I firmly believe that every experience is a learning opportunity. Recently, I filmed part of my story for an upcoming series at a local church. Going into the shoot, I thought to myself “this is great, I love stories and the art of crafting a story, so this will be a fun experience!” and it was, but it also taught me a lot about myself.
There is an art to crafting story. I am by no means an expert in this, it’s a subject I’m only beginning to study. Most stories share the same basic plot line: there’s a hero with a problem who meets a guide who empathizes, has a plan, and calls them to action that will result in either success or failure. A vital part of any story is the problem or the tension the main character experiences in their life.
There would be no Tommy Boy if the plant wasn’t about the be shut down. Clue would be about a weird dinner party were it not for a murderer running loose in the house. And The Little Mermaid (my favorite movie as a child), wouldn’t have held my attention had Ariel not experienced the internal struggle of wanting to be part of the human world. In these movies and many more, the main characters face internal and external problems that they must overcome. We learn who the characters are in times of tension.
Tension builds character.
When I was filming my story, I realized that I’m not good at sitting in that tension. I had trouble leaving parts of my story out there without tying a neat little bow around it. Saying things like “I don’t know” or “I don’t have the answers” is hard, but it’s truth. I found myself unconsciously trying to spin every part of my story, glossing over the hard parts to get to the end where everything is neat and clean and resolved, not realizing that the hard, confusing, question-filled chapters are some of the most important parts of the story.
Everyone loves a good ending, but you can only appreciate an ending when you’ve gone through the hard part. The middle, the tension, the struggle, the growth are all what goes into making an ending great. When we gloss over the hard parts of our story, I think we’re doing a disservice to who we’ve become.
God isn’t afraid of or offended by the dark times.
It’s okay to be in that “I don’t know” space, that doesn’t make you any less faithful or hopeful or make you less of a Christian. In fact, I think that sharing about those dark times shows our faith.
If you’re sitting in the middle of an “I don’t know” right now, that’s okay. You don’t need to know all the answers. And, if you’re unsure or you’re scared, that’s okay too. I’m in that same boat right now. I recently took a leap of faith and chose to bet on myself and God. While I’m excited to be on a faith adventure journey right now, that doesn’t make it any less scary or awkward or uncomfortable.
So, I’m going to resist the urge to tie this post in a nice little bow. I’m choosing not to make a sweeping declaration. Instead, I’m going to choose to sit in the awkwardness. I am choosing to be okay with it. I invite you to not belittle or diminish the hard or uncomfortable times but invite God into those parts of your story. Because, though they’re hard, those parts of your story are beautiful in their own right.