What’s the Plot Line of Your Journey?

 

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.What does your current journey look like?

Do you sometimes look around and think you would rather be on someone else’s’ journey? A journey with fewer twists and turns?

Or wish your journey liked a little more like Instagram? More beach days and less mess days.

We may wish for a perfect life of calm and no major swings in either direction, but our journey through this life is messy, full of lessons, conflicts, ups and downs.

There is no one in the Bible with a Pinterest life. I have never read a memoir where the main character had an Instagram life. No one I currently know has a perfectly smooth life.

I doubt you or I will be the first ones.

 

The plot line of life. Everyone has one in this journey of life. 

 

Everyone has trials, conflict, and troubles. Bible characters. Major and minor characters in novels. People in magazines, movies, and television shows.

It’s called the plot. And what makes the plot interesting and keeps us watching or reading is the plot line, which consists of conflict, partial resolution, more conflict, some resolution, a new conflict, and then another new and bigger conflict. Up and down the story goes. Pulling us in. Getting us concerned for the characters. Wanting to know the outcome for the characters. And finally, at the end of the plot, there is big resolution and we can sigh and smile and be happy for everyone involved. And on that happy note the book ends.

That plot line with conflict and resolution that we find in movies and books, well, that is our life. Our Journey.

Up and down we go on the plot line. Conflict and resolution taking turns.

Some conflict we bring upon our self through our choices and actions, some conflict is caused by others. Some conflict just arrives from nowhere, and some comes from natural disasters, disease, and chance.

Up and down on the plot line of life we go. Just like the characters in a novel.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.

Life is a journey. Things to remember about your journey and your plot line:

 

1. We have some control over our journey. We get to choose our actions and reactions. While we can’t control other characters or the future, we get to be in charge of ourselves.

2. We know some things about this plot line. We have an enemy. We have a lover, comforter, and Savior. We have a helper living inside us. We know we will never be forsaken for any reason. We know the glorious ending and who wins this cosmic battle. We know our marching orders: love God and others.

3. Our journey is supposed to change us, improve us, develop us into better characters. Just like characters in a book are supposed to change because of the conflict they face, so we too need to change.

In literature class you may have done a character analysis paper. Where you pick one character from the story and explain how the character changed and grew, how they developed or what they learned. In other words, how the plot caused them self-awareness or necessitated change in them.

Some characters change for the good, like Anne in Ann of Green Gables. Some characters change for the worse, like Fagin In Oliver Twist. Those that don’t change, are stagnant and flat characters.

4. Our journey will have peaks and valleys. We get through the valleys as best as we can. Not perfectly, or prettily, or knowing exactly what we are doing, but we get through and learn how to better handle the next valley. We look back and see God’s hand and his walking beside us in the valleys. And as time goes by, we begin to understand how better to approach the valleys and know that they too will end sometime in the future, but none of us get perfect at traversing them.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.5. Don’t judge another person’s journey. You never see all the peaks and valleys their life contains or the plot line that developed character growth.

6. A perpetually happy ending is a myth. We think some day we will arrive. Be mature. Know it all. Be able to relax and watch others battle, but that is a myth. We will only arrive to a perpetually happy ending on the other side of eternity.

7. God will finish the journey with you. He promises he won’t give up on you until you make it past the finish line.

8. While we are the main characters in our stories, our story is not ultimately all about us. Not all about our glory. Because if we are Christians, the story ultimately comes to be about him, to point others to him, to glorify him. That is why we surrender our will to his will. Our way to his way. Our dreams to his dreams for us.

9. We are never alone on our journey. God is working behind the scenes, providing the courage and strength, the will to change and keep going.

What does your plot line look like?

Your character analysis?

We are on a journey of love, growth, faith, hope, and endurance.

Enjoy your journey.

We look forward to that day when there will be no more conflict and resolution. Where our plot line is steady. Because one day we will be living in a perfect world.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What does your current plot line look like?

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.All pictures, except flower pictures taken at:

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.At the Volcanoes National Park It was pretty weird to see acres and acres that turned into miles of recent stark black lava. No plants. Just dried and hardened lava that once flowed and bubbled. I imagined it was what some planet looked like. Maybe Mars. It was so desolate. But keep driving to a little older flow and you start to see greenery. It doesn’t take long, before bushes, trees, and plants are growing here and there on this hard rock. Gaining a foothold. Growing despite the lava base. And over time, the landscape is transformed into a lush tropical landscape. And your wouldn’t know that it was lava instead of dirt, unless you bent down and tried to dig the black base that is nourishing the plants. We may currently see only the barren black hard lava in our life. But God can plant seeds that one day turn into a tropical paradise. And when he looks at us, he doesn’t see our barren parts, but the tropical paradise we can become.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.

Getting Through the Tube

 

Sometimes the past sneaks up and bonks you on the head with a two-by-four and you are left gasping for breath and life.

When I checked in at the clinic there was no warning sign of what lay ahead. Nor was my memory yelling stop.

