God Wants a Relationship with Us

To understand God’s call for us, we need to also understand how God sees us; we have to understand our “backstory” (to put it in storytelling terms) or where we come from.

How does God see us? Most simply put, we have been loved into being:

There is one truth for believers that, no matter how much our wounded nature might try, cannot be twisted. This truth is that God chose to create each of us. There is something so unique and wonderful about us that God wants to share his life with us. God wants us in the world.  See Yourself Through God’s Eyes

Not only is this true, but it has an amazing corollary: in creating us, God is expressing a desire to have a relationship with us. Because of Jesus, we know that this relationship with the God is adoption as God’s child, and our relationship with Jesus is friend.

Image 7How precious is the worth and dignity of every person on earth! The core of our identity is that we are created in the image of God, invited to become a child of God through Baptism so that we can share in Jesus’ divine Sonship. Created in God’s image, we have the ability to know and to love. Unfortunately, the freedom that gives us the ability to love also gives us the ability to choose to turn away from love.

When we choose not to love, we aren’t living according to the greatness of our identity. Although we are beloved, we are also flawed and sinful. Yet, even God’s response to our sinfulness proves his love for us! God sends his Son Jesus to save us from ourselves, from the power of sin, from the power of evil. Every time that we repent of our sins and ask forgiveness, we are invited to return to the depth and beauty of greater communion with God.

Our “backstory” helps us as begin or deepen our attitude of discernment, because God’s call to us is congruous with this reality that we are precious in God’s eyes. Since our very identity is founded on our relationship with God, it makes sense then that God is the Co-Protagonist in our life. God wants to partner with us, to draw us always closer to himself (in deeper communion with him) throughout our lives.

To Pray With

Psalm 139 is wonderful to pray with and ponder our identity in God’s eyes—God’s beloved ones. Pray with it over the next few days, and allow the awe and gratitude of this psalm to fill you.

Using a Storytelling Lens in Discerning

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In discerning where God is calling us, it can be helpful to see our lives within this context of God’s Story of Love. In this blog/book, I’d like to continue using the storytelling lens to help us to explore discernment. What are the various elements common to every story?

  • Premise—Our story’s beginning or set up, which includes a story promise that will be fulfilled. In this case, the story promise is made by, and will be fulfilled by, God!
  • Setting—The world and circumstances in which the story takes place
  • Worldview—the perspective from which the story is told. We looked at this earlier, calling it God’s Storyview.
  • Plot—What happens in our story and why (the series of events that take place in the story; the plot could also be called the story)
  • Story Structure — How a story is organized. Whatever the structure, every story always has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Theme—What our story is really about
  • Characters—Who is in the story
  • Protagonist—The main character of our story; often this is the character who changes the most
  • Antagonist—The character or force that prevents the protagonist from reaching his or her goal
  • Supporting characters: Friend, Rival, Sidekick, Mentor, Trickster, etc.
    (Each character has:

    • Character goal—What the character wants
    • Character need—What the character needs in order to be truly happy or fulfilled. This is often very different from what the character wants
    • Character arc—How the character grows or changes (often interiorly) through the the story

I think there are a lot of parallels between various story elements and certain aspects of discernment. For example, we can look at the concept of “supporting characters” in light of discernment. No discernment happens in a vacuum, and in bigger discernments—such as a vocational discernment—we surely need the support of others. But sometimes we forget this, and we can try to discern all alone. Reflecting on the support we have and the support we need in our discernment can really help us on our discernment journeys.

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To Journal About:

Revisit our “Story Premise”—the truth upon which we base our discernment: Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us. How would you re-phrase this for the story of your life?