Have you ever been running late for a movie, quietly taking a seat in a theater after it has already started? You don’t think you have missed much, but you spend the next several minutes trying to piece together the plot. Although you are drawn into the story, you can’t have a solid grasp of what has transpired because, not knowing the beginning, causes you to make assumptions about the characters and how things unfold.
I wonder at times if people look at me, knowing perhaps my present circumstances, and think they know my whole story. It’s simply not possible to know about a person’s beginning, how life has had its plot twists and turns. And yet, so often we are the subject of assumptions that have nothing to do with how life will turn out.
It’s not anyone’s fault. We all do it.
How often do we see people through a lens that we choose, in order to size-up the expectations we have of them. We assign labels willy nilly, categorizing people by their situations so as to contrast them against our own — Single mom, rich, divorced, cancer survivor, young, widow, alcoholic, bankrupt…. Our assessment is contained in snap shots, not full length features.
The problem is, not only do we subconsciously do this to others, but we also do this to ourselves. We think that we are the summation of what we are going through. We think that we are what is in our bank accounts, our struggles, our brokenness, our marital status.
The older I get, the more I understand that there is always so much more to people and their stories than meets the eye. I am taken, also, by how much time and energy we spend tying to prove this to the world — that we are good. That we matter. That our scenes have not always unfolded like we expected, but that we are still moving through them.
I am evolving from a season where everything I thought I was, had accomplished, or identified myself as, has been flipped. Once a bustling house of six, the walls now sometimes creak and tick with a silence that can be deafening. An empty nest is indeed an adjustment. So isn’t being one-half of a whole. It rankles the soul.
Thankfully, I know that I am just in a season of Intermission. God is setting up the stage for what comes next. And though my character is well established, there is more about my life story that is being developed.
Rather than despair, I am learning that when we are vulnerable, that is when we best can hear God. That is when He can say to us “I understand that you feel all alone, but you’re not. There is so much more I am doing for you.”
What I am trying to say, is that thankfully, God is always taking us somewhere. He knows the plot twists and turns of our lives and He knows the labels we are sometimes given and give to ourselves. He knows also that what the world sees, is not all that we are.
God wants us to see ourselves for what He sees in us. We may be a sinner, but we are forgiven. We may be broken, but in Him we are healed. We may be lonely, but in Him we are loved. We may yearn and need for things that are hard to define with words, but He is defining us with Purpose. He is always calling us More.
God wants us to see the whole story.
Although the beginning is important, it is the ending that He cares most about. It’s in how we use what He’s given us. It’s in how we love. It’s how we have trusted Him to bring us through the scary parts. It’s in expecting to see His hand in all the parts that we often think don’t matter, but come to realize that in everything, there is a connection to what comes next.
It’s not what it seems. We are not our circumstances, our failures, our insufficiencies, our relationships. We are His, and He knows our beginnings and how it all turns out.
You may not think of yourself as a heroine. You may have faced a few villains or had the drama of your life overtake you by unexpected twists or transitions. If it seems that your story has taken on an impossible set-up for things to end well, hang on.
Keep watching. Keep believing. He wrote the script.
The ending is always good.