Unreliable Narrators

crossedfingers“We are all unreliable narrators. Not just in the way we tell our stories to others, but how we tell them to ourselves.” – Deb Caletti

What is an unreliable narrator? In short, it is a narrator whose credibility has been seriously compromised, someone who allows their bias to slant the tale.

This is a literary device sometimes used by authors to bring a different perspective to a story. It is not often used because we the reader end up with a narrow view of what is going on in the story. Most times it’s because a character’s emotions have clouded their perspective, or maybe they lie and exaggerate because they want to look better, or maybe it’s just something as innocent as having gaps in their memory.

Some people don’t like unreliable narrators because they don’t like stories that can be untrusted.

But here’s the thing, like as stated in the quote above, we live our entire life with an unreliable narrator, ourselves. Our point of view and perspective is often skewed, especially by our emotions. Our emotions will try to tell us a different story that what is the truth.

Don’t hear me wrong, your emotions are real. Often times very real, and it’s not bad that you have emotions. But they are often times unreliable to make decisions by.

For example, have you ever sent an email angry only to read it later with regret? Or in your anger have you said something to hurt someone you care about? Maybe you’ve cut yourself of from any support because in your sadness you felt like no one cared about you.

Don’t make permanent mistakes because you are temporarily upset.

When you let emotions cloud run your life, your view will always be limited.

Can’t Plan For Everything

There are some things in our lives that are completely out of our control. It doesn’t matter how much we plan or prepare, there is nothing we can do about it. Sometimes, life happens and in the end control is an illusion.

Chuck Swindoll once said “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” At the core, he is right. We can either complain or worry about things that we can never do anything about, or we can just put on our big boy/girl pants on and deal with it. It is our attitudes and decisions in those moments define who we are, not what happens or what we are able control.

The very reason I write…

…is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”

– Zadie Smith

Despite being an extrovert, I can be a very introspective person. I love reflecting on my life and the people in my life. I keep a journal that I write in (at least weekly) for a couple of years now.

I also found out recently that writing these reflections down has actually been shown to have health benefits. It has proven to be very therapeutic in my life as I’ve been able to process some difficult emotions and also give me a chance to explore some of my thoughts that usually roam free in my mind.

But more than that, when I write, it gives me a chance to take a look back on my life and see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve been blessed in my life. It’s easy to just focus on the difficult parts of life, but when I look back on what I’ve written, I see that God has provided for me and taken care of me so much, and it would be easy to miss that if I never wrote anything down at all.

So as Zadie Smith says, “The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”

Life is NOT a Reality Show

reality-tv2So stop trying to live like it is.

Reality shows are not reality. Reality shows brings out the worst in other at the expense of drama. Reality shows don’t want normal or good people looking for and bringing out the best in people. Reality shows don’t want to see people become grow and become better people. That’s not “good TV.”

I can not tell you how much my heart hurts when I see people on Facebook or Twitter kicking up all kinds of hell just because something didn’t go their way. It hurts even more when I see it happen in real life. People who are living so selfishly, that they can not see past what is right in front of them.

Life should be about conflict resolution, not cultivating conflict. Life should be about reconciliation, not hold grudges. Life should be about helping others, not being selfish.

Life is not a Reality Show! Stop trying to live like it is!

Tapestry

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“There are many parts of my youth I’m not proud of. There were loose threads, untidy parts of me that I would like to remove.

But when I pulled on one of those threads, it unraveled the tapestry of my life.”

This was a line from Captain Picard on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This episode was very much like “It’s a Wonderful Life” where Picard can see what his life would be like if he made a different decision in his youth. But what he found was that despite his bad decision, several things happened in his life wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t make that decision. In fact, the very essence of who he was had changed when he changed that one decision.

This episode strikes a chord in my heart, because there was a time in my life where I really struggled with decisions I made (or didn’t make) in my past. I dwelled on these things and it became an unhealthy.

Part of it was because in a very short time once in college, I really changed as a person (read: grew up!) and all I really wanted was to go back with the new found attitude on life that I had. But as things started happening in life, GREAT THINGS, the more I started to see that if I done things differently earlier in my life, these great things, these great people I was meeting, might not have ever happened.

In fact, if I had done things differently when I was younger I wouldn’t even be the same person. Which is scary, because I like the person I’ve become and despite some decisions I wish I did or didn’t make in my past, I wouldn’t change any of it because the person who I’ve become because of those decisions is much more important than some thing I wish I had done.

BJ Neblett famously said, “We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.”

I find peace in that quote. I find peace in that because no matter what I do, I will learn and grow from my experiences and try use that to help others grow from their experiences as well. We are giving one life to live, we shouldn’t waste it wishing we had done something different.

What is love?

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Baby don’t hurt me.

Seriously though. We use that word in so many different contexts that many people don’t even know what it really means anymore. We get it confused because we don’t get what it means to express love.

For far too many of us, the most common expression of this is just how it makes us feel, but what even worse the world tries to teach us that the greatest expression of love is sex. The greatest expression is sex?! Don’t get me wrong, God designed it to be beautiful, wonderful, and pleasurable, but that doesn’t mean that a physical act is the greatest expression of love.

My mom loves me and I love my mom. I have friends I have known since I was 10-11 years old that I love deeply. And to top it all off, Jesus loves us without fail.

Not in a single one of these cases can you remotely say the greatest expression is anything close to sex.

Do you know what the greatest expression of love is? Sacrifice.

Love is a 14 year old who just told her dad that she hates him, but he still works two jobs so that she has food on the table and a roof over her head.

Love is giving up a Friday night out because your best friend is in a depression and needs a friend.

Love is willing to damage a friendship because you want to do what is right.

Love is Jesus dying a cross so that we no longer have to have to live under the bondage of sin and we can live free.

It is in what we sacrifice that shows who deep love can go.
What have you sacrificed due to love?