My friend asked me if I had ever read anything by Jen Hatmaker the day before her book, Interrupted, arrived on my doorstep.
Coincidence? I think not!
Anyway, I had only made it halfway through Chapter One when I was slapped in the face with this glorious piece of honesty:
“I am still stunned by my capacity to spin Scripture, see what I wanted, ignore what I didn’t, and use the Word to defend my life rather than define it.”
So much conviction packed into that one sentence. We humans are astounding in our treachery, no? We read the Bible with our blinders on, seeing only what we are looking to find instead of opening our hearts to what God might want to say to us.
It reminds me of the movie Bedtime Stories, where the stories Adam Sandler tells his niece and nephew become his reality for the following day. After surviving a hailstorm of gumballs, Uncle Skeeter gets a bright idea: He is going to tell stories that have the potential to make his life considerably better.
But there’s a twist Skeeter hasn’t caught onto despite the raining gumballs. Only the details the children add to the story come true. And the kids unknowingly create some pretty interesting scenarios for their poor Uncle Skeeter.
I never thought I would find myself saying I relate with Adam Sandler, but in this case, I do. Here I am, weaving a story for myself, trying to spin life to my own favor, when God shakes things up with a few added details. Next thing I know, I’m just going about my day, trying to catch a break… when suddenly I get kicked by an angry dwarf.
Oh, come on, God! Are you serious? What was that?
The irony of Bedtime Stories is that the kids ultimately create an even better ending than Skeeter had in mind for himself. I guess I can only trust that God has a better ending for me than the one I would create with my two, flawed hands.
Because I’ve searched the Bible regarding certain situations before, looking for loopholes and hoping to spin the Word in my favor. (The Bible can be pretty vague at times.)
Then I realized I was doing exactly what Jen Hatmaker explained in Interrupted.
I was using the Word to defend my life rather than define it.
But God was still winning because, try as I may to write my own ending, God had other plans. Better plans. And I never had as much control as I let myself believe I did.
Yes, I’ve been spinning my stories, but only the details God approved came to pass. And those details have made for some pretty interesting adventures.
I wouldn’t trade this journey for the life I thought I wanted. I have been wrong too many times about the things I thought would bring me joy. No, sir, God is doing just fine as director of this little mess called life.
So instead of trying to defend the story I’ve crafted in my own imagination, I’m going to let my life be redefined by the Master Storyteller—the One who believes in magical things like raining gumballs.