Like Unfinished Stories: Embracing Your Incompletion

I’m trying to write a book – it’s a nonfiction memoir/devotional – and man, is it a process.

I’m attempting to take the stories, themes, and lessons in my life and form them into a cohesive whole, weaving the pieces together so it all fits neatly in a 150-page paperback.

Trying to wrap my mind around the themes in my life is difficult and trying to piece the stories together so that they flow from cover to cover is an even greater challenge. And today I was thinking, aren’t we all like unfinished stories?

We are these messy, tangled lives with so much good and bad, so much joy and hurt combined. We’re made up of events and experiences, personality and temperament, nurture, nature, and choice. Try as we might to form our identities, label ourselves, and curate our social medias, we’re still just big question marks, a story that’s unfinished, whose end is unknown and whose plot is still being developed.

We change, we grow, we are not static, but we are fluid, constantly changing and growing and being rewritten.

But even in our incompleteness, we are here – imperfectly existing, taking steps that make sense for us in the here and now, even when we can’t see the full picture (because we can never see the full picture, we are not God).

Somehow, we are incomplete but completely loved. A work in progress but still accepted by the Maker as His treasure in jars of clay.

I’m not too good with incompleteness, and I always like to finish what I start: plans, books, conversations, goals, arguments. I have perfectionist tendencies. It’s what makes me driven and helps me strive for excellence, but it can also make me obsessive. Always striving for perfection, for completion, for that perfect number seven.[1] . But it can make me dissatisfied with the imperfect, dissatisfied with the real.

Constant perfectionism is a recipe for frustration. If we live in constant perfectionism, we will never be happy, because NOTHING is ever perfect. We’re not published novels sitting on a shelf for outsiders to admire, we are unfinished works with layers and complications and loose ends. And that is beautiful.

We want – no, we need – acceptance as we are, where we are, for who we are in this moment. There is something in all of us that wants to ask:

I change, evolve, and grow – will you love all the stages, phases, and versions of me?

I live, love, and hurt – will you stand by my side when I am lovable and when I am hard to love?

I feel, create, and think – will you treasure all the ideas, mess, and wonder I hold?

I cannot weave a living story into completion – I don’t hold the power or the pen. There are some things that are out of my control, such as where my story started, where it will end, who will enter into it and who will leave it, the weaknesses I have, the mind and heart I’ve been given.

But I can accept my story with open hands and an open heart.  I can accept my story with anticipation and eagerness for what the next chapter holds. I can push through the bad parts and at the good parts I can savor. Every. Word.

And I can do the same for you, for them, for others. Accept the whole person, as they are. Savor the good. Forgive the bad. Dig through the layers to understand. Engage my heart and mind. Refuse to pass judgement. Respect that some chapters are only shared over time. Allow the room for growth and change.

Because we’re all like unfinished stories, looking for acceptance for being just as we are, imperfectly, beautifully flawed. And there is beauty in imperfection, in progress, in incompletion.


[1] some Christians believe seven is the number that symbolizes completion and perfection in the Bible


2 thoughts on “Like Unfinished Stories: Embracing Your Incompletion

  1. Beautiful , Ruth, and you know ,even I , up in age , still feel like an unfinished book !
    I love your writing , Ruth !

    1. Thank you Bennie ❤ you have the loveliest heart and I appreciate you always reading – it makes me VERY happy 😁😁😁

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