There’s this saying: The worst thing for your character is the best thing for your story.
In story structure, we design a series of missteps for our character. Everyone knows our hero should do one thing, but she does the other.
As viewers we want to scream: Don’t do that!!! It’s only going to lead to a world of hurt.
We can see others’ missteps so clearly.
And you know, they can see ours. That’s why we are desperate to have dear friends who see us, love us, and speak the truth to us about our stories. We all have blind spots, bad moves, and unhelpful patterns…and so we need others to help us with those.
And…we also need community to say to us: You are no fool.
Sometimes we tell ourselves a story about our own story that isn’t true, and so terribly unhelpful. We call ourselves the fool when we’re not.
I know this all too well. Take for instance, yesterday. I was trying to make sense of my broken heart and lamenting to a dear friend a pattern I wondered if I was destined to always repeat. I go deep with a man I’m dating, he confronts a hard family of origin issue, he realizes he’s not ready to move forward, the relationship ends, then he works through it and marries the next woman he dates.
After hearing my story, my dear friend (who happens to be a skilled therapist) reminded me I can’t control timing and other people’s stories. And the reality is, that hasn’t always been my story. It was just the story that came to mind. I know I have plenty to work on, but it was a grace to be reminded that in this story: I’m no fool.
So here’s my question for you: What in your story tries to say you’re a fool? Or perhaps you’ll connect with this: What’s the fake news in your own story?
It’s often hard to answer that question on our own. So, who in your life can help fact check your own story?
May you be encouraged on this April Fool’s Day: You are no fool, my friend!