All the humans that I know write stories about themselves in their heads. I’m not even going to evaluate whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’m pretty sure that it’s both. Just a human thing. We categorize ourselves in words, we categorize ourselves with favorite anecdotes, we categorize ourselves by our tastes and preferences. The story that we tell about ourselves, at least to ourselves, becomes well-worn, like a favorite coat.
But occasionally we realize that the narrative that we’re writing has become more fiction than fact. It is then time to readjust, to examine ourselves, to examine what we know to be true, to throw out some acid tests, and figure out who we really are. It is a good thing to reevaluate, it is healthy. And sometimes we change profoundly, and have to take on new words, new ways to describe ourselves.
During any evaluation, it is necessary to start with truth. I am never more grateful for my Bible than when I’m doing heavy thinking – I can slam my thoughts, my randomness, up against the Word and see what sticks and what boils off into nothingness. I am never more grateful for the Lord than when I weep in prayer and He refused to let me get away with lies… lies that I tell *myself*. It is no wonder that those who seek to find truth without Truth Himself get lost.
It’s good to test ourselves, to check to see that we are telling the truth about ourselves to ourselves. Because we change.
There’s something that our society has lost, the concept that adults continue to change and grow over a lifetime. If there is any understanding of that, it gets engulfed by the reinvention of self popularized by those who leave their commitments, their lives, to “find themselves”. (See above for the solution to that problem). This is a great pity. One is left to the extremes of one set of people who seem to think that they’re completed humans after about 30 or so, and the other set of people who run off the reservation.
Because life has stages, and you need to respect the stages. Just because I’m in one stage doesn’t invalidate the lessons I learned in another stage, or make it “bad”. It would be bad for me to remain in the stage that I have outgrown, it was not bad for me to live there when that’s where I was as a person.
I’m 44 now, so I’m officially “mid-life”. My kids are in their teens, or close to. Should I be mothering my kids the same way I did ten years ago? My wedding ring is old enough to order its own beer. Should I be the same kind of wife I was twenty years ago? Of course I’m a more efficient homemaker now. Shouldn’t I be?
It’s time to re-evaluate, to re-center, to stop telling myself the same things over and over again. Retreat to fact, and re-emerge, brushing fables off like spiderwebs, and blooming in new ways.
It’s time to tell a new story.