It's a pleasure to have Melissa Deming here today as my guest in the "Comparing Ourselves to Others...and what it does to us" series. Melissa and I met online this year when she led a Missional Women Discipleship Group I participated in. Both the group and getting to know Melissa are experiences I'm thankful to have had. You can find Melissa on her blog Hive Resources and writing for Missional Women. Please welcome her here today by leaving a comment. ~ Laura
If you held the pen, how would you write your own life story?
Would it be a love story? A drama? Some days I think my life reads like a comedy. As in, I have to laugh to keep from crying! I have five-year-old identical twin boys I affectionately call my ‘twinadoes,’ and every moment of my life seems like it was lifted straight out of a slap-stick film.
Sometimes we view our own life stories and wonder if we got the right script, especially when our plotline takes unexpected twists or turns.
It’s in those moments, when we seem to be stuck in the middle of our stories, that we become the most tempted to steal the pen from God’s hand and rewrite a chapter or two. It’s when our stories seem to derail that we are tempted to compare our stories to the stories of our sisters.
She found her prince charming – what about me, God?
You didn’t seem to write any conflict in her tale, God? Why did you write such a big part for me?
Why did you let such a horrible villain creep into my script, God? Were you not looking?
But swapping our story for another’s doesn’t guarantee us a fairy tale ending. That’s because, the apostle Paul says the story God has written for us is a lavish love story.
In Ephesians 1:1-14, Paul outlines the story of God. Verses 1-6 reveal the main characters of God’s story – God, Christ, and God’s children (you and me). Because of God’s story written in Christ, God’s children come to be called holy and blameless, adopted as his children, and accepted (vs. 4-6).
Our backstory as God’s children, however, is a sordid tale. We find it in chapter 2, where it is revealed that we formerly belonged to another father – the father of darkness. We once were “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:1-3).
But God, being rich in mercy and love, didn’t leave us to our dead-end stories. He wrote a new story for us – a story of redemption (Eph. 2:4-6). God’s story for us speaks of an eternal love and an eternal purpose.
Through Christ, God wrote for us a never-ending story. Our stories are never-ending for two reasons.
First, our lives are an eternal picture of God’s kindness in Christ (Eph. 2:7).
“…that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
When we compare our stories to others we make one tragic mistake. We mistake love stories for fairy tales.
But love stories are not ends unto themselves. God has a purpose in lavishing us with His love – our stories are intended to be a stage for the whole world to view the Author’s kindness in Christ.
Ironically, all those twists and nose-dives in our tale have meaning – both today and “in the ages to come…” So, when we’re eager to swap our stories for another, we miss the kindness of Christ who has woven the events of life together in such a way that others are led to the Author.
Second, our lives are never-ending stories because we have an eternal purpose in Christ (Eph. 2:10).
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)
In verse 10, Paul calls our stories God’s “workmanship.”
The word “workmanship” or “handiwork” in the original language is the word poiema. It is literally rendered “masterpiece.” You and I were masterfully created. Our stories – and how God rewrites them for His glory – are epic, eternal tales.
And as a masterpiece, you were created not just as a good read, but for “good works” – works that were prepared and planned for you long before you were born. These “good works” are proof that God is at work in your life even when it seems he isn’t.
So, when it seems like your story seems to have skipped a page, you can trust that the Eternal God will show you kindness for all eternity. You can trust that the Eternal God has an eternal purpose for you.
When we choose to trust God as the sole Author of our lives, we can trust that our stories have a good end. But in order to get that good ending, we must guard our hearts against trading our never-ending story for the idea of a fairy tale.
Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources.com, a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, missions & ministry resources, and more. She is the author of the women's Bible study, Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story.
Melissa and her husband have five-year-old twin boys who are unwittingly and joyfully shaping them into the image of Christ.