Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 Days of Inviting the Uninvited: The Middle Redux and Story

I taught tennis lessons in my teens and then through college, and one summer there was a litte girl named Story in one of my classes. I thought this was amazing and I had a few thoughts: a) how can I steal the name and add it to my name somehow {Julie Marie Elizabeth Story ?? YES!} b) maybe I could tuck the name away and use it in a part of my own child's name someday. I asked around a bit and the consensus was it sounded more like a last name than a first or middle name. So, I needed to search the globe looking for a person whose last name was Story and marry him? That could be hard and very tiring.
*Note to self: don't listen to the consensus when choosing names.

Anyway, the point of this is that I never actually found out why the girl had this name, but a lover of all things story and story-telling, I thought there was still a sense of beauty to it.

If you're a creative dreamer like me, when you invent and/or write stories, you can see how you are bigger than those made-up stories. I remember when I was young, I had a habit of not finishing stories. I would leave characters hanging all the time! I don't remember the exact details without them in front of me, but I had kids who would get into trouble by falling in a creek, and I never resolved it. Another time I wrote a story with a family that moved away, and that's where it ended.

Would anyone prefer half-stories, unfinished pieces and stories that don't go the way you intend?

Thankfully, God doesn't leave us with just pieces. Even when it looks like the story ends,  ask yourself if you aren't just in the middle of one of God's bigger stories.

I'm not sure if that brings you comfort or not. I'm speaking from experience that you can be in the middle of a story, and sometimes it's difficult to see the larger story at play. Last year, I wrote entirely on this sort of strange concept called The Middle Space. This year, I'm writing about Inviting in Uninvited Places. I guess I like ambiguous, life-in-the-middle kind of themes.

I love the book A Praying Life by David Powlison. It talks a little bit about living life when you feel you're without a story or one you'd rather write differently. He writes, "Living in our Father's story means living in tension. After all, tension and overwhelming obstacles make for a good story!" Then he talks about prayer and it's not removed from the rest of life: the waiting, thankfulness, repenting, suffering.

"When story isn't going your way, ask yourself, what is God doing?"

Can you see His hand? Can you see His artistry at work? One thing I've come to recognize is that "every good gift comes from above" (James 1:17) and the reason I yearn for and can appreciate stories so much in life is because of the best Storyteller.

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