Maybe because the lady who checked me in had red hair and lots of freckles. Just like me. In fact I couldn’t help looking at all her freckles and wondering who had more. When she asked me to hold out my wrist so she could slip a plastic identification bracelet around it, I joked and asked if that was because they were afraid I might faint and they needed to know who to call?

I wandered back to radiology and changed into a gown. One of those lovely green looking cotton gowns that have faded to nothing more than a few strings with tissue paper fabric from all the washings.

So far no warnings. Maybe because the receptionist had said that there had been great improvements in MRI’s. Maybe because it had also been a busy day and there hadn’t been time to think about the procedure.

Daniel, my technician, came to fetch me from my cubicle and we walked into the large and rather dim radiology room.

He had me take a seat on the long tongue like bed of the machine, joking with me and asking me questions. He velcro-ed a plastic upraised shoulder pad type thing around my right shoulder, saying this was to hold my shoulder in place during the MRI.

I lay down and he placed a squeezable sand pillow in my right hand saying that it would keep my arm in place and give my hand something to do.

That should have been clue number one.

Why did my hand need something to grab onto?

He placed a plastic bulb in my left hand, telling me to squeeze it if I had an emergency

That was clue two, for those counting.

An emergency? That did not sound good. And what kind of emergency was he talking about?

I was going to ask, but he distracted me by asking what kind of music I liked to listen to. Then he was placing ear phones over my ears and telling me he would see me in 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes? It takes that long?

I was beginning to panic a little, and then I remembered what the receptionist had said. Things had changed a lot in the last 20 some years since I had had my last MRI.

I was wondering how much things had changed, when the bed started sliding into the metal tube.  Suddenly I realized I had not taken a look at the machine. That I had forgotten what a MRI was like. That I had not prepared myself for this.

It was too late. My bed was sliding inside and unless I screamed out bloody murder and squeezed my panic button, this MRI was going down. And it was going down right now.

My eyes darted around and I realized the tube was about three inches from my face. Gulp. I quickly closed my eyes, knowing there was no way I was going to be able to keep them open and not go crazy with claustrophobia.

Music started blaring in my ears as I felt the bed eaten by the tube. I pulled my arms closer to the sides of my body as the metal sides slid against them.

I am being eaten alive, I thought.

This is what my coffin will feel like, only it will hopefully be softer, I thought.

I can’t do this, I thought.

And then memories of my first MRI rushed into my mind in full blazing color and I knew they had put the wrist band on me, not in case I passed out, but in case I died of fright in the tube.

It was after our terrible car accident. I had a broken back and other injuries and I needed an MRI.  Orderlies came to my room, where I had been installed only an hour earlier, and slid me  from my hospital bed to the gurney. At radiology they slid me onto the MRI table and strapped me to the table. While inside the whirling machine, I started to feel bile rise and I frantically squeezed the panic button. Up it came. Suddenly I was trying to lift my head and claw myself out of there. By the time the table slid out I was throwing up. I couldn’t sit up because of my back and being strapped to the bed. All I could do was turn my head and throw up on myself.

As I lay there with my eyes squeezed tight enough to give the rest of my face a lift, all I could think about was me panicking, throwing up, and trying to get out of the tube as quickly as possible.

I took some deep breaths and closed my eyes even tighter. Maybe if I didn’t open them, I wouldn’t know I was here. The whirling and clacking of the machine told me otherwise.

Breathe, I told myself.

Lord help me, I repeated over and over.

One song down. Maybe 6 more to go.

Breathe.

Calm down, or you will have to start all over again.

For twenty torturous minutes, I lay there wishing I was anywhere but in a loud whirling and beeping tube. I tried my best not to panic. Tied to not remember my first experience. Tied not to get claustrophobic. Tied to remember that this too shall end. Tied to remember to breathe. Relax.

The machine would stop whirling, and I would think, it’s done, and then it would start beeping so loud my rings were vibrating on my fingers. Actually, my fillings and whole body seemed to be vibrating. Then silence would descend and I could hear the music again. Then the whirling and swooshing would start up. These sequence felt like it was stuck on repeat.

I remembered stories of people being buried alive. Of people digging up coffins and seeing scratch marks on the lid. Of people being buried with a string on their finger that ran to a bell.

I counted the songs and decided at three minutes a song that only seven songs were necessary.

I told myself to breathe. And chanted, Help me Lord.

I wondered if I would be able to get out if the electricity shut down.

I wondered how long 20 minutes was.

I kept telling myself. just one more song. Hold on for just one more song.

I wondered how quickly I could crawl out backwards. And if I would fall on the floor.

I wondered how long it would take for Daniel to back me out of the machine after I pushed the panic button.

I wondered all sorts of things. None of them serene and pretty. And at regular intervals I kept chanting, Lord, help me.

You probably know I survived because I am writing this. I am happy to say I did not give myself a concussion trying to raise my head and scoot myself out of there.

Eventually I felt the bed moving out. I finally allowed my fingers to relax their petrified grip and my eyes to jump open when the bed stopped moving. I was free at last from the confines of the metal tube. What sweet relief I felt.

