Is your life going according the “script” you had in your mind when you began this great adventure?
I thought so. Neither is mine.
It’s probably safe to say that no-one else’s life is proceeding according to their pre-conceived script. No matter how carefully we plan, or how nobly we intend, life has a tendency to be like a pinball machine – we are bounced from one thing to another, and a lot of times the whole progression seems to make no sense. We thought we had an Oliver Stone screenplay, and it turns out like a Woody Allen movie.
I made plans to pursue a life of ministry after college. Noble, principled, and disruptive plans. All of which ended up high and dry on the shoals some years later, derailed by depression and spiritual immaturity and a church culture that wasn’t a “fit” for me. A script that sounded right on paper, composed with good intentions, but derailed by insufficient wisdom.
I remember, after going into sales (in retrospect, talk about a career mis-match!), listening to the various “scripts” about how to sell, and feeling like this was all some foreign language. It wasn’t “me,” it was someone else’s words.
I’m a consultant, not a salesperson. My script is questions, not transactions.
Then, of course, there are all the other people who are imposing their scripts. Parents, in-laws, well-meaning friends, pastors, bosses, peers – there’s no lack of ready-made scripts written by others, irrespective of whether we’re rightly cast for the part.
My wife and I had quite a script for how our children were going to turn out, and how we were going to excel as parents. All of you other parents can predict how this storyline unfolded…!
When young shepherd-warrior David was going to take on Goliath, King Saul of Israel tried to impose his script – you need to go out in my suit of armor to fight. But Saul’s armor didn’t fit David. It wasn’t his style, it wasn’t made for him, it was a hindrance, not a help. Turns out that David had the one capability he really needed – and down went his opponent.
David knew his strike zone. And maybe a good part of our early years aren’t for fulfilling a pre-packaged script, but instead, the purpose is to find our sweet spot.
Here’s what I’ve concluded – it’s pretty difficult to pre-write a script (for yourself or others) and force it to happen. But, interestingly, enough, as we pinball through life and accumulate more life and work experiences (good and bad), the themes of the story – YOUR story – start to emerge, and the plot, well-nigh hidden in prospect, becomes more clear in retrospect.
Sometimes, we have to drop the scripts we’ve conjured up for ourselves, or others conjured up for us, and find our purpose by looking through the prior chapters for all the clues contained therein. Then the outlines of our future story come into better focus.