Essential Narratives

by Kim HayesEssential Narratives compass

What is true? What does love require? Will I trust God? These are the questions which guide my life and shape the narrative.

Narrative identity theory postulates that individuals form an identity by integrating their life experiences into an internalized evolving story which gives you a sense of unity and purpose in life. In essence, it integrates your view of the past, present and future and acts to guide your thoughts, goals and direction in life.

In his book, We Will Not Be Silenced, Erwin W. Lutzer responds to the cultural assault on the church. This has resulted in many churches submitting to the culture in many areas, especially in regard to sexuality and even weakening our stance on the sanctity of life. The cultural narrative has had a devastating effect.

Re-shaping the narrative is worth the effort to win back the lost. The church must take the lead in clarifying who God says we are and what His Word teaches accurately. When we rewrite or soften the message to make it work along with what is going on in the current culture, we are doing great harm to the kingdom and damaging our ability to bring light into the darkness and help people understand what is at stake for eternity.

Jesus commanded us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves—following this directive we can speak powerful truths to individuals. This requires educating ourselves from reliable sources, focusing on what is truly essential and then forming a narrative built on Biblical wisdom to guide our own lives and encourage others.

We all need a standard to follow, to act as a compass as we navigate through life. A compass is a great metaphor because of its consistency in guiding individuals who have learned how to use it to determine direction. But in the great divide in our nation, we need to realize we are not all using the same compass.

Radical Secularists are utilizing a compass that is focused on false principles if not outright lies. So we will compare two compasses as an exercise to lay out the major differences between Radical Secularists and Christians to hopefully draw us toward more effective strategies for the future.

The true compass, the Essential Narratives of Christ followers, primarily operates on the principle of LOVE. When life takes us to the deepest darkest places where confusion and discouragement can crush us, leaving us to question God and His goodness, love is the only answer. His answer to our confusion and discouragement is a cross.

To empower and guide our clients in crisis, we also have TRUTH as a primary point on the compass. Whatever negative, misleading or outright false thought seeks to dictate our decisions, we need to bring it into the light of truth.

Our compass leading us to Christ also offers HOPE and FAITH. You may have heard the statement, “You can choose to be a victim or a victor.” We all have witnessed people who have thrown off and rejected victimhood as an identity and chosen to allow hope and faith to find the way forward.

These are the four primary points of the compass. In between are additional points. Biblical wisdom, trust, grace and forgiveness, and, finally, obedience all play key roles in guiding us as well.

We need to be prepared both with the essentials to solidify our own narrative identity and to guide others. 1 Peter 3:15 admonishes us: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Kim Hayes is a writer for Pregnancy Help News. She has been a teacher, author, speaker and facilitator for marriage and family issues and married for over 35 years to Jeff, with four grown children. Kim's counseling experience included 21 years as a volunteer consultant and trainer at Pregnancy Decision Health Centers. She was the athletic director of Columbus Crusaders Youth Sports ministry for 15 years. Kim has written several books, including the latest release, Prodigal Rewind: The Grateful Son. She is presenting Essential Narratives as a part of the 2021 Heartbeat International Virtual Conference.