I had imagined jumping off and kissing the floor. Or maybe fainting from all the tension and excitement. But I did neither. Which was a little anti-climatic. I instead kept my cool, got dressed. and collapsed in my car. Sitting there for a while until I felt I could safely drive.

Getting through hard times. Remembering what’s important. 

 

I am sure you have had periods of life that felt like this. Where your eyes are squeezed tightly shut and all the’ what if’s’ are running through your brain. Where you are holding on for dear life just trying to breathe through the trials of life. Where you feel you are stuck in a whirling metal cage that is eating you alive and killing you with claustrophobia.

I have.

You may even be there now.

I am telling you that eventually the whirling and beeping stop and you are allowed to hear again. The darkness will turn to light. Your bed will slide from the tunnel vision prison.

It may not feel like it now as you are holding on for dear life thinking you are being swallowed up by life and its weight. But eventually all rides end.

Remember to breathe. To calm your thoughts. To focus on hope, joy, and grace. To keep your eyes fixed on him, even if all you can say is, Help me Lord. Because while we might feel abandoned, he is there in the tube with us. Helping and calming us. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when we feel alone.

After the MRI when Daniel asked how I had done, I told him that all I could think of was my first MRI and throwing up.

Well you didn’t appear panicked, he said. You did just fine.

I hadn’t done it well or perfectly or even prettily, but I had survived and gotten through.

And that is what you have to do. Don’t worry about doing it right, or perfectly, or knowing all the answers. You are in survival mode, just trying to get through the next 10 minutes. Don’t try to figure it out. Just breathe. Get through it.

You are not expected to have all the answers as you traverse this uncharted territory. You just need to get through the tube. That’s the goal. Because life and light are waiting on the other side.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important!

Theresa

 



Need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.



Join the Discussion: How do you keep from panicking when in the dark tubes of life? Any specific tips? 

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope),  Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Living in a Different Land and Reality

I watch my son build a Lego city. A round parking garage takes shape. High rises sprout around the city with various roof top designs. One triangular, one tall and spiky, one with a fly through. A park is installed in the middle of the city, which sits alongside a riverfront.

We talk about the city. Together add various Lego shaped blocks to building tops.

He adds some Lego people.

The city grows.

It looks believable.

But does it look believable enough to join the world?

Would you want to stop your current life and live in a Lego City?  How about a Lego movie?

Lego chicken legs and plastic white coffee cups anyone? Maybe try a hard slice of Lego pizza?

Come on, sleeping on a Lego bed is not that hard when you have a Lego spine. Nor is sitting in a Lego chair that difficult when you have Lego knees.

Now try and walk with your Lego legs. Pretty disjointed. And finer motor skills are reduced with your Lego elbows and gripper hands.

Come on. Don’t tell me that you are giving up already and heading back to planet earth, your comfortable zone?

Most of us do not want to live in a world created by ourselves or others. A movie set. A miniature doll house. A comic book. Disney World.

All these created worlds have limitations and drawbacks. No world created by man is as good or better than our own world.

Yet Jesus came and lived in his created world, not as God, but as a man. He came to live in a world with many limitations he was not used to. Gravity, air, laws of nature, time constraints, pain and suffering, illness, death, sin, decay, childhood and aging, war and hate. These things do not exist in his world—a world so perfect we can’t even begin to imagine.

He came to this world not only to experience all those limitations, but to experience what it was like to be human. To be one of his created beings going through all the stages of life, including birth and death.

And not just for a few weeks, or days, but for thirty some years he lived as a human in this once perfect world he had created. He experienced all the emotions of a human. He saw first-hand how man had changed his world for the worse, how his animals were treated, how man degraded and regarded other humans. He saw the laws humans put upon other humans. Noticed those living in excess and poverty. He personally experienced the sinful world and understood how deeply we needed his salvation. Heard the creation groaning for change.

We cannot say that he does not know what it is like to be a human. To live as a child under the rule of parents, a man under the rule of government. To learn to eat with utensils, to be potty trained, to do chores, learn to read,. He saw loved ones die; experienced hate and anger, love, and fear; was kind to those who mistreated him, experienced pain and cruelty; knew life and its problems and routine in so many ways. He felt every emotion, yet never sinned.

So as Christmas moves closer and we celebrate this time where Jesus came to earth as a baby, let’s think about how remarkable it really was for a creator to join and live amongst his creation. To experience all the normal limitations, we live with daily.

And if you are wondering if you are loved. I mean truly loved by your creator, think about what he did for you by doing the unthinkable — by coming into this imperfect world as a human. Think about how he truly knows what it is to be a human and live with problems amid the consequences of sin.

Think anything you might tell him will shock him? He has seen it all. Heard it all.

He lived in a family and community. He had neighbors. He knows joy and sorrow, despair and beauty, bickering and love. He lived on earth so he could be our brother; our advocate; our savior.  He joined us in this beautiful but messy journey called life so he could better understand us, better serve us, and better love us.

He came into this different world, this different reality, for you.

Join the Discussion: What are you thinking about this Christmas season? What land or reality would you like to live in?