Just very recently I went to see my doctor…regular checkup…. no real complaints except for a recurring headache that has been bothering me. As the doctor asked a variety of questions and simultaneously consulted his hand-held computer, he asked me for my story. My story? What does my story have to do with my headaches? Everything, he answered. Your story is everything. What has been going on in your life? What are your dealing with, our not dealing with? What is the health of your parents, your siblings, your mate? What is important to you? What defines your sense of who you are and what you do? It is your story that links the triggers of your emotions and reactions, and reveals the stressors that hugely impact your physical health. He went on to say that when you closely examine what is in your life and the stress these things may cause, you have to make some life choices.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Well, this was quite a bit of information. I really expected to get a more practical approach to solving my headache problem. Nothing so introspective and intruding as to examine my “story.” Most favorably, if I was not faced with some serious brain disorder of other life threatening illness, a good prescription from the pharmacy would suffice. Why did he want me to look at my life and make some assessments about how I was reacting to or responding to my life? This was just too much for a routine checkup!
So, as I pondered my doctor’s request to hear my story, I thought about how often I have heard that phrase lately. It seems that sharing one’s story or story telling is quite popular. It is offered as a tool in family history and passing on pride and identity from one generation to the next; our Sunday school lesson required that we share our story of salvation as a form of witness; a weight loss group leader asked us to share our story as an introduction to the class, and it appears to go on and on.
So everyone has a story! What makes my story so important? Is it so important to know my story? Yes, I guess it is. I need to know my own story, because then I can deal with what my story says about me. My story has many strains. People, places, events…all pointing to the why’s and therefore’s in my present. They recount family history, good and not so good, and how I have come to terms with both. These strains point to the passions of my life; the goals I have set, the successes and misses. My story is the compilation of the people I have loved and the people who have loved me. It captures the moments of joy and the moments of pain that all make me who I am.
No wonder my doctor asked for my story. He wanted me to look at the things in my life that perhaps I had pushed aside, yet were a part of what I was confronted with but not dealing with. Perhaps these strains of my story were painful or difficult. Perhaps I needed to face some things. Perhaps my story showed patterns of avoidance, procrastination, or even unforgiveness. So, the plot thickens. This story takes a turn for praise. Yes, I have allowed many stressors to overwhelm me, but I know the source of my healing.
Here I look to the love of God and His redeeming grace to grant me the wisdom to know the difference between the things I can change, and the things I must accept. I know that God loves me and has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me. Whatever stresses and troubles in my path, I will emerge in victory. So as I deal with the difficulties, and let go of the pain, I thank God for all He has brought me through. He has given be a Blessed Assurance. “This is my story; This is my song; Praising my savior all the day long.”
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.