Your life is a story. How are you living it? How can you find hope and joy in the story of your life?
Five Days in Another World
For five days I entered another world–the world of fiction at the recent American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference, my second time to attend. I stepped into the world of heroes and villains, of kings and queens, of romance and princes, of crime and suspense, of historical and speculative, of life and death and happily ever afters. Mine was a breathtaking ride, one that left me exhausted but excited, motivated and inspired.
Living in a fantasy world will do that. And others who attended either answered the “call” to write or questioned it, refused it or embraced it, just like the characters in our fiction stories. That world may have challenged some to move beyond their comfort zone, to retreat to their shells, or to press on with persistence and amazement, determined to conquer this brave new world, clinging to a divine hand of encouragement.
I’ve lived in that world for a couple of years as I’ve crossed over into the other world writing a fiction novel, with one foot still planted in the “real” world of writing non-fiction.
Fiction and Reality: Are They the Same?
As I returned home to my real world and left that fantasy sphere at the fiction conference behind, I realized those two worlds are not so different after all. I’ve lived in both worlds all my life. No, not as I escaped into the adventures of reading fiction, though those books have taken me around the world and back.
No, I returned home to (and live in) a world of reality, where hearts bleed with the pain of death and divorce, where illness creeps in the back door to consume, where sticky fingers tug on mothers’ jeans, and pink slips are handed out like peppermint candy. It’s a world of homelessness and confusion, of evil and destruction, a place where dreams smolder beneath the ashes of disappointment. I returned to the real world, only to realize the two are the same, fiction and reality.
We Who Craft Stories Are Just Like You
We who craft words and stories for a living are just like you, who are readers and inhabitants of this real world. Like you, we struggle. Like you, we hurt. Like you, we fail. But as we write in touch with the One who created this amazing world and our “story,” we know that our characters live and breathe the same air as you. They hurt, too, and sometimes even die. They cry like you. But they also laugh and love and pursue a bigger, better life.
Our worlds are the same for you as a layperson as they are for us as fiction writers. Our characters put on flesh and dress up in our emotions. They invade our worlds and remind us that heroes do live here; romances do happen; victories can be won, if only in our hearts.
As writers, we inspire; we challenge; we prod, and we push you, the reader–our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members–to rise above the din and the voices of defeat, to open your eyes to “another world,” one we don’t classify as fiction after all. Why?
Are There Happily Ever Afters in the Real World?
Because the real world does have a happily ever after, a Prince who pursues, a King who conquers. It’s the romance of the ages.
Justice will prevail. Sorrow will end. Wrong will be righted. Healing will come. Those who know the King, those who live humbly and triumphantly as His faithful servants, those who understand and love the One who hands out scandalous grace in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times–these are the ones who have already entered the real world some call fantasy or fiction. Indeed it is another world. But in that world, what appears as fiction is reality. We do find hope and joy. And we do live happily ever after.
Your life is a story to be told, and God is still writing it. Whether you are a writer or not, tell your story. Live your story. Enjoy your story. It’s not over until it’s over. And even then, because of Jesus, the final chapter will become the first one–the story you were meant to live in the first place.
Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the story of your love” (Psalm 89:1-2, MSG).
We spend our years as a tale that is told, (Psalm 90:9, KJV).
My Personal Prayer for You
Lord, thank you for introducing me to the world of fiction. Thank you for intersecting it with my “real” world. Whether anyone ever reads my written story or not, let whatever I write encourage others, truly paint hope and joy on the hearts of others, and most of all, honor You. Let me be a reflection of You and a light that guides others to Your kingdom.
And for those who read this prayer, Lord bless their lives with incredible joy in the face of disappointment, hope in the midst of uncertainty, and faith to keep on believing. Let them live their stories with confidence and assurance that You will transform even the impossible circumstance into good. Help them to see you bigger, and that You love them more than they can possibly imagine.
Help us all to live our stories well, knowing that You will complete them perfectly, as we place our hands in Yours.
Find Hope and Joy in the Story of Your Life
How are you living your story? How have you found hope and joy in the story of your life?