It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s all you’ve ever known, and you’ve always done it this way. Often the ruts we find ourselves in are simple decisions we’ve consistently made, habits that have formed over time, and now hold us back from how we were meant to live. We can consistently fail to realize how attached we are to a way we think or a thing we do, and we don’t see the forest for the trees.
And yet, as we muddle along in the stories we’re writing with our lives, we have this hankering feeling deep down that something’s amiss. Something needs to change, but you just can’t put your finger on it. You dream, imagine, believe, and hope, but whenever you try something new or different, it all just comes back crashing down to what was, what is, and what will be.
How do we step out of our stories, take a long hard look at ourselves, and reorder our steps? Is it possible for God to redeem what we’ve lost? Can there truly be beauty, order, and wonder in the disarray, chaos, and ugliness? What can we do to rewrite our stories, one chapter at a time?
- It starts with brutal, gut-wrenching honesty — Who you are, what you do, and how you interact with your world; all this and more needs to be approached with brutal honesty. We are often our best critics, but in similar fashion we have incredible blind spots. Begin the journey of assessing and critiquing the journey you’ve been on. How did you get here? What spurred you on along the way? You might need someone else who is wiser and more experienced. Ask them to come alongside you and choose vulnerability instead of smoothed-over-facades. If you can’t be honest with yourself, have enough humility to ask someone to help you out. If you want to rewrite your story, it requires transparency and vulnerability. If you are willing to go there, then you’re ready to actually move forward.
- Have goals, dream big, and imagine a different future — Sometimes we’re afraid to have goals or dream big. We often don’t even know how to imagine a different future, because we’re so stuck in how things have been or currently are. If you want to rewrite your story, you have to start seeing God’s future for your life. What is He asking you to do? How has He uniquely made you? What gifts, talents or abilities has God placed in you? Maybe you have a knack for something, or there’s just a gnawing feeling pulling you to explore that thing. Those things usually aren’t a coincidence; God is up to something, and wants to work through you. For this to happen, it requires getting outside of yourself, and beginning to dream a different dream. Sometimes we are living in someone’s else dream, and we live in a world already imagined for us. This however isn’t how God works; He specifically wants you to have goals, dream big, and imagine a different future.
- Work hard, dedicate yourself, and choose to sacrifice — A dream without feet is fantasy, and imagination without reality is just a mental exercise. The vision God gives you requires much work. It takes immense pressure, intense pain, and sacrificial tenacity. What are you willing to do in order to go where God wants you to go? How much are you willing to change, to be who God has called you to be? No one can do the work for you, no one can dedicate themselves for you, and no one can sacrifice for you. That’s all on you. You have to do that yourself.
- Don’t let failure stop you, use it as motivation to keep trying — Failure has the ability to keep you thinking small. It encourages you to go back to what always was, but it doesn’t have to. When you experience failures you can respond entirely different. It’s possible for failure to strengthen your resolve and make you tougher than ever before. It’s possible for failure to make you better, not bitter. Failure isn’t the end of the road, it’s merely the sign saying you should make a turn. Sometimes failures keep us down and push us out of the race. Don’t let it do that to you. Use it to your benefit. Keep going at it. Attack the issue from another angle, and try something different. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Failure forces you to try something different.
- Enjoy the wins and cherish the journey — Getting to where you want to go is always sweet, but the process and the work involved is also just as sweet. Remember the little steps that you take. As you begin to rewrite your story, it’s not that you’re always taking big leaps forward. Some days are merely one foot in front of the other, just one small step towards God’s plan and purpose for you. Cherish the journey and how far you’ve come; it will give you strength to keep pushing forward to where God is taking you.
- Let your fulfillment become an encouragement to others — Once you’ve stepped into fulfillment – that place where God has helped you rewrite your story – be someone who comes alongside someone else. There is wisdom to be shared, experiences to be learned from, and encouragement that someone needs to hear. God wants to use you to speak life and hope to someone who doesn’t have it. Your voice and story can help someone else who is on a similar journey. Don’t ever think you’re the only one; there are many who’ve gone before you, and many who will come after you.