Telling a good story.

Sometimes I try too hard to attach special meaning to things. I can tell a good story about anything, but the challenge comes in choosing which story to tell. Not in a dishonest way, but in a way that ministers grace to the hearers.

I enjoy watching How I Met Your Mother because it paints a picture of three different types of men – Marshall, the hopeless romantic and kind of awkward guy; Barney, the guy who sleeps around for sport; and Ted, the guy in the middle. Ted considers Marshall lucky to have met his match in college, and hates himself for acting like Barney in his quest for “the one.”

But without Ted, Marshall and Barney would never be friends. In fact, whenever Marshall hangs out with Barney, it doesn’t work out in anyone’s favor. Ted is continually pulled in opposite directions because he wants to find the one like Marshall has, yet wants to know what Barney’s secret power is.

The secret power of shows like this is that you only see the relational consequences of people’s actions. So they can be entertaining and sometimes even descriptive of real life, but not the whole story.

In real life, Barney would probably have a lot of STDs. As much as CBS tries to make Barney a real character (with a blog too!), he’s not. The guy who plays him is openly gay. I don’t say that in a condemning way (God judges men’s hearts, not me), but it’s what Neil Patrick Harris has chosen. I still think he’s an amazing actor. If I was his friend, I’d try to be his wingman, but I’m only a spectator.

In real life, Ted might have STDs too, but he’d probably be talking to therapists quite a bit as well. In fact, the whole premise of the show is that he’s telling his kids this whole story, and that’s what makes it work. I don’t know much about Josh Radnor’s life outside of How I Met Your Mother, though. Guess he’s not as popular yet.

But in real life, we don’t get a narrator in that moment. We don’t always know exactly what’s happening when it’s happening, though we sometimes think we do. What we do get, though, is a Father who’s always been there, watching and interfering only as necessary.

Katie Davis said at Catalyst that we sometimes only want to see God in the outcome, but that He’s God in the process too.

I don’t know all the details of the outcome I’m heading toward yet, but in this season, I’m choosing to trust God in the process. He knows better than me, and I don’t always have to try so hard.

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