What kind of story are you telling with your life?
Is it a story that you’re proud to tell, or is it a story that brings you shame? Do you feel that it’s too mundane to share or too painful? Perhaps you regret some of the chapters. Maybe you wish that you could change some of the characters or reverse some of your choices.
Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, shares these insightful words about storytelling:
In a story well told no sentence, no person is optional. Good storytellers make every sentence count. There are no throwaway lines. If I get a feel for that…I get the feeling that there are no throwaway lines in my life.
In the story of your life there is no moment and no person that is optional. God—the Author of your life—is making every moment and every person count. There are no throwaway lines and no throwaway characters! When surrendered to God, even your leadership failures, your broken relationships, and your doubts are moving your story forward to complete God’s purposes.
The Scripture that comes to mind to illustrate this idea is Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, prepared in advance for us to do.”
The Greek word for “handiwork” in this passage is poieo, the source of our English word for poem. But in this context, it means anything that is artistically composed or constructed: we are the clay carefully sculpted in God’s hands; we are the paintings artistically composed with God’s paintbrush; we are the stories handwritten with God’s pen.
The idea of humans being God’s handiwork is a theme that has its roots in Genesis, in the creation story. The first chapters of Genesis teach us that each of our lives have meaning because the Creator has breathed life into us and called us into being. We participate in God’s creative work through our very existence. Because we are God’s, every person counts.
We are also called to be imitators of our Creator by engaging in creative work. What does this looks like for you as a leader? Is it teaching? Writing? Designing? Programming? Whatever it is, when we do our work well, we are accomplishing the important work of imitating our Creator. When we pay attention to details, polish our work, and put forth our best efforts, we communicate to the people around us that every sentence, every number, and every pixel counts. God created order out of chaos and that is part of our mission too. Our work is not done in vain because God has prepared these works in advance for us to do. Our work has a greater purpose!
As you go forward today to complete the work that God has called you to do, I encourage you to do it excellently and to tell your story well, remembering that there are no throwaway lines because you are part of God’s story!