We all want to live better stories, don’t we? I know I do. Part of discerning your new joy story is looking back on your past and figuring out destructive patterns that led you down frustrating paths. And it’s also helpful to celebrate the wins, too.
Look back at the past six months. Ask yourself seven questions:
1. What is one strong area of growth I experienced?
2. How was I selfish?
3. What relationship do I have the most frustration about?
4. What relationship surprised me in a positive way?
5. What is my biggest regret?
6. What am I proudest of? Why?
7. What parts of my life need more joy?
To change your story and live a better story, it’s quite simple. You need Jesus. You can’t walk like Jesus in your own strength. You can’t change your heart. You can’t bootstrap yourself, at least in the long term. You can’t rewrite old patterns.
That might sound depressing, but it’s actually quite helpful. Why? Because of this:
Want a new story? Surrender. Give those difficult relationships to Jesus and let Him take control. Let go of your need to control—even your own relationship with Jesus. Realize that growth comes simply from being rightly connected to Him. Remember Jesus’ scary, oft-forgotten words: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Ne rien. (That’s French!)
No matter what language you say it in, it still amounts to zero.
Want a new story? Want to stop repeating the plotlines from the past? Then give up everything. Ask Jesus to help you. It’s simple, but difficult. Beautiful, but risky.
Jesus, I have regrets about my story. Some things didn’t go as I hoped, and I didn’t always handle things well. I want to change. I need a new plot, but I know if I am the main character in my story, I’ll just repeat the old one. So would You be the hero now? I give You permission to write an adventure. I take my hands off all the things I love to control, and I give you the pen. Grab it and write something beautiful. Amen.
This is an ongoing Thursday series based on the book Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. It’s the book I wrote that details how exactly we can grow in our relationship with Jesus in a life-altering, hope-fueling way. It’s everything I know about discipleship and growth.