Everywhere we turn we hear about story. As technology and media progress we’re all about telling stories through amazing films, moving books and well-crafted songs. We flock to social media platforms like Instagram to tell our own story through daily (sometimes hourly) photos and to watch the tale of others’ lives unfold in our feed.
The more we have access to the story of others, the more we wonder about our own. As if comparison weren’t enough of a trap 20 years ago when we were “keeping up with the Joneses” now we must overcome the pull to keep up with the Joneses, the Smiths, the Millers, the Kennedys. . .because we are watching (and often wanting) their lives daily.
Although we co-led an online community and live life together offline, my best friend Kristy and I are in the midst of very different family stories. We talked about the idea of family story and both expressed how often we look at the lives of others and feel as though we should be living a story more like theirs. We see parents moving their children to the other side of the world to do mission work. . .families choosing different educational paths. . .those who eat only organic food or watch zero television and we start to think we should adopt the details of their lives because. . .because maybe we’re missing out.
But there is so much beauty to be discovered in our own stories. Beauty that is void of comparison, guilt, confusion and regret. When we bravely own our family story and begin to live it out, the words will continue to come until every chapter is filled with the best story we could ever know.
My dear friend and I lead two very different family stories, being written the way God intended. The current details are only part of our story, there is so much more to come. Our lives are unique yet, they intersect in such a way as to complement one another, and align us in those passions that overlap. Do we sometimes look at each other and wonder about our own stories? Sure. Comparison is a battle we’ll always fight. But I am finding the more I confidently focus on the story God is writing for my family, the more others become a point of inspiration, not comparison.
Family Story is based on past experiences, present circumstances and future dreams. At every moment we are living in one and all three of these stages of story. To abandon the value of our own past, present and future while we focus so intently on those of another may erase the words already written and prevent those to come.
When we intentionally pursue the values, mission and vision of our own unique family, we purposefully crowd out the temptation to compare ourselves to others. So focused on our family story, we abandon our need to compare it to the story of others.
The most amazing result of our focus is that the more we walk within the words of our own story, the more beautifully and effectively it is written and lived out.
In the new year, we’ll be walking together through the elements of family story through our upcoming family study, BECOMING A FAMILY ON MISSION. We’ll look deeper into each of these important components of story, and pause together to consider our own. . .
Values – the why
Mission – the what
Vision – the how
My hope is that at the end of this process, we’ll all have a better idea of our family’s story and mission and how they will determine what we focus on in the new year and in years to come.
Each person’s life is a story that is telling itself in the living. William Throsby Bridges #familystory
Stay tuned for more information coming soon about our BECOMING A FAMILY ON MISSION study. In the meantime (and especially during the holiday season), keep your eyes on Jesus and the amazing gifts he’s given YOU, right where you are.
Are you ready to write your family story?