I love a good story. Ninety percent of the time the movies I pick or the TV shows that I tune into are chosen solely on the basis of whether or not they are telling a good story. And Hollywood coming out with all of these comic book movies as of late…the nerd in me is insanely happy. And not just because I am nerd, but because comics tell great stories. All the elements are there. A protagonist who has an inward struggle finds a way to live outside of themselves in some grand adventure in order to benefit the other. Not to mention that if you throw in some super powers it really helps the story. The problem with movies and television shows failing is that when the characters become too self-involved they ultimately start to live a bad story. Yes sometimes people flock to these movies and stories all the same because people love a train wreck, but very rarely are our lives enriched by watching said train wreck (unless of course we learn where not to go).
Here is where the rub comes; one of the problems I see with families and particularly the lives of adults raising children in today’s world is that they are content to live out bad stories. Think about it this way; when a movie or television show starts to take a bad turn it is because the “protagonist” becomes self involved and is no longer living life outside themselves, but rather for themselves. How do we as parents sometimes do the same thing without even realizing it? ‘I have to get my child to sports, music, dance, theater, etc., practice in order for someone else to spend time shaping them.’ ‘I am going to drop the kids off early so I can get a few minutes of ‘me time’ before work’. ‘Go ahead and go entertain yourself in your room while I jump online and blog, tweet, post, etc., to my endearing online public.’ Ouch.
Lives are shaped by connection. True connection happens through intimacy. And it seems like most of our lived out stories are our best attempts to drive wedges into our intimate relationships in order to become more self-involved. Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” But if we are starting off our child in showing them avoidance tactics for living life as a family are we at all surprised when relationships fail, marriages fall apart, churches are struggling, etc.* I really believe that if we started living better stories as families a lot of societal ills would fall by the wayside. My latest and greatest definition for holiness is simply, “Live lived out for the other through the power of God.” Now that’s a good story!
So maybe we should reexamine our story. Maybe we need to see who we as the protagonist are living for. Maybe their is an inner conflict we have to address before we can save the day, or maybe we just start being that super-hero people in our lives need us to be. May you start living a better story even now
* I have used etc. way too much in this post…maybe it is because I am tired, have a headache, am awake too early, etc.
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“Lives are shaped by connection.” That’s a powerful statement.