When Rewrites Go Wrong: The problem with editing out the letdowns in life
When I was just out of college, I housesat for an actress in Los Angeles. One afternoon, her dog ransacked the bedroom and shredded up whatever he could get his teeth on: blankets, books, and to my horror, an audition script for a TV show. I was young, not yet a Christian, and too embarrassed by the incident to say anything about it. I replaced the blankets and books, but had no clue how to find a replacement script. I pieced together what I could and re-typed it. The only problem was my little poochie friend had eaten several pieces of the script, leaving gaping holes in the story. So I improvised. I guessed what lines came next, typed them in and slipped the pages back into the binder. Done.
I don’t think she got the job. Maybe she never auditioned. Maybe she wasn’t a good fit for the part. Or maybe, for some strange reason, she just couldn’t get her lines right.
“Stick to the script, sweetheart. Just stick to the script.”
I’ve never been to a Hollywood audition, but I suspect that showing up with a rewritten script is frowned upon.
We all like to write our own scripts though, don’t we? It’s been going on since the days of Adam and Eve. Apple, anyone?
For a long time, my script included getting married right out of college, kids a few years later, six-figure job by age 30, second home by 40, and retirement by 50. It isn’t quite turning out the way I had written it in my head. I didn’t get married until I was in my 30s. My husband and I struggled to start a family, and unless you count the portable PlayHut in my living room, we still have only one home. (First-world tragedy, I know.)
My story has actually played out better than I could have asked or imagined, even without that second home. But still, I keep trying to write my own script: one without pain or conflict. One in which everything is perfect, easy and beautiful. In my story, hearts don’t get broken, miscarriages don’t happen, my kids don’t throw tantrums at Target and the cashier is always sunny and cheerful. Who wouldn’t want to live that story, right?
But recently God showed me that some things are missing from the perfect little script I keep trying to write and rewrite.
Hope. Redemption. Healing. Resurrection.
In a word: Him.
In striving to write my own perfect story, I wrote out the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Without struggle or conflict or pain, there was no need for hope, redemption, healing, or resurrection. I left no role for the Great Redeemer and edited out the God of All Comfort. I gave a bit part to the Wonderful Counselor and completely eliminated any need for a Savior.
Not only was I writing a piece of fiction, my efforts were in vain. The Psalmist tells me that “all the days ordained for me were written in God’s book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).
Ah, but that still doesn’t stop me from trying to make up my own story, especially when I come face to face with trouble. Never mind that Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble” (John 16:33). When the going gets tough, I get writing, erasing, and editing. It’s not an elaborate story. It’s simply one in which I avoid pain, loss, conflict, disappointment, despair and grumpy cashiers. Everything moves along at a blissful pace with clock-like perfection. At least that’s what it looks like in my mind. In reality, trying to draft my own reality has caused me to stay in bad relationships, live beyond my means, resist change, run from God and, just like Peter, deny Him three times before the rooster crowed.
I can empathize with Peter. Can you? Things weren’t looking so good as he warmed himself by that fire (John 18:25-27). When he denied Christ, he was essentially trying to write himself out of God’s greater script. The conflict and tension had gotten to be more than he could stomach, and he wanted out. I’m sure all of the disciples wanted out. When Jesus died on the cross, I’m willing to bet every single one of them thought that everything had gone horribly wrong.
But for all of humanity, the cross proved to be the moment when things started to go right. Where transformation happened and a triumphant resolution resounded. That’s where the story got Good.
Is there some part of your story that seems to be going wrong?
Know that God is not done yet. The show is not over. “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God will not give up on you. He will not forget you. He keeps track of your sorrows, collects your tears in His bottle, and records each one in His book (Psalm 56:8). He binds up your wounds and gives you a reason to hope that your darkest moment is not the end. In God’s story, the tomb of despair always contains the linen strips of hope and resurrection. Out of the conflict, tension, and suffering, something beautiful rises up and walks out—victorious.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
Streams in the wasteland.
Who can orchestrate a story like that but God? He is the Author, Director, Producer and Hero. Are you allowing Him to play His part? Or are you trying to rewrite the story?
Maybe some dog has ripped up your script and left a gaping hole in your heart. Maybe it’s the loss of a relationship, the death of a dream, or letdown after letdown after letdown. Life isn’t what you thought it would be. Whatever it is, don’t try to rewrite the script. No matter how hard we try, we can’t author a story that has the power to save, heal, redeem and bring what’s dead back to life. Only He can do that. He is a better Author, Editor and Perfecter than we could ever aspire to be.
Stick to His script.
Ask Him to fill any holes in your heart with hope, healing, redemption and resurrection. Let Him be your God of All Comfort, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Great Redeemer, and Almighty Savior.
I promise you; He’s perfect for the part.
[JESUS]: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Pray It Out:
Father, You are the Master Author, Everlasting Editor and Almighty Hero. Thank You that You do not write bad stories or tall tales. Give me the strength and humility to put down my pen and lift up my eyes to You, so that I can see the beauty in my story and Your presence in my life, even through disappointments, letdowns and heartaches. Thank You that because of the Cross, happily-ever-after isn’t just for fairy tales.
by Michele de Miranda with Shabby Chic Ministries
For more from Michele and Shabby Chic Ministries, host a Fashion Your Weapons event challenging your women’s group toward becoming radiant chandeliers for Christ in your city. Come follow us as we follow Christ: FB / Twitter / Pinterest