by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 11/6/14

NANOWRIMO, the term sounds technological. Like the name of a new iPod. It sounds like a word from another language. It is not. Na-No-Wri-Mo is an acronym that stands for National Novel Writing Month. For years, want-to-be-novelists have accepted the challenge of crafting their own stories. Truth be told, every year I have a fleeting impulse to dive in myself.  The competition provides the necessary provocation for aspiring amateurs or hardened professionals to finish their projects or try something new. All work on the quick-written and often quick-witted novels must begin on November 1. A complete draft must be completed by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. That is, 50,000 words in thirty days. For some of you, telling your own story, even in print, is more than you can handle and the idea of a daily word count might be downright terrifying.
How would you write your story with God? What would the plot points be? Do you see your life as a part of the larger story of God at work in the world? Stories matter. Your story matters. Your part in God’s story matters, all the more so. Truth be told, competition or no competition, we can’t help but to tell our own stories. Day in and day out, we write new chapters in our story with God. We are invited to tell God’s story and to tell our story with God.
As a new experiment in devotion, what would it be like if you challenged yourself to write your own devotional…to name and articulate your own story of God’s faithfulness in your life? The Christian way of life is connected to the way that we see and story our life through the world of the biblical narrative. Going through the experience of articulating our stories can give a kind of coherence among different elements and events of our lives. The act of telling your story with God may help you reframe how you see seasons in your life.
50,000 words may be a little ambitious. How about seven? A few years ago the magazine, The Christian Century, asked scholars and theologians to write the good news, as they saw it, in seven words or less. My current favorite is by Nadia Boltz-Weber, “We are who God says we are.” In the creative spirit of NANOWRIMO, try your hand at crafting a statement of the good news. Instead of taking 30 days for 50,000 words, take ten minutes and see what your seven words would be. If you feel like sharing your response, post your seven on our Facebook page.