We all have a story. Your life is your story. If you are reading this, you are still living your story.

Just like any story, ours has a beginning, a middle and an end. That’s not enough though! To say only that a story has a beginning, middle and end, leaves us with a mediocre story. To write a story that is more than mediocre, we need to have all the right ingredients. An intriguing plot, an interesting setting, a dynamic protagonist, and a detestable antagonist are just a few of the essential ingredients necessary for creating a story that is better than good.

God has taken care of the plot and the setting for our story, hasn’t He? Just look back over your life to see what I mean!  And what of the protagonist? Well I must say, we are pretty dynamic aren’t we? And we make fabulous protagonists! As much as we might wish there was no antagonist at all, I will be willing to bet that we all have at least one detestable antagonist in our story. These components, plot, setting, protagonist, and antagonist, are important for any good story, including our own. However, to create more than just a good story, requires one more powerhouse ingredient. Conflict.

Conflict. It seems the most excellent stories have the most intense and dramatic conflict. From books to movies, or legends to historical accounts, the most captivating stories include a healthy dose of conflict. Out of all the stories told though, think of the ones that captured your attention and left a lasting impression. They are the life stories of real people aren’t they? Stories of how a real person has endured and managed their struggle well. It doesn’t matter if we know them personally or not. There is something in those stories that draws us in. Perhaps it’s the fact that we can relate in some way or another? Perhaps we need to see those triumphant successes to give us courage to conquer the conflict in our own story? Whatever it is, we love those stories; they encourages us to persevere in our own.

The conflict in our story is present in our own personal struggles. Struggles can include trials, tribulations, and temptations. It can be with a person or it can be the circumstances we are faced with. It can be the loss of a loved one, or financial ruin. Whatever the struggle it becomes part of our personal story. The conflict can be emotional, and even uncomfortable at times. We may spend a great deal of time and energy avoiding the pain caused by our struggle. Don’t! Instead of avoiding the conflict, lean into it. Remember, it’s the conflict, which makes for an excellent story. Don’t avoid the discomfort caused by the struggle, because it’s that very conflict that gives us, the protagonist, a chance to find out and prove what we are made of!

It’s through our struggles, and our conflicts, our sorrows, and our disappointments that we are tried, and tested; sometimes to our breaking point. Throughout the struggle we learn, and grow. Along the way, we have the opportunity to respond positively or negatively. We have the opportunity to learn and practice virtue, or resist and fall into sin.   When we patiently, and prayerfully endure the conflict in our story we become who God needs us to be. We have the opportunity to create a story that will inspire others and encourage them to persevere in their own story.

The most excellent stories we hear are the ones involving real people living through real struggles, demonstrating heroic virtue along the way. The real struggles in your real life are part of your real story – make it an excellent one.