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“Let’s Talk.”

Today is “Let’s Talk Day” – a moment to start or continue a conversation about mental health.

I want to talk about moving on from our grievance narratives – however legitimate we might think they are.

I want to talk about rewriting our story – though first – we need to learn how to read our story; we need to read what already has been written in order to know what needs to transform in the next chapter.

It would be a mistake to move on without first reading our past – an exercise that is time-consuming and not immediately profitable.

“Reading our life takes patience and hope to keep turning one page after another… It takes time to read the ways our life events, tragedies and joys intermixed and confused, have written our story.”

Now as we interpret our life, Dan Allender continues:

Seeing the contours of meaning formed by what already has happened, you must now begin writing your life since doing so brings a greater sensitivity as you face your heartaches.  Writing your life also brings deeper awe as you see what God has done to redeem you and how he uses your story in the lives of other people…

If our story is not embedded in the dirt of real life, we will end up living with fantasies…

Past tragedy and pain are the paints and canvas we are to use to create the art of our life. The marks of our past form the contours that make us a creation filled with intrigue, mystery, and meaning.

What to do with the Present:

To answer this question Allender suggests we consider what is immediately in front of us and ask ourselves three core questions:

Do I embrace, take care of, and have gratitude for my current situation?

Do I take responsibility for the world that has been both given to me and created by me?

Do I bring my story and mission to bear in my present?

Take a moment to breathe and contemplate.


Outnumbered and Outgunned?

Let me put this bluntly: Most of us feel outnumbered and outgunned by our current situation. We want to be freed from our problems so that we can get on with our pleasures.

But God has a different plan. He wants our problems to serve as the context for knowing him and living out the story he invites us to write for his glory. This means the present is… to be written in a way that allows us to reveal God to others and to let him reveal himself to us.

Breathe and Contemplate


Gratitude for our Present

An absence of gratitude with regard to our present compels us to change it rather than be transformed by it. But with gratitude and care, we can own our present and state the obvious: what I am right now may not be all that I want to be. And if that’s the case, I can begin to write a new sentence, then a new paragraph, page, chapter.

By taking ownership of all that I am and am not, I create space to write my story in light of the known past and the unseen future. It is time to write with God.

Breathe and Contemplate


Writing with God

Begin anywhere, and God will take us where he wants us to go.

Start with our strengths, and he will reveal and use our weaknesses

Follow our desires, and he will grow his passion in us.

All this writing serves as prelude to the hardest question of all: What do I want to become, and what do I want to reveal about God through this process?

Breathe and Contemplate


Telling Your Story

Your stories are meant to be given away to others for their benefit. And the stories of others are meant for your benefit.

What stories told to you have impacted you the most?

What characteristics of God do you see revealed through the stories of others?

What have you learned about yourself in the process of writing your stories and telling them in community?

For more, read Dan Allender’s “To be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future.”