Narratives We Live By


What is the overarching narrative upon which you model your life?

Many of us, consciously or not, run our lives according to the the American Dream. If we get a good education, work hard, save our money, then we will rise in the world, leave a mark, and enjoy retirement looking back over our well lived lives.

Some people feel it’s their responsibility to fix injustices, oppression, discrimination, and problems of all sorts in this world. The world needs those people, and I wish there were more of them, but even if they could repair a tiny spot of the world, I’m sorry to say that it would eventually become wrecked again.

Others feel that this life is all there is, so their highest goal is to live it to the max. Fun, success, travel, money, and love are the end of their desires.

Of course, there are political narratives that also influence our lives. In the United States those narratives are growing more polarized and, in my opinion, absurd. Both the right and left have dug so deeply into their positions that their eyesight is now limited to the walls of the tunnels that they have bulldozed. Their idea of progress is to pitch more dirt over on the other side.

The narratives above presume my first world perspective, which makes me wonder how people in North Korea, Venezuela or in a Syrian refugee camp would answer that question. They would probably respond with a blank stare and say that their goal is simply to survive today, and then again tomorrow.

Is there one narrative that applies to us all?

What if this life is only the first baby step of our existence? The stories of our lives are being written and our mortal lives are just their introductions. I believe that the American Dreamer, the World Fixer, the Hedonist, the Political Junkie and the Simply Survivor are all short sighted visions of life.

The Biblical narrative is that God loves me even though I am a sinner, Jesus died for me and gave his perfect life in exchange for my sinful one, and that I am being transformed into one who is more and more like Jesus. Jesus is the goal; not riches, not an easy retirement, not a perfect world, not even surviving tomorrow.

Just Jesus. Forever.

It’s difficult to grasp living forever, and it’s easy to understand how this life grabs the focus of most of our thoughts, plans and dreams. I suspect God means for it to be that way, for he has told us little about what eternity will be like. We know that we will live in a new earth, in perfect resurrected bodies and that there will be no more death, tears or pain.

Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:3-4

The “old order of things” are the lives we’re living now, and for all eternity we will be living lives that we cannot begin to imagine. Somehow God will use this old order life to prepare us, transform us and to generate hope for our eternal future. God, who never changes, will stay the same.

Live your life purposefully for the glory of the Lord. Plan, dream and work. But don’t forget that the narrative of your life is being written by God and it will extend far beyond the confines of this world.

What do you imagine eternity with God to be like?

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God is Working – Even if We’re Clueless

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Recently I’ve had several conversations about the state of our country that have ended with a bewildered shrug. We clearly see a problem or concern, but the answer seems impossible.  No one knows what to do about it. The conversation … Continue reading

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My Eternal Bucket List

Talk of bucket lists elicits thoughts of adventurous activities like skydiving or mountain climbing or traveling to exotic places.

While I understand the human desires and goals expressed in bucket lists, and even the wisdom of writing them down and remembering them, bucket lists seem a little short-sighted to me.

Read the rest of this article here at The Perennial Gen.


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Above the Confusion

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Confusion happens. When information doesn’t make sense, when both sides of a story are compelling or when there are too many options to make an easy choice possible, I’m confused. It takes me a while to sort through complexity, get the … Continue reading

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Losing My Voice, Finding Humility

I was studying the Bible, teaching what I learned, leading a class full of people that I genuinely loved and had just finished a master’s degree in Communication and Culture. I felt like I had arrived. I would use my voice to the glory of God.

Then everything changed.

A stroke and a change in my teaching role caused me to lose confidence in my voice. See the full article at The Perennial Gen.

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When the Culture Leads the Church

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Once in a while, the culture arrives at where the church should already have been. The evangelical church tends to characterize the culture as the enemy of truth, and that is accurate in many respects. The world is driven by … Continue reading

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Forgiveness and Hope

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of forgiveness? I tend to think of people who have forgiven the impossible. Usually, we hear of such stories in the news, we marvel at it for … Continue reading

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Do Refugees Cost Too Much?

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Many Americans believe that refugees take jobs away from citizens who need them and take resources away from disadvantaged Americans. Is that true? I started to google “do refugees take our jobs?” and when I entered “do refugees…” the following … Continue reading

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The Good Old Days

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I remember my dad muttering, “highway robbery!” when forced to pay 29 cents a gallon for gas on vacation. I admit to thinking I’ve been robbed when seeing a medical bill. My college statements gave a low four digit number … Continue reading

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Cold Days, Free Days, Thankful Days

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Many of us in Chicago have been given two free days. Schools are not in session, so I’m not working, and my husband is, at this moment, in a Zoom meeting in the dining room since no one has left … Continue reading

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