Each of us is given a unique story to live. We don’t get to choose it. But we do get to choose how we will live it. The same is true for your kids.
Because God is a master storyteller, there will be darkness and light in all of our stories. Both are needed to make our story what it is. Think about it, when you go to the movies, the reason you get pulled in to the story is because of a challenge a character has to endure; an obstacle they have to overcome. The bad parts are what make the story so good.
But while we love watching great stories of other people, we find it difficult when God has one for us. It usually involves circumstances we don’t want combined with timing we wouldn’t choose- and who wants to sign up for that?
When we find the courage to embrace our story- the bad and the good- we set an example for our children to do the same.
Here are some thoughts on how to help them live their stories well:
1. Help them focus on their own story instead of looking at other people’s stories
In John 21 when Jesus gives Peter some not- so- great news about what’s going to happen to him, the first thing Peter does is point to John and say “But Lord, what about him?” When we go through tough times it’s tempting for us to do the same. In today’s culture, Facebook, Instagram and twitter make it tough for our kids not to constantly compare their lives with their friends. But if they stay focused on others’ stories, it can keep them from embracing the story God has for them. Remind your child that everyone is prettier, thinner, happier and more successful on Facebook then they are in real life. (Aren’t you?) You can also help your kids embrace their own story by highlighting the gifts, attributes and circumstances that make their story unique.
2. Help them see that difficulties will make their story even better
The bigger the challenge, the better the story. That’s true in life too. Adversity gives your children the opportunity to build faith muscles that will equip them to overcome future obstacles. God doesn’t waste pain- He will use it to make your child stronger, and to give your child a story that has the power to bring hope and healing to someone else. Their story is not just their own- and if they live it with courage, it will be used by God in the lives of other people. God has a purpose in everything we face!
3. Teach them “ middle of the story” theology
When something bad happens, we often think this is the end of the story. But from God’s perspective we are only in the middle! When your child faces heartbreak, disappointment or even tragedy, remind them that God is not finished with their story. Reading Joseph’s story in the Old Testament (Genesis 39-50) helps your children see the “long view” of life. So many times Joseph must have thought God had forgotten him, and yet his story was still being written! The same is true for your kids.
4. Live your own story well
What you live will always speak louder than what you say. Therefore, the way you face your own adversity is what will influence your kids most. Don’t let that depress you- David shows us throughout the psalms that it’s okay to be honest with God about our disappointment, as long as we keep holding on to Him. Your holding on will help your kids do the same.
The good news is, bigger the struggle is, the greater the joy will be when the struggle is through. And your faith (and your kids faith) will be changed because of it.
Questions to reflect on:
Is it hard to embrace your story right now? How about your child’s story? Was anything in this blog helpful for you?
Do you struggle with the social media comparison game? Do you worry about that with your kids? What (if anything) have you done to combat it?
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