14 Nov Excerpt #1: Where is Here?
Please enjoy this excerpt from Bishop Pitts’ newest book, Fault Lines. See below for purchase options!
Where is Here?
Our story is the narrative we tell others and the dialogue we have within ourselves. Somehow, over time, we craft a seamless internal biography, placing ourselves at the center. Our story has its villains, heroes, victims, and innocent bystanders. We highlight facts that reinforce our beliefs and values, and we quash mitigating and contradictory evidence. This truth is without judgment. It is what it is. Whether it is a survival mechanism, coping, denial, self-preservation, or selective memory is not my immediate point. Instead, I want you to see that your story remains real to you, and you can get stuck in the character role you have assigned yourself until you decide to change it.
Maybe the stories you just read are like your own, or maybe they are to you a collection of cautionary tales. Somewhere, hopefully, we have an epiphany. What we’re driving is not as important as where we’re going. What we’re modeling in fashion is not as important as what we’re modeling in our character – a good name on a label is not as important as a good name for ourselves.
We need to ask ourselves, “What does my next chapter look like? Who am I? How did I get here, and where exactly is here?”
The thing about time is that it changes our perspective. Aided by pressure and pain, and influenced by the unexpected twists and turns in the road we travel, we all inevitably end up with a “here.” But, the realization of where we are is actually the beginning of progress. It’s good to be able to look on the map of life’s journey and see, “You are here.”
I like the way the prophet Isaiah says it when receiving his commission in Isaiah 6:8 (NIV): “Here am I. Send me.” Similar to what we see in Genesis 3:9, God, in effect, calls to each of us, “Adam, where are you?” It’s not because God doesn’t know. The question is meant to bring introspection and appraisal, inventory and awareness. I need to know that wherever it is, I am here.
After the most intense episode of his life, calling down fire on Mt. Carmel (see 1 Kings 18:16-40), the prophet Elijah fled for his life, battling fatigue, depression, and feelings of isolation as he lodged in a cave at Mount Horeb. There, God asked him (in 1 Kings 19:9), “What are you doing here?”
Knowing the answers to “How did I get here?” is the key to moving from here to there – not just geographically, but psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally. Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself, “How did I get here?”
The problem is that if we’ve built “here” on fault lines, we can continue adding on and redecorating our “house,” unaware that the ground is shifting beneath us. Then we feel the tremor, the beginning of the feeling that something is not quite right. Dissatisfaction is gnawing, disillusionment is hovering. When the stronger quake hits, we find that the elasticity of our soul has been stretched out and that the stability we’ve been leaning on in others is actually unstable. Resolve and resilience, the bounce-back, the comeback, and the “want to” all become wearied when we face these events. Like Elijah, we find ourselves at a place we don’t know how to define. What we do know is that present conditions show us that we’ve built on fault lines.
Fresh paint and new carpet are not the answer. We need to determine if the damage from the shaking and quaking is permanent or if we can rebuild, reinforce, and restore.
For more insight on moving from “here” to “there,” and on building a life that can withstand shifts and shaking, check out Bishop Pitts’ new book, Fault Lines, available here!