Sometimes, over time, we have the unique opportunity to change the story we tell ourselves. In order to do justice to this idea, please allow me some personal pronouns as I tell a bit of my story to illustrate.
I grew up in a small town in Tennessee. We weren’t the richest family in town, and we weren’t the poorest. I ate three meals a day, had clothes on my back, a roof over my head and a safe family environment.
The religion that was handed down to me has changed however. Hang on. This is not as gory or dissing as you may think. Growing up in a southern, Bible-belt area, God was often presented as an ogre. If I would ever dare to step one inch across the invisible line of right and wrong, God was just waiting to zap me. He was more about judgment and finding something wrong with me than He was a loving and grace-filled God.
I had to change the story I told myself aboutmy own relationship to God, and it came about through some great books, some sound teaching, and a lot of soul searching on my own.
I had clothes, but they were not what I considered the most up-to-date fashions a lot of the time. Later in life, when trying on a new, fashionable suit, I had to adjust the story I told myself – Am I worthy of this fine suit with matching tie, socks, and shoes? You see, I didn’t feel worthy of the finer things of life. After all, we weren’t rich. I had to change from seeing myself as a dirty tennis shoe, torn jeans guy to one who was worthy of a nice suit.
I talked of being a writer for thirty years. All during my career opportunities, writing became a part of my life. I even published my first magazine article at age 28, but I didn’t consider myself a writer.
I didn’t change that story until sometime after 2009 when I started blogging on a weekly basis. At some point, I felt it ‘safe’ to finally refer to myself as “A Writer”. It was a slow metamorphous but it began during that time. And when I published my first book was about the time I felt I could really embrace the label of “writer”.
What stories do you still hold onto? Are you a perpetual failure? Do you see yourself as one who is unworthy of love? Do you want a better job, yet you tell yourself “No, I probably can’t handle that.”?
You see … if we don’t ‘sell’ ourselves on an idea first, then the idea will never have the good soil in which to take root and grow and flourish. We have to believe in the story we tell ourselves.
This is no easy task, yet it is a critical point in leading what one may call a productive and successful life.
Our story matters. The words we use and the way we tell our story matters. Perhaps it is time to spend a few hours, yes hours, in contemplation on this important idea.
One fine day a few years ago, I set aside some time and began thinking about life, and career, and my strengths. That was the day when I began to seriously change my story. That was the day I started to see myself under the over-arching umbrella as an encourager. The various ways of “how” I live this out have changed down through the years.
I suppose I had a love affair with titles. I thought the title said it all, and there was a certain amount of esteem found in having a regal sounding title. Here are some titles I’ve worn: Minister of Music, Director of Marketing, Regional Director, Insurance Salesman, Banker, Writer and others, yet I have found ways to be an encourager in every one of those choices.
And on that day of revelation, I finally realized that at the heart of it all, I am an encourager. I may hold a certain position or title that pays the bills, and that is good, but at the end of the day, I am very good at encouraging others.
What is your story? How has it changed down through the years? And how will it continue to evolve in the future to finally get to the core of who you really are?
That is the significance about which I write today.
My name is P Michael Biggs, and I am an encourager!
P Michael Biggs
One Word at a Time