When I got to college, I was a little overwhelmed.
There’s been plenty of times on my Christian college campus that I’ve been asked the famous Christian line…
“What’s your story?”
I’ll never forget the time a girl I barely knew told me her story. Her pain, her worst moment, and then finally at the end she did her signing off, her “happily ever after,” by saying YEAH SO GOD THEN SAVED THE DAY.
I always want to ask sooooo….
What happened next?
Did life become rainbows and butterflies fluttering to Hillsong at every moment?
Because yes, for me, my story started off in a sad moment, and then I found God in a new wonderful way…. but sad things kept happening. Life still kinda stunk. He didn’t make pain go way, but He reminded me this pain in this lifetime is worth it.
Then the girl asked me my story. I knew who God was, but at the time still was not confident in my faith. I needed more time. I wish she would’ve asked me to hangout first. I wasn’t comfortable then with blurting out all my feelings. I’m not always an open book with people I don’t know. I doubt I’m the only one like this…
And another thing I struggle was with comparison. Comparing my story to someone else’s.
And when this girl asked me for my story, I felt pressured. Pressured to have an equally sad story. But me struggling with my weight does not sound as cool as someone who went through more sadness.
I even felt the need to make sure when asked my “story”, I said the worst moments of my life. I needed to be “vulnerable.” And then you feel like a jerk because you become jealous of the person with the better story…
OH SHE WENT TO PRISON. WINNER.
I’m not making fun of anyone’s story. I’m writing this post to highlight how our Christian culture loves the idea of a single story. That God came during a painful time and then BAM, happily ever after. And we love our stories selfishly, because they are about us. We highlight our story, we get sympathy, someone cries, and then we wait on our hit movie to come out.
And I know this is not everyone… just pointing out something that occasionally I see, and something I’ve found in myself.
However, what I want to tell everyone is three simple things:
- Your story should not be “your” story. It should be about what God did for you, through you, and on the dreary day we nailed His Son to a tree. His Son who then defeated death, rose from the grave, and now lives in our heart. And your story is a journey….”the rest is still unwritten”. (cue “The Hills” theme song) Well… jk it is written by the author of life… however, you don’t know it yet. Your story and walk with Jesus is new each day.
- You don’t only see Jesus in sadness. You can see Him in the good times, when you see a mountain after a hike and praise the One who carved it. When you see His hand over your life, and that one job you lost lead you to a new one. God is there too. Talk about those moments.
- There’s not a happily ever after in this world. Life in this world is still not easy. Now that we believe, we have joy, but joy is not happiness. Joy doesn’t only exist on mountain tops. Joy exists through the valleys, storms, and horrible moments we experience like when a Christian man even breaks our hearts. Joy is saying “this life isn’t easy, but I trust God and have peace knowing He is in control.”
- It is a little annoying to just walk up and ask someone their story. Jesus asked people to eat with Him, then talked about their life. Jesus talked to the women at the well, and knew who she was, her story, her mistakes (not just from gossip), before He reached out to her. The way Jesus made disciples was by doing life with them. Asking them to hang with Him. He went fishing with them. He didn’t just walk up and say “hey, tell me your worst moment.” Although your intentions may not be that when you ask a random girl in your dorm what’s her story, they can be translated that way. Go get dinner. Go on a walk. You never know where in their faith walk they are. Meet them where they are at, like Jesus did. And then, push them to know Him.
Walking with Jesus is not always easy and once you accept Him it isn’t “happily ever after”. It is hard. Trials happen, storms come, and sometimes saying “yes” to what God calls you to do isn’t easy (ask Jonah). However, God never promised it would be easy, but He did promise it would be worth it. Our joy comes from Him. And if there is one thing I can guarantee, its that if you do walk with Jesus, you will get your happily ever after. But that won’t happen in this world. When you spend eternity with Him and hear “well done and good and faithful.”
Also, remember to be genuine. Have an ear ready to listen and a mouth slow to speak (that’s hard for me tbh). Get to know know people in a genuine way, not a “let’s get deep after 2 seconds because everyone is vulnerable and emotionally stable enough to be pushed to recall their worst memory.” Love and seek people authentically, and be open to seeing God in all moments in your life, not just the sad ones.