Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Is God's Story in You?




I still remember the time what’s-her-name leaned over and whispered “Sure is a lot of pressure being last” as I rose from my seat to conclude the annual piano recital. I was 12-years-old and had the coveted gets-to-go-at-the-end spot. The whisperer usually went last. Probably she deserved to go last that year, too. She was a zealous student and a fine pianist; I was neither. But for whatever reason, there I was in the spotlight... having just been pinged by a bomb. I was so rattled I got up there under the hot stage lights, tapped out a few notes, then went blank as a corrupted hard drive. Must have been pretty traumatic because I’m still thinking about it. (Hmmm... maybe I do need to go hear MN talk about forgiveness this weekend?) Few weeks later, I had a speech contest. I was in a public school system giving my first "sermon." Got to the part about the Golden Rule and forgot what exactly it was that Jesus said. I still remember the look of mortification on Mrs. Romney’s face as I stood there looking like a stuffed wombat.

All this to say: I have suffered from stage fright for most of my life. My final years in the corporate world were almost untenable as speaking opportunities started coming and wouldn’t go away. Driving home the day I ended my workforce career, I thought, "Well, Woohoo! I’ll never have to speak again as long as I live!

There were a few years of respite. Then came the book. Then came the cancer. Then came the speaking opportunities. I’m thinking Jamey’s church was one of the first events some years ago. Nice group of ladies, but I was just sure I was going to die. God grabbed the wheel that morning and, turns out, I didn’t die. Every time I spoke subsequent to that, I felt I had precedent for speaking and not dying. Mercifully, God continued to show up.

I talked to a small group at DTS yesterday. I only had a few minutes to speak, so I had to be very purposeful with my remarks. I took the heart of a longer presentation I’ve given and whacked it down to core essentials. And what struck me yesterday as I was driving home was how passionate I felt when I was talking. How happy I was to be there, despite some "nerves" leading up to it. Memories of what’s-her-name and the forgotten Golden Rule and the corporate hot seat couldn’t suppress the truth or steal the joy. Because it wasn’t Sarah’s story yesterday. It’s was God’s story in Sarah’s life. Dr. Kreider was there and that’s what he prayed for.

I have a heart-changing suggestion for you today and it is this: Many of you have been asked to “tell your story” or “share your testimony.” I would urge you to take what you have written and re-visit it. Analyze it. What role do you play in your story? What role does God play in your story? Are you the lead actor? Or is God the lead actor?

When I approach my own story from this perspective, things change dramatically. I can try and catch a glimmer of what my obstacles or suffering look like from God’s perspective. Instead of saying, “If only we’d caught the cancer earlier, I would have been spared the radiation and the chemo and the blah, blah, blah,” I can say, “Wow! God got us through all of that. And we're stronger today. And He did amazing things, like… !”

Bottom line: Our human perspective on life's events lacks the dimensions of what God sees and knows. Oftentimes, there is a "silver lining" in our walk through the valleys (though it is sometimes hard to find at the time). There can also be leap-step spiritual growth on the other end of life's struggles... as we seek and lean on God.

Question: What is God’s story in your life?

(Very cool award-winning photo by Luis Montemayor used with permission. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/luismontemayor/336063971/ for more pics.)

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