Friday, February 10, 2012

What story do you tell?

Ever found yourself stuck in a rut? Saying the same old negative things over and over?

Me, too. Been there and done that. I don’t like it very much. And I’m not proud to say I’ve done it. Truth be told, I probably will spend time in a rut sometime again, too. I hope it’s only a short visit, though!

A book I read two years ago made a deep impression on me: I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion by Dawna Markova. Among other pearls of wisdom, the author talks about two ways we can tell our stories. We can tell them as “rut stories”—they are just what the word implies. They’re stories that numb us, that are not life-giving, that frame our experiences in the most negative of ways.

I grew up on a farm and I remember country roads after heavy spring rains: filled with deep ruts in which one could easily get stuck, and in which spinning the tires only dug us down further. Those roads were a bit frightening to me as a young driver, I recall.

Life-giving stories
Then there are the “river stories”—those that are life-giving, that flow, that move us forward. Picture a river flowing, and even when a large tree or object falls into it, the river finds a way around so it can keep on flowing. That’s what rivers do: flow and move forward.

For example, I can tell the story of my divorce as my/our failure to sustain a marriage relationship (and that is true). Or I can tell it as the huge turning-point in my life that it really turned out to be. Devastating as it was, it taught me lessons I could not have gained any other way. And arriving on the other side of that experience has been incredibly life-giving. Through all that, I’ve discovered my life’s passion and more joy that I knew was possible!

It’s a choice: rut or river. I’m trying to tell more river stories these days. What about you?

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