The Story You Tell Yourself About Yourself

My blog posts have come later in the day this week, because I’ve been going to the gym during my blogging time. Previously, my gym time came later in the morning, but that frequently meant not digging in to work until 10:00, and that felt hard to justify. Because the story I tell myself about myself is that I am a responsible professional.

But I also tell myself a story about myself that says I am a blogger, so the time to do that needs protecting. For a couple of months it came at the expense of the gym.

I also want to tell myself a story about myself that I am not a lazy out-of-shape slob, and the absence of regular exercise makes that story a very tough sell indeed.

I’m telling myself multiple stories about myself, and there’s a constant negotiation going on among them.

Everybody does this. The people who come to our churches are doing so as an exercise of the story they tell themselves about themselves. “Lifelong Presbyterian,” Liberal Christian,” “Interested observer,” “Begrudging companion”: these stories all interact with a personal network of related stories like, “I’m a teacher,” or “I’m a marathon runner.”

People leave church because it no longer fits the story they’re telling themselves about themselves: “I’m inclusive.” “I obey the Bible.” “I”m open minded.” “I’m faithful.”

Sometimes something happens in the church that changes the fit, like a changing definition of marriage. But I think just as often something happens in the person. Their story changes, while the church doesn’t.

I feel like I need to know my peoples’ stories better.


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