Updated: May 25, 2018
“I want to read a perfect story that is flat, predictable, and prescribed. I do not want any surprises, twists and turns, nor anything shocking that might interest me.”
… said no reader ever.
Readers want character development, anticipation, and conflict resolution! These are the essential elements of a powerful narrative, which can only emerge from seasons of struggle.
Nobody wants to read a perfect story. So why do we aim for perfect lives?
I have struggled with anxiety for my entire life. A not-so-perfect life. It has been a lifelong battle, but I cannot deny it. This battle is a part of me, and led me to my life’s calling as a therapist. Now, I counsel countless young women as they too battle anxiety.
Without embracing this hardship, I would have missed a critical theme of my narrative. Hardships become woven into our tapestry to create powerful, unique stories.
These challenges do not inhibit or define us; they simply create a better story.
You have two options: Will you view your failures as dead ends? Or will you choose to live a richer, fuller story?
The most powerful stories are unintentional. Like the mother whose child died of cancer who now strengthens other parents in the community whose children also have cancer.
Or like the recovering addict who now speaks encouragement to families staring into the dark hallways of their loved one’s addiction.
In America, we have been conditioned to want the ease of a predictable, carefree narrative without the excitement and thrill of unpredictable plot twists.
If we want to live lives of happiness—lives that empower and inspire—we have to let go of the fantasy of perfection that we will never achieve. Reality is a far better story.
We cannot savor present blessings when consumed with what we believe is lacking. We will miss the goodness because we are clutching onto what we think we want while losing out on a better future.
Life is hard. Relationships get messy. The path is unknown. Life is not perfect.
Do not get stuck trying to write a perfect story! Do not compare your life with the American Dream or your neighbor’s life.
Fight for purpose. Keep perspective. Inspire others.
Ask yourself: “Am I living a powerful story?”