I’m on the final stretch of our journey out of exile.
When you are stuck in exile there comes a time when you need to “be the hero” of your story. A negative way to say this: stop playing the victim.
It doesn’t take any courage to be angry. It doesn’t take any skill to complain, gossip, cast blame, or feel sorry for yourself. Anyone can do that. But is that the story you want your life to tell?
Would you watch a movie for two hours about a person who suffered an injustice, then complained and felt sorry for himself the rest of the movie? Of course not! What makes a good story is when someone faces injustice with wisdom, courage, and grace. We call these people heroes. So why not be the hero of your own story?
Healthy stories challenge us to be active characters, not passive victims or observers. John Trent
Being the hero requires a choice: a heroic choice. It means stepping up and saying, I’m not going to let my past control me anymore. I’m going to take responsibility for what’s happened to me and move on with my life.
Heroic choices free you from getting stuck in exile and open your life up to new possibilities. They make your story compelling. Engaging. I like what John Trent says about the power good choices have on your life:
Healthy stories challenge us to be active characters, not passive victims or observers. Both the present and the future are determined by choices, and choice is the essence of character. If we see ourselves as active characters in our own stories, we can exercise our human freedom to choose a present and future for ourselves and for those we love that give life meaning. Choosing to Live the Blessing.
Trent makes the case we should be proactive in choosing our future and not let our future simply happen to us. He builds on this idea of choice when he says:
We can curse the past like victims of circumstance, or we can bless it like victors over our circumstances. It’s up to us. It’s our choice. In some of the strongest and most compelling stories, the main character makes life-and-death choices. These choices give the story energy. They make the plot intriguing. They also change the character.
The character who doesn’t make choices is weak and passive. So if we want our lives to tell strong and compelling stories in which the characters grow into people of blessing, then we – the characters – have to make choices. Choices that are sometimes difficult. Choices that are sometimes painful. Choices that are sometimes critical, where something important is at stake.
If you think of the movies that touch you, they most often reach a moment of decision for the protagonist. In the beginning of the story she struggles with a problem, but there is a “make or break” moment. Against all odds she decides to take a risk and do the right thing.
The risk adds tension to the story because it adds a level of doubt. Can she do it? Will she regret her choice? In the end her choice pays off. You breathe a sigh of relief. Her choice enables her to overcome her struggle and become the hero. That’s a story you are willing to pay money to see.
Think of your life as a story half written. Half the book is full. You can’t do anything about those chapters. But the rest of your book has all blank pages. You determine how your story will end. What will you write?
Remember, the most compelling stories are turn-around stories…stories where a person was down for the count and made a comeback…even in the eleventh hour. So never give up on your story. (adapted from STUCK…how to mend and move on from broken relationships)
My question for you today is: are you making choices that will tell a good story?
It’s good to be back from the holiday break. I look forward to closing out the last seven days of this 40-day journey. Please take a minute to share your thoughts below. Thanks.