Controlling the Narrative – How Christians Are Getting It All Wrong

We’re doing it wrong. Really wrong. But, it’s not hard to do it right. This post won’t take long.

These are the days of public relations, round-the-clock communication, social media, and spin. Anyone with an agenda or message knows how important it is to “control the narrative” or “get ahead of the story” when engaging others.

Politicians, entertainers, business giants, and even the church invest considerable resources into savvy packaging, slick graphics, media monitoring, and structured talking points on every issue, controversy, and campaign.

I don’t care about any of that.

This hoopla is a smokescreen devised in some back room where the evil one plots ways to divert our attention from the real work of advancing the kingdom.

The only story we need to manage is the one we tell ourselves.

That’s right. All day, every day, we tell ourselves a story, hanging every event, situation, or challenge on some point of that story to make sense of our lives, motivate our actions, and direct our thoughts. The narrative we believe about our own lives matters more than anything we speak to everyone else.

Imagine you’re a married woman with no education around conception and child birth. After a mysterious weight gain over several months, one night your body is gripped with unbearable pain that won’t resolve no matter what you try.

You’re in agony with no recourse. As the pain continues and increases for hours on end, you might reasonably imagine you were dying. You may even despair of life. Nothing about the moment you’re in leads you to theorize this distress might eventually resolve on its own, never mind that it leads to new life.

Knowing the story of conception and childbirth doesn’t remove the pain or the effort required by labor, but it does inspire hope to endure, focuses effective effort, and reduces panic.

Likewise, making sure the story we tell ourselves about our lives is informed by biblical truth doesn’t remove the pain or the energy required to make our way through the trials of this planet, but it does inspire hope to endure, focuses effective effort, and reduces panic.

Operating under the truth of the biblical story ensures that our lives will testify (by our actions, attitudes, and affirmations) to the reality of Jesus.

Imagine what Christian lives would look like to others if we continually believed the truth that we are loved, visible to the Almighty God, and secured for eternal life.

Imagine the impact of people who abandoned worry because in our life narrative, there is no need to fret. Or how churches and missions would flourish because we trust the story that we are to give freely even as we have received.

I guess if I want my illustration to reflect our reality, it would more closely be like a woman who was originally told the story of conception and childbirth, but who goes through labor with people yelling at her that she’s believed a lie, that there’s no reason to trust that life will be pain’s outcome, and that she should give into despair.

The prince of this world rules the air and so deception seeps into our thoughts through our ears, eyes, pores and through every competing story that assaults us throughout our days.

Wise Christians take frequent stops to ask, what is the narrative I’m believing about this moment? Is it informed by biblical truth or have I wandered off track into a lesser story?

The more we manage the narrative we believe, the more naturally our words will reflect His story to the world.

Stop expending energy exclusively trying to control everyone else’s narrative. Be sure the only story you’re believing about your life is the one that Jesus is telling, and you’ll find your witness click into its chamber like a key turning in the door of a cell to which you are no longer confined.

This is why Bible reading is as necessary as water, coffee, tooth brushing, and clean air.

This is why doctrine is not a four-letter word.

This is why fellowship with Christians is like checking teeth after eating spinach.

This is why sound teaching is more important than Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Fire.

What is the story you believe about your life and who is controlling THAT narrative? If it’s not the Holy Spirit, you’re better off NOT trying to affect anyone else’s story until you get that much straight.

Because not everyone lives happily ever after. The choices we make now matter.

If you do what I say – you’ll LIVE ahead of the story, baby, and that will advance the kingdom.

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    The Conversation

  1. Bruce says:

    Agreed Lori. We’ll said!

    What if we actually thought that by sincere prayer, and the regular exercise of our gratitude muscles, we could entrust God with our needs, and end up receiving a peace that keeps us rejoicing deeply through our worst imaginable circumstances?
    How great would be our witness?!

  2. Cork Hutson says:

    Lori – I do read your posts, but rarely comment (on anyone’s posts). Not to diminish anything else you have written, but this one struck home. Thanks for stating things in a way that as the Unshackled program says, “makes you face yourself and think”!

  3. Rob McCullough says:

    Lori, thank you! This message is good, and timely. This is a girding up message to the Body in which way too many remain babies in cribs sucking on milk. Not even drinking! There are more generations coming and our own internal dialogue is a core part of being who and what God placed us here to be. Amen, let us and All of our generations be blessed as we stand up and walk in the Truth!

  4. Thanks for your strong voice, Lori. I’m so glad I happened upon your blog.

  5. Carol Riordan says:

    Hi Lori. I agree with your narrative and appreciate your words here. But I’m a little confused because I tapped onto your blog when I saw a picture of people in Rhode Island that were praying and the caption said they would be dead in the morning? Do you know what article I’m referring to? I wanted to know why this was happening to them?