we should be out living where the river bends

one of my favorite parts of my job is hearing all of the stories that come through our church. on our website, we have a section titled, “share your story” where people can write out or film their story of what god’s doing in their life and send it in to us. when they press send, i’m the guy on the other end of the e-mail. i never know when these stories will come in so i get super excited anytime that i get an e-mail with “share your story” in the title.

while i love reading these stories, i sometimes get jealous of them. i know that sounds stupid, but it’s true. i have a “typical” story. i was a christian kid in a christian home, left the church before graduating high school, then came back after something didn’t go right. there was no foray into drugs or partying. there wasn’t this huge medical miracle. there wasn’t anything special. my story is about as normal as they get.

my story is completely different than charlie in the perks of being a wallflower.

he lost his best friend to suicide in 8th grade. his favorite aunt was killed. his story was much more depressing (and interesting) than mine. in one of his letters, he wrote:

my doctor said we can’t choose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there.

it’s amazing the impact that can be had with that mindset.

it doesn’t matter where you come from. it matters where you’re going.

it doesn’t matter that you made mistakes. it matters that you learn from them.

it doesn’t matter that you failed before. it matters what you’re doing now.

what we’ve done before is already done. we can’t change it. we can’t take it back. there are no do overs. what we can do, however, is focus on a point in the future and choose to go after it. we can set goals and pursue them like crazy.

we can choose where we are going.

we may not know how to get there, but the destination is up to us.

i chose last summer to finally get serious about losing weight. from the last week of june until the first week in november, i dropped 34 pounds. i was super proud of myself. i was finally starting to look and feel the way that i had always wanted to. i was only 11 pounds away from my goal that i thought was the biggest thing in the world.

then the holidays hit.

then i got busy at work.

then i gained 19 of the 34 pounds back.

if it were up to me, i never would’ve chosen to gain the 19 pounds back. i can’t change that though. it happened. i get on the scale and i see that it happened. that leaves me with a choice: accept that the 19 pounds heavier version of me is just who i am or change what i’m doing and lose the 19 pounds again.

i have painful shin splints anytime i work out. the easy thing for me to do would be to say this is who i am and stop working out. it’d be easy to say that my body can handle working out right now so i don’t need to do it. it wouldn’t hurt nearly as much. i wouldn’t have to sit in bed with ice packs tied around my shins. i could eat whatever i wanted. my life would be easier.

but that’s not the life that i want.

great things are rarely easy.

what’s your story? where have you been? where did you come from? did you make mistakes? was it hard? do you have regrets? chances are there were, it was, and you do. here are the more important questions:

where do you want to go?

who do you want to be?

what do you want to accomplish?

in case no one has ever told you this before, let me be the first to say it: you are not your past mistakes. they do not define you. if you’re breathing, your story is still being written. what do you want it to say?

we can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we going from there.

where are you going?

how are you getting there?

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.

-jonathan

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