I’m a storyteller. You’re a storyteller. Our lives revolve around the stories we tell ourselves, and the ones we allow into our minds and hearts. This is the case – whether it’s fact or fiction, true or false. An inconvenient truth is always going to be less desirable than an attractive lie. Hollywood is living proof of this and is the go-to example whenever people want to emphasise the difference between how we want life to be and how it really is. In the world of movies, life is simple; in the real world, it’s complicated. What both of these worlds share is a narrative: a journey from one place in life to the next, with a protagonist at its centre. In the story of your life you get top billing and, most of the time, you determine what happens to you. But what if you didn’t? What if God is the Author and He has a better ending in store than both Hollywood and you put together? If life today is a story, then currently we are all dealing with the aftermath of a global disaster movie.
Growing up I felt like I was miscast in my own story. A Black child within a White adoptive family, my early years felt like a recreation of the sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes. For many years I struggled with my story, and tried to escape it – without success. I wanted what everyone else had, not an identity crisis, loss of parents, homelessness, and trauma. Having wrestled with my issues, then spending years writing it down to share with the world as a book, I found that it hadn’t really been my story all along. It became clear to me that God’s fingerprints were all over the pages of my life, and I recognised His voice at key moments of my life. If God were in fact the Author of my journey, then He must know how it all turns out, right? If that were true for me, then it must also be true for everyone else – including you, the reader.
“If you don’t own and tell your story, others will rise up and tell it for you…”
A Scripture that has been resonating with me throughout the pandemic has been Romans 8:19. The whole of creation has been eagerly awaiting the ‘manifestation’ of God’s children. For those in Christ, that means us. If the last year was a disaster movie, we are the heroes entering the picture at the crisis point. As the world scrambles to find meaning, to find a narrative that makes sense, we have been prepared by God all this time for this story. Like Noah, we have been preparing and building our lives to be a solution to the world’s many problems in our spheres of influence, helping lost people find hope. What may have been difficult chapters in your life will be testimonies of healing to someone who needs to know that, because you made it, they can too. We live and breathe our story, but the greatest story ever told is the one where God became flesh, dwelt amongst human beings, and died for our sins. Why isn’t this story widespread? Because those who know it either keep it to themselves, or reject it as an inconvenient truth, not sexy enough for our culture. But what if the star of the movie, the central character of the book, was not us all along, but the One who is the Author of all stories, the Word who became flesh, Jesus Christ? What if, rather than our own changing narratives and culture that suits our life choices, we are characters in His eternal story, and how we encounter Him transforms our own storylines for the better?
Who knows what life after this world-changing pandemic will look like, but for us who recognise we are in God’s story as major players bringing His narrative to earth, we should get excited, as things are about to get interesting! The script has been rewritten, and we get the chance to bring as many people into this story as possible, bringing them truth, purpose, and identity during an uncertain time.
If you don’t own and tell your story, others will rise up and tell it for you. Though it looks like the end is nigh, God’s words are being revealed in a way the world has never seen before, and it will get that hoped-for happy ending.
Now that’s a story I couldn’t have written better myself.
Written by: Antony Aris-Osula
Actor, presenter, and author of Coconut Prince: Memoir of a Black Sheep, available on Amazon from 30th July