When I saw the word, story, as the Five Minute Friday prompt for this week, I was excited. I thought, “Now there’s a word I could probably write several 5 minutes posts about.” First, because I’m a novel writer. I love stories. I think we sometimes learn the best lessons through stories because they touch a part of us that lectures and sermons don’t. I think that’s why Jesus told parables, to reach the heart and the head all at once. I love being a story-teller.
But I also love the word story because I think we are all telling a story with our lives and I’m passionate about helping women, in particular, learn to embrace their story. I think, as women, we do ourselves a disservice when we compare ourselves so often with others. We think other people’s stories look better than our own. So instead of making our stories something to get excited about, we waste time wishing we were living someone else’s. It’s such a shame, really. Because each of us has a unique voice. A special part to play in the world around us.
I read Donald Miller’s book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” a few years back and it blew me away. It was the first time I really thought about my life as a story. And that I had a choice in what kind of story it was. I decided I wanted to make the most of the opportunities I was given. To open doors that might seem, at first glance, to be closed. To try new things, even if they scared me.
Some days, I have to remind myself of these things or I get caught up in the boring parts between the chapters. I get overwhelmed with the mundane details. But mostly, I can look back over the last few years and see that I started living and enjoying my story. Since reading that book, I’ve been to Africa three times, the Dominican Republic, Italy and most recently, Ireland. And I met some amazing new friends on each of those adventures. Before that, I hadn’t been out of the country in 15 years. I’ve published a novel and begun work on a second one, started a blog and taken a fiction course, online. I’m not sure I would have done any of those things, if I hadn’t been challenged to pay attention to the story my life was writing.
So, now I’m challenging you. If you find yourself comparing your dry pages to someone else’s highlight reel, stop it. Take a look at your life and decide what you can do to tell the story you were created to tell. If you get the chance, pick up Miller’s book. It’s a good story. And it will help you embrace your own.
(This message was brought to you by Five Minute Friday. An exercise in free-writing that is very liberating and I highly recommend. Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker publishes a prompt word and hundreds of bloggers take five minutes to write whatever comes to mind from that prompt. I usually try and get to my Five Minute Friday post by Saturday at the latest. This week, I’ve been away working on my second book and didn’t want to get distracted. But I also didn’t want to miss this prompt word. So, this is my Five MInute Monday post, for what it’s worth. To find out more about Five Minute Friday, click here!)
Photo Credit: Magenta Rose on Creative Commons