Matt Coker | @MatthewSCOker & @BackRowBeliever
When you were in elementary, did you ever have to do book reports for the “Book It” Challenge?
I sure did. I had to read one book a month for three months in third grade. However, we got to pick the books and the teachers never knew what they were about anyway…
So, I pretended to read some Goosebumps books, which I did enjoy, just not on a time table. Then, I would just BS my way through a made up story in my head for the one-page report I had to do on it.
I remember reading one book called "Stay Out of the Basement" or something like that. Oh, wait. Did I say I read it? No. Never did. I checked it out from the library and wrote a book report on it, completely making it up as I went along.
From the cover, I knew it was about a dad who turned into a plant-like monster sometimes and bled green blood.
So, I just made up a story of a plant-related accident, similar to the one Poison Ivy had in the Batman & Robin movie.
You know, weird chemicals, tons of plants, an accident that contaminates everything and turns the guy into a plant-man-monster. Only, he changes from plant to man, back-and-forth. When he is a plant, he is a mean monster bent on killing, so he locks himself in the basement and the mother tells the kids that their daddy has gone away on business.
When the kids hear strange noises from the basement, they eventually go down to see what it is, with a little creativity on how to unlock the door. They find a horrible plant monster that they try to kill. The beast devours the older sister and then the younger boy sees his father’s face.
The next day, the father is back to normal and life is regular, except no one can locate the older sister. At the dinner table, the dad gives a sharp evil look to the boy and eventually they have a showdown where the boy spills some other chemicals on him and he becomes a nice plant beast. The end.
Oh, I had great story ideas when I was a kid.
Got an A+ on that, too.
Gee. I hope me revealing this doesn’t result in the Book It people coming to demand all my readership medals and free mini pizzas back.
But I wasn't a writer. And I know that my story was no where near as good as the author's!
And, bottom line, I cheated because I didn’t want to do the work. And while I may have fooled the teacher, I hurt myself. I didn’t read, grow, and learn. I felt guilty for lying. I developed a bad habit of fabricating stories, which I became a master at when it came to my personal life.
This is what we do when we are stuck in our bad habits and addictions. We create a completely different story to tell everyone else. This often fools those around us. We can even come to believe our own false story after telling it long enough.
But God is not fooled. And what’s worse, as the author of your life, God has such a better story for your life, but he can only give it to you when you accept it.When you accept that you’ve been making it up as you went along. When you stop the lying and start being honest.
It’s the greatest freedom there is.
Stop living the lie. Start living your story.
Matt Coker is the Ministry Director of The Back Row. He is married to a beautiful woman he met in youth group and they have one mischievous son together. Matt collects Funko Pop figures, loves time travel movies, and enjoys exotic jerky meats. You can contact Matt via the contact page or on Twitter at @BackRowBeliever, or his personal account, @MatthewSCoker.