“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you’re living.”
The last time I checked it was up to 61 likes! It’s not as if it’s “going viral” or anything, but 61 people stopped scrolling through Facebook and responded to the image that I posted a couple of days ago!
I wonder why that is?
I wonder why I decided to post it in the first place?
Maybe whatever resonated with me, resonated with you as well?
I did some digging and found that the quote originated on a Finding Joy podcast created by American writer Rachel Marie-Martin. Rachel climbed out of $65,000 of debt after her divorce, as a single mum of seven children (yep, that’s seven children!!!) When interviewed on the Today Show, Rachel talked of the importance of being brave, taking off the mask, and facing the reality of our story.
The picture of what we thought life would be is often the one we try to present to the world. It’s the one where we get the job, lose the weight, have the perfect marriage, and raise well adjusted, polite children. That’s probably the story I would have predicted had you asked me when I was sixteen. My story didn’t quite turn out like that!
How about you?
How does your story differ from the one you created in your teens?
The past couple of years have been about bravely owning my story. I still wince a little when I see my own storyline and think about the mistakes I've made and the difficulties I've faced. I struggle that it’s taken me five years to find direction for my company after leaving a teaching career that was my everything. It's not the perfect fairytale ending I was hoping for, but it’s my unique story. More and more I find that God uses its uniqueness to help others feel less alone in their chaotic narratives. My story isn’t what I thought it would be but as I walk into middle age, I feel more comfortable with its twists and turns. I’m not sure I’d be the person I am today without them!
For many of us, 2020 has been yet another unexpected plot twist. Between us, we’ve experienced the loss of loved ones, financial insecurity, changes in our personal freedoms, and recognised first-hand how fragile our stories can be. Strangely my bumpy road prepared me for 2020. Life is so different to what I expected that I’m less scared of uncertainty these days. I’ve seen God rewrite sections of my story and turn them into something I never expected, something better.
It’s the joy part that is still challenging for me and that’s probably why I posted the picture that struck a chord with so many of you.
As we move into 2021, uncertain what our plotline will be, let's be brave, face the reality of our current situation, and find joy in the story we’re living.
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
Kay Warren, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough