In 2005, the late David Foster Wallace shared this parable:
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the [heck] is water?”
Growing up, we all construct narratives to make sense of our experience, trying to understand why the world is the way it is and what our place is in it. It’s a practice, story telling, that we continue subconsciously daily as adults as we navigate our identity and significance, and eventually, legacy.
It’s here that it’s important to recall a great truth Paul adopts in Acts 17:28…
“For in Him we live and move and have our being”
We all craft stories, but Paul reminds us that once in Christ, all our stories must fit within God’s story as the author and sustainer of life. Read this passage in Acts 17, and you’ll be reminded God created you, and designed the time and place you would love so that you could know Him. So any attempt to understand yourself or the environment around you with God would be a mistake.
So here’s the important practice we can adopt.
If we daily tell ourselves stories about who we are, then daily we should ask if what we’re saying or thinking about ourself, our relationships and our purpose is true. Otherwise we simply become the fish who don’t know they’re in water.
My favourite children’s author, Mo Willems, says this. “If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”
So today, start by pausing and asking God to reveal what you are believing about yourself and others. And if it’s not God’s truth, His story, then leave it. Then ask Him to help you adopt His way of seeing things, because only then can we find true life.