Your Story

red and gray rain boots near pink umbrella
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Hello! I hope it’s been a fabulous week for you! We’ve had four solid days of beautiful, life giving, heavy rains and we have loved every minute. We’ve danced in the rain, splashed in puddles, strolled through the torrents,  jumped on the soaking wet trampoline and watched hilarious YouTube videos when it thundered.

Usually to me, rain means mud and mud with six kids means so much mess.

But last summer, there was a failure of a supply source of our water. This, plus increased summer demand, very high temperatures and very low rainfall caused our water supply to be shifted to basically the city’s plan B. Which my kiddos will loudly and repeatedly insist tastes like water scooped straight out of a swimming pool (they aren’t wrong). So to us, four straight days of rain is nothing short of glorious!

I’ve been thinking about how our experience with drought has affected the way we think about rain. I’m sure there are people who pray away rain because they have so much it poses a threat and their mindset is considerably different. But the circumstance-rain-remains the same. It’s just the story we tell that changes. Even with just our own little story, we could have focused on the day at the water park that got cancelled, the soaking tennis shoes while school supply shopping and being stuck mostly inside on the last week of summer break. It’s all perspective and how you frame it is everything.

Stephen Covey said in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, “People do not see the world as it is; they see it as they are–or as they have been conditioned to be.” Rain can be wonderful or it can be miserable.

What if you could use this idea to rewrite your past? Our past is a circumstance made of facts that we absolutely cannot change. What’s done is done. But how we choose to look at it, remember it, give meaning to it is completely up to us, In other words, our thoughts about the factual circumstance are completely optional. In listening to others be coached, I’ve heard some stories that we would probably all choose to agree are terrible. Accounts of abuse of all kinds, suffering of physical pain and unexpected limitations, losses due to natural disaster, etc. The thing is, experiences in your past aren’t causing you pain in the present. It’s how you give meaning to circumstances in your past that cause your current pain.

In each of these life stories, the teller positioned themselves as the victim-powerless to the control of their oppressor, whatever or whomever that may be. If these stories were a movie, what title would you give them? “I’ll Never Get My Life Back.” “It’s Not Fair.” “I’m Mad At God For Abandoning Me.” “They’ll Never Change.” “It’s Too Hard.” “My Life Should Be Different.” Those sound like terrible movies. I’ll pass, thanks.

But if you think about it, every good drama has a setback and the bigger it is, the better the movie, right? That’s because in a good movie, the main character adopts the role of hero, not victim. He or she doesn’t give away all of their power to someone or something else, they keep it in their own hands! In Dr. Seuss’s Oh The Places You’ll Go!, he outlines some of the amazing successes that might happen in the readers life and then abruptly changes tone with this:

“Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.”

Oh my friends, bang-ups and hang-ups WILL happen to you! That is a promise! When they come along, who do you choose to be in your own story? Are you the victim, sitting around in Seuss’s Waiting Place?

“…for people just waiting…Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.”

While the facts of any circumstance are permanent, your mindset doesn’t have to be. You can change your past by how you look at it. (And even one second ago is in the past!) How do you choose to look at your past, your present, and your role in your own story? I hope that you take the reigns. No matter what setbacks or tragedies occur in your life, I hope that you choose the role of hero in your own story. How will you title it? “Heroine Makes Comeback!” “Dark Horse Comes Out Ahead!” “Miracles In Unexpected Places!” “Hero Overcomes All To Succeed!”

You’ve got this! The story is yours to make what you want! So choose your role and write your title! It’s never too late to choose your past, present and future.

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