Do you ever wonder if God has dropped the pen and stopped writing your life story? You know, when your life doesn’t happen like you wanted or seems less important or interesting than someone else’s life, you can question what God is up to. My friend, author Ashleigh Slater knows exactly how that feels and that’s why I’ve asked her to join us for Java today.
So, if you, like me, battle the tendency and temptation to compare your story with others’ stories, you’ll really benefit from these three truths Ashleigh reminds us to be purposeful to tell ourselves. I just love this and I know you will too.
Pour your coffee and settle in. Take it away Ashleigh!
“No matter what happens today,” I gently reminded my two daughters, “God is writing your individual stories, and you can trust Him.”
Both girls were about to audition in New York City for the national tour of a Tony-Award winning musical. It was an audition we’d spent weeks preparing for—not only vocally, but also emotionally.
“What if one of you gets a role and the other doesn’t?” I’d asked before any plane tickets were bought or hotels booked. “Will you be okay if something like that happens?”
They each eagerly assured me that they would be.
But, to mentally prepare for a loss is not the same as to actually experience that loss.
One of my daughters was cut by mid-afternoon. Her dream of being cast in this particular show ended.
The other daughter went on to be offered a role, and to travel the country for eight months on tour.
As I navigated the tricky terrain of simultaneously mourning with one daughter while celebrating with the other, I focused their attention on this concept of life as a story and God as its Author. I encouraged them not to compare their experiences with one another, but to instead trust that God’s ultimate plan for each of them was good.
Yet, even though I confidently and regularly tell my daughters this, there are times when I struggle to believe it for myself. There are moments when I secretly reflect on my life and internally base its value on how it compares to that of others.
Is my story as good as theirs? Is it as exciting, or as meaningful?
What it boils down to is this: Do I really believe that God is good to me, or only to others?
Maybe you can relate. It could be that you too battle the tendency and temptation to compare your life with that of others. If that’s the case, here are three things I have to be purposeful to tell myself. Perhaps they’ll encourage you too.
1. Your Story is Unique
God hasn’t randomly drawn my name out of a hat and haphazardly assigned specific life events to me, even though it may feel like it at times.
Instead, He’s carefully crafting a unique life story not only for my daughters but for me too. The same is true for you and your life.
However, if you and I are too busy comparing our lives with that of a friend, family member, or even celebrity, we’re going to miss the unique purposes and opportunities He specifically has for us.
Comparison blinds us to the beauty of our individual stories.
2. Your Story is Penned with Hope
It’s much easier to believe my story is a good one when day-to-day life goes well. It’s harder when devastating loss hits or heartbreaking difficulty happens.
In the hard chapters of life, hope can seem non-existent. I can quickly feel like my entire story is one of despair and pointlessness. It could be you’ve felt the same way.
However, if you and I determine to believe that God is attentive and active in our lives, we can be reminded that our stories are always penned with hope.
What is this hope?
It’s that even in the darkest of moments, God promises to walk through the pain and grief with us. No matter how hard life gets, we are never alone.
If you and I determine to believe that God is attentive and active in our lives, we can be reminded that our stories are always penned with hope.
3. Your Story is Part of a Greater Narrative
My story isn’t an isolated tale. Neither is yours.
Instead, both are part of a greater narrative, one being told by God from the beginning of time. It’s the epic story of a loving Creator set on, as author N.D. Wilson writes, “slaying the dragon to save the girl.”
When we remember this, it can help keep our lives and the challenges we experience in perspective.
These unique stories of ours play a part in this centuries-long narrative that God is writing. That is no small thing.
It’s been over a year since the national tour one of my girls was on ended. Today, if you were to ask my other daughter, who wasn’t cast, how she feels, you might be surprised by her answer.
Sure, she’ll tell you how fun it would have been to tour. But she’ll also smile and recall in detail the fantastic plot twists God has penned in her life since that audition and how grateful she is for them.
Okay, this is Jennifer again … my mug is empty and my heart is full. What an encouragement, right? So, sister, go live your story today because God has penned your story with hope!
Thank You, Lord, for making every chapter, even the hard ones, purposeful and full of hope. Amen.
In the comments, let’s give a shout out to the Lord for the stories He’s writing in our lives.
Ashleigh Slater is the author of Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard and Team Us: The Unifying Power of Grace, Commitment, and Cooperation in Marriage. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Ted, and their four daughters. Connect with Ashleigh at AshleighSlater.com.