“Don’t allow your life to be held captive by false narratives.” – Anonymous
The Narrative Imperative
Whether we know it or not, each day, we are writing the stories of our lives. We are all storytellers. This writing or scripting comes through our experiences (good and bad) and our environments (past and current). Out of this, a narrative is formed. A narrative is a story we repeatedly tell ourselves to justify why we are the way we are. Or, why other people act the way they do. We use it to view and interpret the world. But when we form internal negative narratives, our decisions and actions are impeded, and as Pastor Andy Stanley says, “We become our own worst enemy.”
These narratives or thought patterns create excuses in the face of opportunities and assumptions in the face of progress. The lens through which we see life gets foggy. A mental fortification, rooted in negative narratives, develops. We live a story that is less than what God intends for us. We stay stuck in park or reverse instead of shifting into drive. To keep going, this fortification, built on obverse narratives, must be repealed and replaced with better ones. And it takes a military approach.
Taking Your False Narrative Captive
An effective military tactic employed by ancient armies was to surround a potential city of conquest, ensuring no one went in or out. The supplies that sustained the city were essentially cut off. At first, the city looked poised to wait it out, but as time went on and famine ravaged within the walls, the city would have no option but to open its gates or die of starvation. This gives our key to destroying false or negative narratives that keep us stuck. Starvation.
Feeding false narratives, by using our current circumstances as a confirmation of why our narrative is true strengthens its hold on us. Narratives like, People like me don’t get opportunities like that, Because of my background, I could never go to such a school, Everybody is saying it about me, so it must be true, Things are going too well for me I am sure something bad is going to happen, or This just the way it’s always been and it will never change.
False narratives create destructive belief systems and stunt our ability to dream. They become a running theme in our minds reminding us why we should not proceed. That we should remain in the cage of fear because the last time we ventured out, things didn’t go as planned. Why try again? Starving these narratives takes place when we acknowledge what is factual while declaring what is possible. Yes, my background is not as privileged, but it is possible for me to succeed in this career. Or, I grew up in an abusive home, but it is possible for me to raise a family in a loving, caring, and safe home. When you inject possibilities into your story, your false narratives as starved, the way forward gets clearer, and the desire to keep going finds proper footing. I compare possibilities to the insertion of a stent to unblock an artery and permit the flow of blood to a starved heart.
Forming A Better Story
Narratives are the scripts that create the story of our lives. A better story draws from a shift in narratives. By crushing belief systems birthed from negative narratives, we make room to form narratives based on our God-given purpose and potential. In the face of opportunities and possibilities, you replace excuses with faith and determination. And over time, you tell a better life story that reflects overcoming false narratives and fulfilling your purpose.
One of my favorite TV shows is American Ninja Warrior. Besides seeing athletes compete at a high level against daunting obstacle courses, the stories behind the athletes are touching. Nate Hansen, who was one of the competitors this year, stands at 5’2. His height is the result of a growth hormone deficiency. Characterized as not good enough, Nate’s height kept him on the sidelines of different sports activities in his formative years. The narrative took control, and he quit. Then he decided to change the narrative. He trained for Ninja Warrior. And he defied the odds. Not only did he compete, but he completed the course during the first round! He crushed the false narrative and is now helping others who struggle with growth deficiencies to crush theirs and reach the heights of their purpose.
Watching Nate complete the course reminded me that false narratives don’t have to superintend our lives. Labels others put on us, or we place on ourselves don’t have the final say. We can choose to align our narratives with our purpose and live a better story.
Final Thought: As the impediments of false narratives fall away and give space for narratives rooted in our God-given purpose, a breath of fresh air blows into your life. The possibilities of what can be are no longer dominated by what used to be in the past. Dreams and goals that were starved can now be fed with passion and action. A better story is within reach and you can keep going to your destiny.
Keep on keeping on!