Have you ever thought about what it takes to create a great story? Think about your favorite books and/or movies. What were the characters like?
And what about the plot? Do you like a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat? One with a predictable, satisfying ending, or would you rather have your mouth drop in disbelief as the events unfold?
When thinking about my favorite stories – there are common themes: strong family bonds, a difficult test of adversity that the main character(s) overcome, all while experiencing a wide range of emotions – from heartbreaking lows to victorious highs.
While all that makes for a good book or movie to entertain me, experiencing those elements in real life is absolutely miserable. Well, at least the tests and the low parts are.
What a week I’ve had, experiencing many of those elements and I’ll admit: as much as I dislike a boring book, I’ll take a boring life for a while. No trials. No tests. No heartbreak. No pain. But that would also mean no joy, no victory, no overcoming.
Last week’s blog (you can find it here) resonated with me most of this week as I continued to experience my highs and lows. I kept reminding myself to stay focused on my Author, and to have faith in the story He has written for me.
As we continue to read Hebrews 12:2, this week we find the Defensive Strategy that our Author demonstrated. Jesus endured His cross, despite all the shame it brought upon him, because He knew there was joy on the other side of His story.
I meditated on this, and at times I felt my cross(es) had become too difficult to bear and giving up seemed so much easier. If I just gave in to the easy answer, the easy path, the easy solution, I could finally end the pain and shame that crosses always bring.
But what about the joy that I’d also be giving up? Was it worth giving up the pain and consequently forfeiting the joy that has also been written into my story?
I saw a post on Social Media this week: “Joy is not a destination, it’s a journey.” I smiled after reading as it was absolutely the encouragement that I needed in that moment.
If I could just continue to keep my focus on the author of my story of faith, and follow my Savior’s example of persisting through the pain of my cross, then I’d be able to disregard my shame by handing it over to Jesus in exchange for His joy.
And make no mistake about it – joy should not be confused with happiness. Happiness is based on feelings that are continually changing, while Joy comes from my internal source of peace that trusting in God brings.
Joy is that although I can’t peek ahead and read the last page of my life, I still know that in the end I will emerge as the victorious heroine.
Some of your chapters may be painful, some may bring sorrow and even some tears. But always remember there is another chapter coming, and God has the ability to turn your story in an instant.
Think about the movies Jaden Smith starred in that were written or produced by Will Smith. At any point did you ever worry about Jaden’s character facing an untimely demise? He faced some difficult challenges, shed some tears, and your heart may have went out to him in certain scenes (think Karate Kid – I HATE it here! I wanna go home.)
But since his father influenced those stories, you were confident everything was going to come out in his favor by the end, right?
You can have that same confidence in your own story. You may be in a painful chapter but it’s not the end of the book. You can trust in your author’s supernatural writing ability – everything will turn out just fine in the chapters ahead. Keep turning the page.
When you think about your life, reflect on the highs and lows that you’ve experienced. What chapter are you currently in?
If you are in a difficult chapter, what can you do to continue to turn the pages to get through to the next chapter?
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…