Second Journeys & Story
Neither your life or mine is a random series of events we collect throughout our lifetime. Our lives are a well-developed story, perhaps the truest we can know. Our story is the one thing that most influences and shapes our outlook and interactions in this world. It filters how we see and engage in relationships; how we understand our identity and make conclusions about who we are; how we hope, dream, and believe; and how we navigate and interpret times of trial. The problem is, most us don’t know how to read our life in a way that reveals our story. We miss the deeper meaning of the themes woven into our life, and in so doing we miss a deeper understanding of our life and the purposes that God has written into it.
Second Journeys can serve as a wakeup call to our story. A kind of blaring of a trumpet or crashing of a vase that calls for our attention and alerts us to be wide-eyed and open to what is happening around us. These Second Journeys typically begin with tension, an adversity, big or small, that rattles our understanding of who we are and how we have known life to be. They come in many forms…cancer, breakups, discouragement, church conflict, abuse, loss, depression, loneliness. The adversity that they bring introduces us to ourselves in a new way. Life as we had assumed it to be is altered or no longer. We are left unbalanced and searching for new meaning to our story in a way that only Second Journeys can invite. The difficulty they present; however, is also our lifeline for growth. We are all wired to grow and yet growth requires us to be stretched beyond our comfort levels and static understandings. This is the gift of Second Journeys.
Our Second Journeys present us with a choice. We can avoid their distress by pushing them aside and/or plowing through them, or we can bravely engage them despite how painful they may be. To engage them we must feel and listen to them, paying attention to how we have storied them with heartache and hope…life is hard, my parents neglected me, I’m all alone, I won’t let anything hurt me, I want someone to care, I long to feel joy. Our meanings we discover in these narratives provide us with the only part of our story that we have the power to alter. We cannot change our tragedies or the characters in them, but we can write new understandings and perspectives into our story that redefine who we are and the nature of God and the world around us. This is the hope of Second Journeys.
Second Journey’s invite us to a “Larger Story.” The tensions they present intensify our longing for something more, something bigger than ourselves, and they cause us to lean in and listen to the bigger questions that are set inside us…Is there a God?... Do I have a purpose?... Is life random and aimless? It is imperative to search for the deeper meanings that arise from our Second Journeys as ultimately it is not I who must be found, but God. Faith bids us to consider God’s authorship of our life at these junctures and prompts to write new meaning into our story. God calls us to co-author our stories with Him according to the themes and purposes he has penned within us, and as we do it marks us as a character in the larger story He is writing. In our God stories character and perseverance are forged through trials; the pain of brokenness and tragedies can bring forth life, growth, and a greater hope. A Larger Story emerges that encompasses our own and as it does, love, strength, grace, and goodness become greater than heartache, confusion, betrayal, and loss. As our lives are authored and lived in this way we find we are free and our light outshines the darkness. This is the redemption of Second Journeys.
You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness. When we deny our story, it defines us. When we own our story, we can write a brave new ending.” ~ Brene’ Brown