six little words

He does like green beans, but he’s more excited about the distorted reflection of his face on the side of the metal bowl! PJ’s six word memoir (according to me) would be “exuberant: finding the beat of joy.”

A few years back Smith Magazine (an online storytelling mag) issued its readers a challenge: write your life in 6 words.

Six little words.

The idea was based on the legend that Hemingway once wrote a story in six words: “For sale, baby shoes, never worn,” but SMITH took it further and asked readers to write their own stories. “Six-Word Memoirs” became a project, a “global phenomenon“ (I’m borrowing words from SMITH’s own Web site:, which has lots of great 6-word memoirs!), and a best-selling book series.

Somehow I didn’t hear about the “global phenomenon” until this past spring, but when I did, I wrote my own (more on that later).

When Dave began teaching Culture and Theology to high school seniors just a few weeks ago, he came home with this dilemma: “Many of them don’t seem excited about the Gospel. How are they going to get excited about how it can work in our culture?”

They can’t. Truthfully, none of us can get excited about the Gospel until we see it at work in our own lives. Only then will we be awed and fascinated by the ways God uses it to transform others.

So Dave backtracked in his class. “How has the Gospel impacted YOU?” he asked them. Not simply with initial salvation or coming to Christ (though he did some unpacking about the enormity of that), but what about since?

He showed them an online video ( that features spoken word artist Jason Petty. Borrowing from SMITH, it tells the Gospel in six words: “God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life.” Dave combined the two ideas: Write your own Gospel story, he told his class. Yes, the Gospel at its core is the same: God has set us free for an abundant life made possible by the perfect death of His Son, but make it personal: what is He setting you free from? What is He setting you free TO?

I loved the idea and, of course, tried a few more of my own. My first one had to do with the fatigue of that day: “motherhood—overwhelming role. Who am I?” But then I began looking at my big-picture issues (people-pleasing, guilt, martyrdom, pride, etc.—there’s a lot) and I tried several others. When I compared these with the one I wrote last spring, they were similar.

Here’s my latest draft: “Recovering perfectionist, learning I am ‘Be-loved.’”

What’s yours?

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