When I was a kid, my parents subscribed to a collection of Disney books about all of my favorite characters. Every few weeks, we’d get a new book about Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Pete’s Dragon, or Robin Hood. Then, I’d drive my Mom crazy asking her to read them to me over and over and over. My favorite was a story about Mickey, Goofy, and Donald discovering an old haunted house, which really wasn’t haunted at all. It was being used by some bank robbers as a hideout and they captured Mickey, Goofy, and Donald, but Pluto managed to escape and bring the Sheriff, who saved the day.
Eventually I grew up and had three precious kids of my own. My mom gave me those books from my childhood and I started reading them to my kids, who locked onto the same book I’d loved as a kid. We read to them about that haunted house night after night, and those were some of the sweetest moments of my adult life.
We love to hold onto our favorite stories, reading and rehearsing them over and over. Sometimes, that’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s rather unhealthy.
Whatever you choose to focus on will have an effect on what you become in life. And just as importantly, the story you rehearse about what it is you’re focusing on will shape your character and your direction in life.
Some of the stories we rehearse are quite harmful to us emotionally and spiritually…
I’ll never be good enough.
I’ll never measure up.
I’ll always be broke, or stupid, or obese, or alone.
I’m unworthy of love.
I don’t deserve any better.
I’ll never be able to stop this sinful behavior.
Any of those sound familiar? Those negative always/never stories don’t reflect the truth about who God made you to be. God writes a much better story about you and spells it out in his word. Here’s a better story to rehearse:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith… For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
~ Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV
And here are the important details of that story that you can now repeat…
I was dead in sin, but now I’m alive!
God is rich in mercy!
God has brought me back to life in Christ!
I’m saved by grace!
I’ve been raised up with Christ!
I am seated in the heavenly realms in Christ!
I am God’s handiwork and masterpiece!
I can do hard things and good works!
You don’t always get to choose what happens to you. But you do get to choose 1.) what you focus on, and 2.) what story assign to what you’re focusing on. So focus on eternal truth. Focus on Christ and his love. Focus on people. And repeat biblical stories about yourself, about God, and about others, about your past and about your future.
After all, God is already rehearsing a better story about you.