What would you say to me if I asked you to tell me your history – would you tell me a series of events in your life? If you had asked me to relay my history to you a few weeks ago, I would have gone into a tirade about my past – telling you tireless stories of both the good and bad.
If you asked me today, my answer would be different. I’d tell you that I cannot tell you my history as it is still being written!
What does history mean to you?
History is a complex word that comes from two root words: ‘His’ and ‘Story’. Using this root definition, it goes that anyone who asks you for your history is really asking you for your story. As long as you are breathing, your story is ongoing. Hence, your full story cannot be told until all the stories that make up your life have been fully complied. In other words, your history cannot be fully told until after you have breathed your last breath. ,
Light-bulb moment: History is nothing but the story of the compilation of the stories that you have written over the course of your life.
Who decides your history?
The excerpts of your history are written on a daily basis based on your choices and decisions. You cannot blame any person, people, event, or condition for writing or deciding your history…they cannot. The best they can do is influence and impact your story. Your history is just that…your story. Your history is what you decide to pen.
Consider the story of a minister who decided to obey the call of God and move his family to Turkey. Shortly after reaching Istanbul, he became gravely ill with cancer. What was he to do? He had spent a bulk of the family to relocate his family and was now out for the count. Instead of allowing his condition to make him sour; instead of feeling sorry for himself; instead of blaming God or simply fading away into the sunset, he choose to write a different story. He numbered his days and decided to redeem the short time he had left to fulfill his purpose. So he poured himself into the work of ministry and served the people. Note: The word ‘minister’ means to serve.
The community he served watched him closely and were astonished at his joy despite his grave condition. Upon his death, the community held a grand funeral for him and buried him on a hill reserved for the most accomplished and revered. Moreover, a lot of people flocked to the local church after his death for they wanted what he had. Gloria Deus!
See, he could have allowed his condition to influence him to write a life story of gloom but he instead chose to let his life tell a story of boom for the kingdom of God. He turned the lemons that life gave him into lemonade.
Light-bulb moment: You history is not decided by what happens to you but how you respond to what happens to you
When we define history as a story that is written by us rather than a compilation of events , then the real history of something as brutal as slavery starts to look somewhat different. The story of slavery written by the slave owners is a story of power, greed, inhumane behavior, and savagery. But the story of slavery written by the slaves themselves is that of resilience, perseverance, courage, and strength. Not a bad story. In fact, it is a story that should fill anyone with boldness. Looking at history this way, slavery should no longer be a mental stumbling block for those affected by it. It should be a psychological stepping stone. Note that this is not to excuse the story written by those who practiced slavery but to remove the power the story has on so many.
Redefining history: What if I am writing a terrible history?
Your story is a jigsaw puzzle you are putting together. While the pieces in play are often put there by uncontrollable circumstances, others, and external forces, you ultimately decide which piece to put on your puzzle board and where the piece fits. While you can rearrange normal jigsaw puzzles, your life story is different in that you do not get a redo if you put a piece in the wrong place (since no one can go back in time). Instead, what you get to do is pull another piece of bag of choices that life gives you, reshape it, and fill the gap that was left by your wrong choice.
In other words, it does not matter how many mistakes you have made up till now in putting your life story together – it does not matter how off your jigsaw puzzle may look – you can recover and fill in the gaps.
This is exactly Moses did. At 40 he made a very bad decision of killing a man. For all intent and purposes, it looked like his story was done, but this was not the case. Forty years later he got another chance to redeem himself. He took his chance and at 80 years of age went to the same place where he had committed murder. This time instead of killing, he saved over 2 million people. Though 80 years of Moses’ life was nothing to write home about, hardly anyone remembers that those years. The story people remember is that of him leading a nation out of bondage.
At age 65, rotten luck seemed to have ended Colonel Sanders retirement dream. His business had gone bankrupt and he was penniless! Instead of focusing on how his jigsaw puzzle looked, he focused on his next move. Long story short, he ended up getting someone to pay him royalties for his friend chicken recipe. The KFC franchise was born and Colonel Sanders became a very wealthy man.
How will my story read?
Your story is novel you are writing for the world to read. If you do not like what you have written so far, just start to write a different story. What most people care about in a novel is a good ending. Likewise, what people care about most is how you finish your life story – not how you start it.
Apostle Paul was one whose story did not start so well. He caused a lot of ruckus and ballyhoo in his early days and cheered as a lot of good people were killed. But after seeing the light, he decided that he was going to write a different story. He no longer cared to be a persecutor of Christians but a promoter of Christianity. So he choose a different path and put all his energy into promoting his belief. When he was finished, he had penned what is now 2/3rd of the New Testament – an undeniable wealth of knowledge for all believers.
Friend, for you to decide against writing a new story today is to allow the past to unduly influence your future. And to allow the past to unduly influence today’s story is tantamount to copying yesterday’s story and rewriting it as today’s story. It shows lack of faith and imagination. Why take away from your present life by rewriting your past story?
Light-bulb moment: If you do not like your history, just write a new one!