Living a Better Story

The other day I slipped and fell in my basement. The whole area is carpeted except for, like, three feet at the bottom of the stairs, but that’s all the space I needed to fall on my ass.

I slipped on a dog bone. One foot flew out in front of me, and the other bent under me. The fall looked a little like this, only with less guitar and more angst. I can’t say for sure how the swearing measured up.

The entire one hundred and *cough* pounds of my body weight landed on my left knee and ankle. Now, some might think one would lie there on the floor for a period of recovery – whether it be of body or ego. But no. I instantly flew through the air several times like this, still with less guitar but for certain with more swearing.

In that moment I created more derivatives of the word “fuck” than ever existed before.

After floundering like this for a few moments, I finally collapsed on the floor again and cried. Not only was I in pain, but because of the history of my back and neck problems, I knew I was in for a long, full-body recovery and several visits to the chiropractor I didn’t have time for.

This is how I deal with conflict.

I get Uma Thurman mad, swear a lot, and kick a few things. There is much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.

Sometimes this happens outwardly, and I flail about or throw something; sometimes when faced with conflict this happens inwardly, and I seethe in my own bitterness.

Either way, something’s not going the way I want it to, and woe to the obstacle blocking my path.

Telling a different story.

I’ve struggled with anger for as long as I can remember, and there’s not much you can tell me about how I’m supposed to act when facing conflict that I don’t already know. It’s not for lack of information that I lash out in rage, but for lack of character.

And this is what finally clicked for me while attending Don Miller’s Storyline Conference last weekend – in many ways, I tell a really shitty story with my life.

In the way I respond to conflict – or anything that doesn’t happen the way I expect it to – I tell the story of a God who criticizes, who is inflexible, withholding, and loves only when his expectations are met. I tell the story of a God who isn’t very much fun.

You may not see it this way from where you stand, but this is primarily the story I tell my kids. And when it comes to stories my kids will remember after I’m gone, I know I can tell better ones.

So going forward, when faced with conflict I will attempt to do less floundering and more reflecting; less swearing and more praying; less Eeyore-ing and more praising.

I want my kids to know the story of a God who loves unconditionally and walks us through our darkest moments with compassion.

2 thoughts on “Living a Better Story”

  1. This. Is. Awesome. Particularly your idea on telling better stories to your kids. Absolutely beautiful to see it in light of the Bigger Story we are all in. I too was at Storyline. I think we get caught up too much in the “big climax” and looking for something that might or might not happen. Living a better story happens in the everyday moments of our lives. It’s the only way it can. That way we can choose in the moment anger or love & compassion. I have four “Monkeys” of my own. And it is HARD. But SO good. My role as their mother is with god to put out the butcher-block paper and invite them to color WITH me. How beautiful is that?! What a GIFT we have been given as mothers! Write on!! Yours IS a great story!

  2. thank thank thank thank you for this blogpost. Once again you have hit the nail on the head and made me realize that compassion is the name of the game.

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