The Fingerprint of your Story

Reflection on: Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel – Chapter 7

“Consider how precious a heart must be, if both God and the devil are after it.” Charles Spurgeon

“Our life is a story.  A rather long and complicated story that has unfolded over time.  There are many scenes, large and small, and many “firsts.”  Your first step; your first word; your first day of school.  There was your first best friend….your first kiss, your first heartbreak.  If you stop and think of it, your heart has lived through quite a story thus far.  And over the course of that story your heart has learned many things.  Some of what you learned is true; much of it is not.” 

Our story begins with a young girl.  The scene is set in a perfectly cookie-cutter Christian household.  Two brothers, and a family dog.  Loving parents with stable jobs, and enough resources to be considered “affluent” even by Southern California standards.  She attends Sunday school, VBS, and all of the camps.  Her mom attends BSF and virtually, all the right boxes are checked. 

And then, the bottom drops out.  Her parents turn to drugs, the money runs out, and the once-happy family begins to unravel.  Violence and distance alternate, becoming the norm.  School is her safe place.  But it is the 1990’s and no one really notices the signs of abuse.

It is upon this most unexpected background, that God has painted the beautiful life of my friend.  She is resilient, loving, gracious, wise and still has her sense of humor intact.  I am blessed to call her my friend.  And it was her wisdom that I was after on this particular day.  You see, I had seen God doing some incredible things with her life.  Reaching other people for Christ with her story.  Lending an authenticity to the rescuing work of the gospel that was so vivid and real to them.  I should have just been ecstatic for the kingdom work that was being accomplished.  But I was…..jealous. 

I didn’t have a story like that to tell.  Maybe that meant I was ill-equipped.  Insecurities started to swarm in.  Maybe God couldn’t use me because I didn’t have a radical enough story.  Our stories started the same….but luckily for me, stability continued.  But maybe that meant there was no reason to believe that God had really changed me, and that He could really use me. 

I am glad that at least I recognized the jealousy for what it was and decided to attack it head on.  I have been trying to use the counter-intuitive approach of running directly at, instead of away from, the battles I’ve chosen to fight.  So here I am, pouring my heart out to her.  Knowing very well she could accuse me of having it so much easier than her, or not understanding, or any endless list of truthful (but unhelpful) facts. 

But she was wise and gracious.  And she reminded me that we ALL have our own unique story that God is writing with our lives. 

God never lacks for creativity.  Whenever I hear someone starting down the path of saying that God has called them to this particular cause and that is what all Christians should do, or “this is how God worked in my life, so it’s how He’ll show up in yours,” I want to say, TIME OUT!  How ridiculous would it be if Noah assumed God wanted everyone to build an ark?  If Daniel assumed everyone would be thrown in a lion’s den?  If Rebekah told all women they should marry men they’d never met?  It would be crazy.  And for good reason.  God’s plan for your life is UNIQUELY yours.  Like a fingerprint.  You have a part of God’s glory to reveal, and like Eldredge in this chapter, sometimes we’ve found it safer to hold back. 

But He will find a way – usually many ways – to get through to you.  At this point in my life, I am very grateful for my friends that can lovingly challenge me.  It might not be easy to handle in the moment, but God has used them to erase insecurities and encourage me and with His help, I pray I do the same for them. 

So don’t be ashamed of your story – it is one the world needs.  It may be radical right from the beginning, or it may be a story of God quietly working on your heart through the years.  But it is a story that someone is waiting to hear.   

- Bekah Arias