Every day you tell yourself a story. It’s the story that narrates your circumstances, interactions, and behaviors. It’s the story you use to explain the world around you. It’s the story that tells you what you believe about yourself. And it’s the story that tells you what you believe about God.
Other days the story is a tear-jerker, full of drama and hardship. The doctor calls to say the test results look bad. The boss lets you know you didn’t receive the promotion. Your best friend unloads just how angry she is about that thing you didn’t even know you did.
Everyone else in your story has a story to tell as well. And part of their story is about you. It began with the story your parents told when you were a kid. Their story described you as smart or dumb, fat or skinny, beautiful or ugly. It said you were funny, valued, kind, and loved. Or maybe it said you were worthless and unwanted. As you grew up friends and peers shared their own stories about you, whether overtly through words or subtly through body language, attitudes, and reactions. Today coworkers, bosses, subordinates, restaurant servers, bank tellers, and teachers will all tell stories about how they understand the world, how they understand God, and who they think you are.
Some people get paid to tell these stories. Advertisers, politicians, journalists, pastors, and pundits all tell these stories. Most of the stories we hear, and even the one we tell ourselves, have the same central message: “You are not enough. There’s something wrong with you.” Advertisers and marketers have made an art out of telling us to feel bad. They want us to believe that the world is awful, we’re hopeless, and only their product will make us into the people we want to become.
Contrary to the belief of Forrest Gump, life isn’t like a box of chocolates. It’s like a bag of marshmallows. Marshmallows are soft, and tender, and sweet. But if you pick a piece out of it, the inside of the marshmallow is sticky. Take another few pieces out of it, and it becomes a sticky, gooey mess.
People are like marshmallows. Mostly we’re soft and tender and sweet. But if you pick at us, we become sticky, deformed messes. If you burn us, we become crusty on the outside and gooey on the inside.
So, how do we navigate life in Christ while living in a world that’s constantly trying to pick us apart? That’s the subject of the next article.
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