I love stories. I’ll listen to anything Don Miller teaches about story. I try to be a better storyteller. I even named my daughter story. So when it comes to living my story I’m learning that it is very easy for me to change myself into a character I was never meant to be.
When I was in junior high there were a couple of kids in my class I wanted as friends. They seemed cool and fun to hang around. All of my other classmates respected them and I wanted to be just like them.
As the school year went on I started dressing like them. I would listen to the way they talked to other kids and tried to imitate them. All the way down to laughing at the jokes they would tell…even if I didn’t really understand the punch line.
Everything I did was to be like them.
As I Got Older
Over time I was able to see that I didn’t really want to be friends with these kids. They weren’t the kind of influence I wanted in my life. But the experience left a residue. I’ve spent a majority of my life trying to live someone else’s story instead of embracing my own.
Growing up, I kind of fell into playing music. They needed help at church and I was a guitar player. When the worship team started writing songs with a measure of success, I became a songwriter, doing everything I could to make that my story. Although I was able to compose new music, I knew it wasn’t what my life should be about. But that didn’t stop me.
Around the same time I was part of a thriving and passionate youth group where I had the opportunity to be in leadership. It didn’t take me long to find my identity as a youth pastor, taking that on as my calling. It was another case of story theft. I wasn’t supposed to be a youth pastor but it felt like a good fit so I forced it to work.
This happened again and again.
I’m not sure why I have spent a majority of my life trying to live someone else’s story. Maybe it’s because I was too scared to take the time to find and live my own. It’s easier to look at someone else and say, that’s cool, I want to do that than it is doing the hard work of self-discovery.The most important work you can do is find and live your story. Click To Tweet
Although I was good at what I did, deep down I knew it wasn’t my life’s calling. I felt like a fake, like a round peg squeezing into a square hole. This left me frustrated and unsure of what to do.
What About You?
Have you ever felt like that? Like you are running parallel to your true self, but yet you don’t know how to get to where you should be. What are we supposed to do when we find ourselves in that place? How do we find and start living our story?
I believe there are three simple and practical steps you can take to begin the journey to discovering your true self. Here are some of the steps I have taken on my own journey that I hope will help you in yours.
- Admit you aren’t living your story. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But this could be one of the hardest steps you have to take. Admitting that you are not where you need to be takes humility and honesty. That’s something that is hard to do in this type of situation, but it’s the only way you will begin your journey. Take some time today and come to grips with the fact that you aren’t where you should be.
- Look back at your life. One of the best things I have done this last year was look back and see what I was fascinated with as a child. That might sound like a weird thing to do, but it gave me a better understanding of who I have naturally been all along. Through all of the stories I tried to live, there was a common denominator that ran through them all. This was the start of understanding me.
- Keep moving forward. Unfortunately, your story isn’t a destination. It’s a process. Filled with ups and downs. Good times and bad. All of it used to mold us into the people we need to become. All you can do is keep moving forward and trusting you have done the work to live your life well. No matter what just keep moving forward.
Let me encourage you by saying that there is no better story to live than your own. For some of us, it’s hard to find. It’s found in the rubble of our plan A, B, or even plan C, in the brokenness of a friendship, a marriage, or a dream. Although it’s not fun to experience, it all leads us to start living our life free from the weight of trying to be someone we are not. I hope today you can say you are living your story.
Question: Are you living your story or someone else’s?