A story you haven’t chosen

To be a Christian is to learn to live in a story you haven’t chosen.
                Stanley Hauerwas

To be human is to live in a story you haven’t chosen.  Much of the existential angst evident in people’s lives today is due to the fact that they are raging against the life that has been imposed on them.

Our plans, for our lives, for our weeks, even for our days, get scuppered by circumstances and other people.  The things we intend to do, the kind of person we intend to be, the paths we intend to take we find are constantly obstructed and we seem to be on a never-ending diversion.

That doesn’t change when you become a Christian; what changes is your understanding of who’s driving your life.

As a non-Christian you rage against the diversions because you think you’re in control, and you get frustrated when you try to go North, but the road takes you East.  To be a Christian is to understand that not only are you not the driver, you’re not the navigator, either.

The story you’re living in is not your own.  It is not of your invention, and you are not the lead character in it. 

Did you bring yourself into being?  Did you create the world into which you were born? Do you direct the lives of those around you, the wind and the waves, the stars and the planets?

To be a Christian is to become aware of the bigger picture. You are already living in a story you haven’t chosen; you have no choice in the matter.  What you do get to choose is how you will live in it – will you embrace it, seek God’s guidance at each moment when you do have a choice, and praise Him anyway at the moments when you don’t?

Or will you have to be dragged through your life, kicking and screaming, like a child in a supermarket?

4 Comments On This Topic
  1. Peter P
    on Nov 19th at 7:45 am


    Awesome, Jennie!

  2. Sue
    on Nov 19th at 2:18 pm

    Brilliant Jennie – and thanks to Peter for directing me to this.


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