But if we embrace our joys and our pains, we will experience new life. The change is the unfolding of the resolution of the crisis and the work it has accomplished in our lives. So without change, there is no climax in our story.
So let’s take a look and see if our life stories are stories worthy of attention.
Introduction – Ultimately, that’s up to you. Do you make the introduction for others to partake of your life and you of theirs or does the door remain closed. I would say that the act of closing the door is a story in itself. What brought our protagonist to the point of shutting out the world around them. Mother Teresa was once asked the question, of all the wrong of poverty that she has witnessed, what is the worst of the worst. Her answer was simple but profound – loneliness.
Crisis – Do I need to go on?
Struggle – With crisis comes struggle. All of us at one point or another in our lives, however worthy we view them to have been, they have had an element of struggle within. Be that when you took your first step, the first day of school or the heartbreak of losing a loved one, all came with an element of struggle.
Revelation – With struggle comes revelation. I remember when I was in basic training there was a time for me when I hit the wall, I reached the limits of what I was capable. But with the exterior pressure of drill instructors, I was able to move beyond these perceived capabilities many times over. Let’s face it, we often learn the most when the most is at stake.
Change – With revelation comes change. When revelation smacks us upside the head, there is a decision to make and whatever the decision, it will result in change.
We all have allowed someone else into our lives. We have faced insurmountable odds in our lives and one way or another we overcame. As sojourners, we have learned how to live and even thrive if necessary within the storm. I have come to realize that there are some lessons in life that can only be learned as we go through the desert first. Finally, the wisdom we have gained by moving forward has changed us one way or another.
Still uncertain if your story is worthy of attention. Let’s consider the wisdom of Samwise Gamgee.
“We shouldn’t be here at all if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for because they wanted them because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seems to have been just landed in them, usually — their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on — and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it calls a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same — like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”
What type of story has any of us fallen into? Is it a tragedy, a drama, maybe a comedy or perhaps even a fantasy, who knows? But one thing is sure, it’s your story. And that drama or tragedy that your story is, well that’s not the end of the story, it’s just a chapter. You have been given that story writers pen from page one and with God, you get to write this story to the last page. Has someone else stolen your pen, stolen your hope; if so, as one who has had my story rearranged by others in such a way that I’ve had to do many a rewrite, I am truly sorry and my heart aches for you. But, there is good news. That pen we spoke of, it’s still yours. Take it from a wrestler, I have had to wrestle my pen from the hand of the Devil himself and with God’s mercy and help, I am once again writing my story . With the help of Jesus, you can too, so go get that pen that is rightfully yours and go write that epic tale of yours. It is a worthy story, because you are worthy.