Story I'm telling myself

I can’t tell you how excited I am to write this blog post. For the past couple of months, I’ve been up to my elbows deep in research for the next book. It involves a million different things than what I’ve ever written about before and yet!

Yet the consistent thread between The Thin Line (more explanation on this title choice another time) and Bonnie’s stories of Tattooed by Jesus and Stories From the Jesus House is God’s hand. His hand in the daily prompting and the unique specificity of answering.

In Bonnie’s stories, we tell of God’s prompting outreach to people in desperate need. Physical needs. Emotional needs. Spiritual needs. In The Thin Line, we hope to tell of a detective who couldn’t ignore God’s promptings in a murder investigation. His personal faith and experiences caused him to pause and consider God’s promptings when he didn’t see things as the rest of the group did.

Both are local stories and both challenge me in the hearing and in the wisdom for the telling. Stay tuned, we hope to share more as we dive deeper into this next project.

Although we’re kicking up the energy for what’s next, I don’t want to ignore what’s just behind. We launched Stories From the Jesus House last Thursday at my favorite local hangout, The Coffee Hound. Bonnie Lentz sang and shared stories while we all delighted in the expectancy of what God will do through the sharing of His works. We were even lucky enough to have a few Jesus House folks join us. The strawberry rhubarb oat bars and coffee made the evening complete.

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Thank you to everyone who came! Thank you for buying books, for supporting us and for hanging out in the bookish world for the evening.

I recently finished a book that Patti recommended (and put in my hands saying you need to read this!) called “Never Unfriended” by Lisa-Jo Baker. This may just be my guide to all things friendship that I will refer to for the rest of my life. That is not even an exaggeration.

As I read, I felt my outlook on friendship being reset to a right position. I was like a wobbling vase about to tip on the tile and shatter yet rescued just before tumbling over. So many days I wish to be like my seven year old who only needs a soccer ball and space to run to make a friend.

Social media and the online world that now needs to be navigated in friendship has thrown me a curve, adding a new challenge to my already fragile friendship skills.

I cannot write about all of the insights I will take from this book, but I want to focus on the phrase Lisa-Jo gave me that is now on repeat in my mind. 

“The story I’m making up.”

Actually Brene Brown coined the phrase. However, Lisa-Jo expounds on the ways these exaggerated stories play out in friendship.

It doesn’t take much to start a new chapter in this fictional book. There’s the text response we haven’t immediately received, the picture we posted without any likes, the friend who didn’t say “hi” in the after-school pick-up line, just to get the story going.

Lisa-Jo affirmed I am not the only one who experiences one of these oddities and then formulates a reason in my head. Honestly, the reasoning my mind lands on is most often the most self-damning of all the possibilities. Not only does the reason pop into my mind, but all the narrative around it gets wild and even more self-incriminating than could actually be possible.

These are the narratives I make-up and tell myself. They morph from simple stories to a wild alternate anti-Angie world which could really only exist in a Mean Girls sequel. While I do love good stories, and believe fiction is often way more exciting than fact, making up a friend’s reasoning needs to end. Save the stories for the books. Find out the mundane truth in real-life.

“Sorry I didn’t see you!” or “I was nursing sick kids and never got on Facebook all day,” or “Didn’t you get my text response?”  

In her book, Lisa-Jo says, “Just because I think it, just because I feel it, doesn’t make it true. And sometimes the best way to figure out whether the story we’re telling ourselves in our head matches the reality that the other person is living is simply to ask them.”

Opening up the communication door – a shocking idea!

Guaranteed, there will be times when we rub each other the wrong way. We’re wired in unique and powerful ways. But the unique wiring does not equate malicious wiring.

Sometimes all it takes to reset communication and friendship is an admission of the story we’re telling ourselves.

I’m committing to not let the narrative in my mind run out of control when it comes to my friendships. Perhaps when I have a story bobbling around in my head, I may need to describe it to all the characters, let them add their details and understand the beauty in a shared story.