You Have the Power to Change Your Story

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The reading of great books has been life changing for me!

Wild at Heart – Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul, written by John Eldredge, hit an unsuspecting nerve with men.  Published in 2001, it is still widely recommended and in many ways launched a movement which still flourishes today.

I have read the book at least five, maybe six times as it has become part of my fabric.

The invitation on page one of the final chapter, in the form of several quotes, stared back at me on the parchment-like paper.

Actually, the invitation called to me.

One quote in particular resonated inside like the ringing of a hand bell emitting a deep sound.

“We are free to change the stories by which we live…we can do so because we actively participate in the creation of our own stories…we are co-authors as well as characters…few things are as encouraging as the realization that things can be different and that we have a role in making them so.”

On my initial pass through the book shortly after it was released, I turned to page two of the final chapter to continue to my reading journey and was seemingly dropped off the edge of a literary cliff.

“Now, reader, it is your turn to write – venture forth with God. Remember, don’t ask yourself what the world needs…”

An inner sense of expectation was awakened and quietly expressed possibilities.  However, they were twenty mere words with no apparent conclusion.

The ending, which is implied, appeals to the reader to put the car in reverse and to back up a few pages to the main point.  Eldredge refers to a quote which struck him and impacted him to change his own story.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The symphony of this book hit a crescendo with cymbals crashing, the drums beating, and the brass playing.

It was a grand slam, a slam dunk, and a touchdown on the final play all wrapped up into one.

In short, John hit the proverbial nail on the head!

The story I was living when I first read the book, and still am to a much lesser degree, was not the story I imagined for my life.

When I was a kid I routinely told Herb, my neighbor, (who followed my baseball games and promised me milkshakes when I hit a home run) that “I was going to have a mile long driveway coming to my front door when I signed my big league contract”.

As to the milkshakes, I cashed in on many of them.

As far as the personal mile long driveway, the verdict is still out on that one as the contract remained in my imagination then ultimately died.

In many respects, I died with it.  That is a story for another day.

Life has come nowhere close to what I may have envisioned as a kid.

Additionally, and more importantly, it has come nowhere close to what I thought it would be as a teen, then as a young adult, and now as a grown man.

I am not asking you to feel sorry for me.

Although not a drifter in the sense of a vagabond or someone with no ambition, certain decisions, the effect of some circumstances, and hard knocks have caused, in light of a book I just concluded (more on that later), a distinct amount of me drifting through life.

The drifting has produced disappointment, heartache, and at times a deep sense of regret.

I suspect you may relate to and share similar sentiments in your own life and journey.

Please don’t stop reading now.  Life may not have turned out as you envisioned.

However, just because it hasn’t does not mean the plot cannot change as you turn the upcoming pages in your own story.

Until I read John’s book, I did not know I was free to change the stories by which I lived and I never entertained the idea or came to the “realization that things can be different and that I have a role in making them so.” 

It is the classic battle of passive vs. active involvement in the writing of one’s story.

His invitation lit a small, but growing flame in my heart which has been cultivated over the past fifteen years.

The flame grew a bit brighter after attending a Wild at Heart Boot Camp, a men’s retreat in the mountains of Colorado.

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The gift of a ticket to the weekend event was one of the best gifts my family ever gave me, given when I hit the half-century mark which is soon approaching a decade ago.

Much luggage was unpacked that weekend and none of it had to do with my personal belongings.

The stuff on the inside began to be unleashed and to be set free. As the fictional character, Rocky Balboa, once said “the stuff in the basement is now out”.

It has been a slow and deliberate process, marked by placing one foot in front of another and another and another as I continue to walk the path set before me.

Although I have not mastered it, I can honestly say I am attuned to it.

Attuned to what you may ask?

Life is meant to be lived on purpose and with intention.

It is implied in therealization that things can be different and that we have a role in making them so.”

The operative word in this season of my life, especially at play during the first two plus months of this year, can be summarized in one word – INTENTIONALITY.

Intentional Trio

I am about to start reading a book by Wendy K. Walters called, Intentionality – Live on Purpose.

The back jacket offers this preview:

“You must participate in the design of your own future.  Intentionality is sharpening your arrow and taking aim at a specific target. It is the art of crafting your destiny.”

Sound familiar? 

I cannot wait to jump into this pool!  As an added bonus, I am looking forward to attending a writing conference Wendy will conduct this spring at the church I attend.

To add to the intentionality theme, I recently completed reading Intentional Living – Choosing a Life that Matters, by John Maxwell.

As a movie trailer is to the full length movie, so too the back jacket sneak peek is to this book:

“I believe that no matter what “plot” each of our stories may follow, deep down we all want one thing.  We want our lives to matter.  We want our stories to be of significance.”

Can you hear the bell which is ringing getting louder?

Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, I dove into and completed a book this week written by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy called Living Forward – A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.

I have called in the reinforcements and am now listening to the audiobook (which I received for pre-ordering the book) to cement the ideas presented and to get moving on applying its contents.

Personally, the message of the book has fueled me and has caused an inner motivation to hop on board this train and get rolling down the tracks.

What it offers is HOPE!

It is more than an invitation to change one’s story.

It is a road map, a field guide, and a call to action on how you can make it happen.  In your life.  In your story.

Personally, I am in the process of heeding that call.  I am deeply encouraged by the possibilities which lie ahead.

I want a better story.  I can participate in and co-author the outcomes.  There is a role which I can and intend to play.

I am not satisfied with the current plot, although I also realize I am in the middle of an important scene which is deeply saturated with the theme of transitions on the horizon.

Are you satisfied with the life you are living? 

If so, I am thrilled and commend you.

However, if the answer is “no” to the question, I invite you to be a co-author as well as a character in your own story.

You too can come to the “realization that things can be different and that you have a role in making them so.”

Let me leave you with this for today.

“Now, reader, it is your turn to write – venture forth with God. Remember, don’t ask yourself what the world needs…”

Find out what makes you come alive and go do that for what the world truly needs, in Eldredge’s words, are people who are fully alive.

Things can change and can be different.

What do you intend to do with it?

My encouragement to you is this.

Write your story!


Photos Courtesy Bruce R. Cross

Graphic Design by Brittany Castillejo


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love it Bruce! And those books sound wonderful. I am excited to read your next chapter!!