I have had countless conversations with people in all stages of their spiritual journeys who feel their faith is dry and stale. They don't know how to revive it, and some are not even sure they want to try.
All too often, faith feels remote, tied to an ancient book or to the traditions of the church, and not always like a living thing, and we can get discouraged about it: What does something so old and dusty have to do with my life? Why bother with something so abstract and archaic?
The thing is, our God is not tied to a book of scripture, nor to stories of the dimly lit past. Our God is always of the past, and the present, and the future. There is no beginning, no end, with God. God is in our stories, whether we notice or not.
What does that mean for us? It means that the story of each of our lives is unfolding all the time, and God is always present in that unfolding. For some, this is a little intimidating; for others, it is comforting. We should be mindful of it, however it makes us feel, because it means that there is always possibility and potential ahead of us. I have known persons who felt that one mistake, one weak moment of wandering away from God, was somehow permanent. I have known persons who felt that God would never want them back. I have known persons who have never known that God might want them in the first place.
What we desperately need to take to heart and know to be true is that our stories are always pregnant with the possibility of redemption and renewal. Our stories have a happy ending, whether we can see it or not, because God is always in it. This is not to say that every ending is easy, or that it will be what we expect or want. But God is always in it, and there is joy to be found in that.
What would it look like to take a look deep into our own faith story, with no pressure, no deadline, no goal besides to see what it looks like. What does it look like? Who have been the important persons or experiences along the way? Where has it taken you? What have we learned, and how have we grown. Leading people through exercises like this often opens up memory and understanding.
Michelle Bogue-Trost is a devoted follower of Jesus, a pastor, preacher, leader, teacher, and mentor, committed to the health of individuals and congregations.