cold french fries do not define your story!

Tyler Run Park – We live in a beautiful world

The old rule is now ended because it was weak and worthless. The Law of Moses could not make anything perfect. But now a better hope has been given to us. And with that hope we can come near to God. – Hebrews 7:18-19

This week has turned into – thus far – one of the busiest of the year. Beyond my typical writing and teaching responsibilities, I’ve picked up a couple of big tight deadline articles (due in the next few days), plus I’m prepping to lead a Sunday-Tuesday retreat where I’ll be giving five major presentations, and then Rebekah has a 6:35 flight out of RDU tomorrow morning as she heads to Minnesota for Sandee’s funeral.

However, rather than rush headlong into the details, I intend to begin work this morning by spending some deliberate time with God. It’s kind of like the “measure twice, cut once” principle; only this is about measuring my life, my work, my intentions, my trajectory – my story, and making sure I’m in sync with my Creator rather than wasting time, and energy, and substance; because everything I’m doing is worthy of my very best.

For the retreat I’m encouraging participants to do exactly what I have done this morning in preparation for my day: slow down, step outside of every detail and deadline the constant momentum of life brings – relentlessly – into their path, and consider re-framing their journey from this point forward.

You see, we all live a story. And – in much the same way the main idea of a novel works as a consistent thread that drives the narrative – our story plays out in response to certain fixed points of reference, assumptions, faith, motivation, and points of view. Our journey forward is framed by these ideas, and our narrative is shaped by what we believe.

The Big Picture:

Sometimes – much of the time – we become so caught up in the details we forget the big picture. I remember being upset once at a restaurant, because my seat was uncomfortable, the waiter inattentive, and the french fries wlukewarm, and I became obsessed with getting the waiter’s attention… but then I remembered I was on my way to Italy for a wonderful adventure.

Once my narrative was reframed, the cold french fries lost their power to unsettle me, and when the waiter did show up – finally – I simply thanked her, smiled, and left a generous tip.

Everything I’m doing today takes its meaning from my understanding of the journey I’m on. “The mission I have been given,” I wrote on a slide I’m sharing Sunday evening, “is to speak encouragement, hope, faith, and inspiration into this fragmented, broken world.”

That’s the story I am living in, and it’s the story I want my life to tell.

I’m the one on the left….

The pile of stuff (the details and the distractions and the problems and the often tedious tasks) that we have to move aside – sometimes with a snow shovel, sometimes with a bulldozer – because it blocks our path and clogs our vision does not define us! What defines us is the story we’re living.

This life is a great adventure! We’re pilgrims in progress every one of us, and we’re on an amazing journey. Everything else is just lukewarm french-fries and poorly trained wait staff; be generous anyway….

Peace and blessings – DEREK

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derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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