Our mess

Do you read fiction?

Here’s why it matters. Walk into a room and lecture 25 people for an hour and what will they remember? The one story you told about the pilot caught in a death spiral.

We keep a quote in our office that captures the power of story:

Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures (Jessamyn West).

Fiction is great because it shows how things turn out. The hero makes a mess of things, but finds redemption in the end. Life is like that.

We can’t even count the times we’ve failed in thought, word, and deed. Poor planning, skimpy prep, bad counsel, ill treatment, self-serving agendas, careless risks, hurtful words, prideful acts, zero gifting, and on and on. A guy once came to our school and gave a hilarious talk about the person he’d least like to share a deserted island with. Himself.

But it’s all good because of one thing. God redeems everything. You walk into a room full of students and give a terrible lesson. You’re tired, ill-prepared, and coming off a bad week. The students slouch, text, and whisper to friends. Driving home afterwards, humiliated, you vow never to do that again.

Then, a few months later, you meet some girl who’s been reading her Bible steadily and growing in her faith . . . because you mentioned it in your lesson. In fact, her friends are doing the same thing.

Imagine that.

Jesus thanked God for a sack lunch and fed thousands with it. He creates redemptive stories out of our best (and not so best) attempts. It’s all good.

Our lives are better stories than we think. And there’s nothing fictitious about them.