What is your life saying by John Miller
It’s important to be able to read your own handwriting.
Sometimes I’ll jot down writing prompts for me to return to later and flesh out. Unfortunately, my penmanship is lacking. I’ll have to squint and pause, attempting to magically create a word from the shapes I had once scribbled. Unreadable handwriting is time-waster, but I still struggle with it because sloppy jotting is easiest in a hurry.
Lately I’ve been learning, it’s important to be able to read your own handwriting.
Let me go meta here for a bit: We are all authors of our life stories. As authors, we’ll do better with a pre-planned idea about what we’re saying rather than randomly making up a plot as we go. Many novel writers map out events in great detail before they start filling in the blanks. (Google the diagrams JK Rowling made for her Harry Potter masterpieces. Fascinating.)
Greatness happens when we are intentional and don’t list toward laziness.
Proverbs 24:33-34 famously reads: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”
If we don’t write with purpose, we will naturally stray into terrifying territory.
We all default to chaos.
We default to in-the-moment mistakes.
We default to comfort.
I enjoy comfort as much as the next person. I like my pillows fluffy, my beverages ice cold, my thermostat set to 70 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit for all my New Zealand readers). While comfort in a movie theater or my bed at home isn’t a bad thing, living unstudied “comfortable” lives can lead to serious consequences.
Comfort looks like shallow relationships void of important conflict-filled communication.
Comfort looks like failing physical bodies full of pizza, fast food, and sugar addictions.
Comfort looks like dry spiritual lives devoid of meaningful prayer, worship, or sacrifice.
Comfort looks like crumbling finances hemorrhaged by undisciplined and wasteful spending.
Great things are rarely easy.
The most important things are rarely comfortable.
If I look back at my life and say, “what was I thinking?” I’m also saying, “What was I trying to say?” I can’t read my own writing. It doesn’t fit with the story I was trying to tell. It’s illegible to my life as a whole.
If we get too comfortable, our whole lives may be wasted with insignificant, sloppy writing.
Read your writing:
Examine your life. What is the story that you are writing? Are you intentionally crafting a masterpiece or are you hurriedly jotting down notes as they hit you. What plot is driving you?
For me, these New Testament words help guide my story:
- “But seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all [your needs] will be added to you.” – Jesus, Matthew 6:33
- “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:31
- “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you to the very end of the age” – Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20
- “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” – Peter, 1 Peter 3:15
- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Paul, Galatians 5:22-23
I want to put God first, let all my actions point toward him, be full of hope, gentleness and respect. I also want to be an all-star husband, father and friend. If I can only get a few pages during my life, I want to make sure they’re well written.