What I Learned From Taylor Swift

That’s right people; Taylor Swift is teaching important life lessons. Get a pen and paper (or whatever contraption you use to remember things) – this is huge.   I am super-pumped about this post, but before I “begin again” (yep, I did) let me explain why Taylor is on my mind.  I have been a closet Taylor Swift fans for years. I know, I know. I realize I am 30 years old, but I feel like “22” people!   It all started with “Drew” and those “tear drops on her guitar,” but now the world knows: I.  Am.  A.   Taylor.  Swift.  Fan.  Whew!! That feels good coming out.    Now before you start hating, stop and ask yourself, “Am I a closet Taylor fan?” It’s okay, it really is.  If after contemplating your love for Taylor you find that your love runs dry, and you find yourself pointing a judgmental finger my way, “why you gotta be so mean?” Granted, if she ever starts twerkin on stage, I may reconsider.

Knowing I am on the Taylor Swift bandwagon, my husband offered to send me to her last concert in Nashville.  I, of course, was jumping up and down like a fifteen-year-old girl at one of her concerts – hmm.   Anyways, my husband in all of his sweetness did not realize that purchasing the tickets would be the equivalent to our monthly mortgage.  So no, I didn’t get to go. I was not “The Lucky One” (at least not this time).

Why are tens of thousands of people willing to spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars to watch Taylor live?

Story telling.

Taylor fan or not, you have to admit, she is an amazing storyteller.  The songs capture all of our senses and make us feel as though we are there with her. It is like we are sitting on those cold bleachers in our t-shirt and feeling the rejection of watching someone else who wears “short shorts” snag the guy – unless of course you were the girl in the shorts (different frame of reference).

When she sings “15,” as though it were yesterday, we remember that first day of high school and trying to figure out where we fit in.

Think about the “Tim McGraw” song.  Every time we hear it, we reminisce back to those old blue jeans we used to wear almost every day – hoping that the loser that broke up with us really regrets it.  We share her anger as she burns his picture and hates on his stupid old pick-up truck that he never let her drive.

After listening to“22,” I want to get dressed up like a hipster (which I am still trying to figure out what that would be exactly – glasses?) and then go out dancing.  However, I typically just end up in the living room busting out mad dance moves with the toddlers.

What does all this mean?  Here’s what it means: We need to get our “Taylor on” people!

No, I don’t mean having an air guitar show in the kitchen, hair thrashing and all.  Although, I do know from experience that this will get your kids’ attention (possible parenting strategy).  It does not mean we start writing angry songs about our husband when he forgets to take out the trash.

Getting your Taylor on simply means to be a storyteller.   There is a great story to be told.  “It’s a love story baby – just say yes!”  Say yes to telling yourself this story every day.

What is this story?  If you are a Christian, you have a story. Or, as Taylor likes to say, you have a song, but “our song” is not a “slamming screen door.”  Rather, our song is the fact that we slammed the door in the face of our great love – God Himself.   We said, “forget you;” I love myself more than I love you and I am going to write my own story.  The Bible teaches that this rebellion is called sin, and as a result, we deserve death (Romans 6:23).  If the story ended there, God would have been just to simply let us die in our sin – forever separated from Him.

But the story continues.  God sent His only Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect life for 33 years. Then, He was brutally murdered in my place on a bloody cross.  Not only was He publicly executed by the hands of evil men, but even more unfathomable, He was crushed by the wrath of His own Father for our sin.  Christ conquered death and the grave and now for those who believe in Him, they can be called the children of God.   He changes “our song” by giving us His story. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, this is your song: you had nothing to offer a holy King but the sin that nailed him to a tree, and yet He offered you eternal life – not because you were lovely, but to make you lovely.  But not just that, this great God offers us His unending and unconditional love.  Until we’ve been loved by Jesus, we’ve never truly been loved.

We need to remind ourselves of this story daily.  That is, that we had nothing to do with our salvation.  Not only this, but there is nothing we can do to keep our salvation – not even having a good Bible study.

The fact is, though many don’t even realize it, those around us are starving for this story.  Every woman desires to be loved for who she is, in spite of all of her flaws and shortcomings.  We have a greater story to tell than Taylor, and we must become Spirit-filled storytellers seeking to capture our listener’s senses with the great love of their heavenly Father.

When my kids are fighting in the backseat because apparently my oldest will not stop committing the crime of looking at his sister, the story must be told.

When big sister does not want to help little brother clean up the toys, the story must be told.  Jesus came and spilled His blood for our sins, all while He was sinless.  He cleaned up messes that He did not make.

When our children wake up with nightmares, tell them the story.  Christ is a conquering King!  He came to destroy not only Satan himself, but all of his boogey-men.

Additionally, we must pursue authenticity in our storytelling.

What do I mean by this?

Taylor has woven her life experiences – pain, rejection, joy, and confusion – into a melody that people can’t get out of their heads.    The media often pokes fun at Swift for getting inspiration from her breakups, but this is why we love her songs so much.  It’s because they are real.  Authenticity is something people will pay to see.

I would argue that many Christians are afraid to be authentic.  “If they knew how crazy I was they would punk out!” On the contrary, I would argue that authenticity will draw people to you! Craziness and jacked-up-ness loves company.

Authentic storytellers don’t “hide there crazy;” instead, they let it all hang out. They use it to point others toward the One who holds it all together.  God will use all of our pain, rejection, fears, joy, bruises, and scars for His story.  None of our pain is wasted. He is weaving all of these things together for our good and His glory.

We can step out in grace and be real with others because the cross has already told them how big of a failure we are and that we are loved in spite of it.  We don’t have to hide anything because the cross has already exposed everything.

Your kids, coworkers, church members, neighbors, and husband need to see you living authentically in the Lord. Real Christians are not wearing a halo and smiling all the time (those that pretend to make me want to punch them in the face). So get over it!  Your kids don’t need a super-mom, they need to see your tears – and then tell them the story.  People around you need to see you fail; then they are reminded, “Oh yeah! She is not saved because she is a perfect person, but because her trust is in a perfect Jesus!” Tell them how you sin, too, and that’s why Jesus came – to rescue this woman from herself.

Be an authentic storyteller.  If you need to use an air guitar, go for it!  Twittter @AnnieEdwards01

Here are some great storytellers that have helped me:

Ann Voskamp

Give Them Grace

Sarah Mae

Sally Lloyd-Jones

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