I recently met with a young man who stated, “I just want to change the world.” Indeed, in about a month, thousands of college freshmen will storm the campuses of colleges and universities with this desire firmly beating in their chests, namely, “I just want to change the world.” Such ambition! Perhaps tainted with a touch of idealism, but a noble ambition nonetheless. “I just want to change the world.” Is this your ambition? Is this your dream?
Well, how do you change the world? Seriously. How is something as lofty as changing the course of humanity accomplished? Here’s the answer: Write a story. Yeah, I believe the best way to change the world is to write a story, starting with your own.
Think about it. Some of the greatest stories ever written were written by men and women of faith, integrity, and passion: C.S. Lewis. Jane Austen. J.R.R. Tolkien. These individuals wrote of life, love, and theology and changed the world through their words and through their lives. Yes, they wrote stories that changed the world. So, do you want to change the world? Yes? Then write a story, starting with your own. Below are some considerations as you navigate the complex waters of writing your life story:
- Theme – Every good story has a theme or main point. What will be the theme of your life story? Popular themes of many people today include: money, sex, achievement, and comfort. Choose your theme wisely. Indeed, remember the words of Jesus: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world [i.e. money, sex, achievement, comfort, etc.] and forfeit his soul?” A penetrating question from Mark 8:36, but a question worth pondering as you craft your life story.
- Plot – Every good story has a plot (i.e. conflict) in which the main character either has victory or succumbs to defeat. The old adage still stands true today: choose your battles (i.e. your plot or conflict) wisely. In other words, what will you stand for in this life? What will you passionately preach for or protest against? Will it be for (or against) the unborn, gun control, immigration, or racial reconciliation? Whatever you choose, remember Jesus’ words: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33).
- Structure – Perhaps not as exciting to think about in comparison to your theme or plot, but your life story’s structure deserves some thought. In other words, what will you do first, second, and third in your life story? Will you immediately jump into the action or take things slow? Remember the board game called “Life”? One of the very first decisions you have to make in this board game concerns either starting work or going to college first. Each decision has it pros and cons. So, what will you do in regards to how you structure your life story? Such decisions are not always a matter of right and wrong, but all of these decisions are a matter of wisdom. Need wisdom for your life story’s structure? James 1:5 gives hope, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
- Characters – As you contemplate your life story consider the characters in your story. What’s your goal in this life? Lots and lots of friends to party with or just a few close friends to do life with? Will you establish relationships in order to strategize and advance your story or will you build relationships in order to propel their story? Quite simply, will you use people to build your kingdom or serve people in order to build God’s Kingdom (cf. Mark 10:45)? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.
Perhaps there are other elements to consider as you craft your life story, but ponder the four thoughts above. Do you wanna change the world? Then write a story, starting with your own.