At the first night of an adult bible study this week, we were asked to take five minutes to write a story about ourselves; a story that was meaningful in our life journey, where perhaps a lesson was learned or a course was changed. I could see panic arise in the faces of some around the room. What a deeply personal way to start a new class with a room of friends, acquaintances and strangers!
But I sat calmly, certain this would be an easy task for me. I love to write! As a matter of fact, I just so happen to write every single week about personal things which occur in my life and the lives of those in my family. This will be a breeze!
But our time started; and I sat blankly. Absolutely nothing came to mind. I closed my eyes. Think, think! I can hear people around me writing. Panic starts to set in! I am failing this assignment!!
I write every single week – but I write about things that happen in my life right now. Now, I pay attention more closely; I watch for how and where God is working around me. But to remember, and to be able to connect the dots to find God at work in the past can be hard! Is that the path God designed for me? What lessons have I been taught and simply missed?
It was a challenge. I could blame it on being put on the spot, or blame it on my terrible memory. But I think the real problem is that I haven’t spent enough time reflecting on my past – my story. I don’t need to dwell or live in the past, but I do need to learn from my mistakes (and they are many) and continue to learn how to discern God’s presence. If I had the time to go back and read my journals from high school with the goal of seeking God’s presence, would I find it? (With two kids moving at a rapid pace towards teenage years, I certainly hope I can discern God at work amongst the drama experienced in high school and even college!)
I am thankful that I make myself take the time each week to discern and write my story. My current perspective is now archived for life; these things I write are now meaningful events that I can revisit often as I get older. Continuing to learn and grow in faith from my own experience; continuing to build upon my part in the larger story that is our God’s relationship with people of this world.
“What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” John 13:7
I eventually did write a story, and I finished in time. (I did not “fail” the assignment at bible study!) I’ll share that story – only because it is about my husband and we happen to be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary today!
When my husband and I first met, we worked together as camp counselors. Our friendship was grounded in faith. (And fun, laughter and exhaustion – all mutual experiences of summer camp counselors!) At some point we both began to sense something more than friendship. But we were both too shy, afraid of rejection or maybe just afraid of ruining a good friendship to do anything about it. We spent a lot of time waiting and nearly lost the opportunity to be together. I am thankful for gentle pressure from dear friends to move along our match!
It is certainly fun to remember the “how we met” story on our anniversary. But also a lesson. (That was the goal of writing this story, right!?!) Don’t be afraid to share your feelings with another person. If you love someone – as a friend or otherwise – tell them. If you don’t, you very well might miss out on joy found in relationship!