I love story. I enjoy watching movies, reading books, and listening to other people tell their stories. There’s something beautiful about the art of story; tales of people’s lives have a way of inspiring and encouraging us when we need it the most. We’ve all experienced the sensation of a racing heart as the hero stepped up to conquer the villain and the pang of fear when it seemed like they might not make it. How many times have you cried because of the story of another? Or gotten enraged at what happened to a character? Or wished the story continued long after it ended?
I remember my roommate saying, after she had binge-watched the first couple seasons of a television show, that she felt like the characters were her friends. We didn’t have cable or internet at the time, so she was sad that she wasn’t able to see her new “friends”. At the time, I thought her comment was a little ridiculous, but now I think she was on to something. She, whether she recognized it or not, understood the power of story in her life.
I’m currently reading the book Scary Close, by Donald Miller. In it, he shares his journey of learning how to step out from behind his shell and learn how to be intimate. As I’m reading through his story, I’m making connections between his story and my own, I’m empathizing and relating to everything he went through. As he shares his process of healing, his story is becoming a small part of my story.
Our stories aren’t meant to be lived and then kept inside.
Stories are meant to be shared.
That’s one of the beautiful things about the Bible: it’s one big love story! A perfect, Almighty God chose to change the status quo and make a way for us, imperfect, sinful, unworthy beings, to have relationship with him. Because of his immense love that drove him to daring action, we are now able to reciprocate. The Bible is full of normal people like you and me who ended up doing amazing things for God, actions that we’re still seeing the effects of today. The stories of Paul and David and Esther and Mary and Joseph and many more have been told over and over again for hundreds of years to encourage people to ditch their baggage and grow closer to God.
Encouraging and challenging stories aren’t limited to those produced by Hollywood or ancient tales, your story is just as important.
What is your story? What has made you into the person you are today?
Take some time to really think about those questions. Begin to write out your story if that feels right for you. Do it now if you have the time, I’m not going anywhere.
Now that you have it in your mind: with whom have you shared your story?
You don’t have to call a meeting in which you formally share everything that happened to you, sharing is much simpler and more organic than that. When talking with a friend, after you’ve taken time to understand and process through your own story, you might find an opportunity to share a little nugget of encouragement. It’s powerful when someone is going through something and you’re able to draw from your own history and story to give them hope.
Stories are powerful, let’s use them well.
Lord, you are the ultimate story-teller. Your beautiful love story is written for us to read every day. Forgive us for the times when we’ve discounted our own stories and thank you that your grace is an integral part of our lives! Help us to see you in the midst of our stories and give us the courage to share what you’ve done for us. Amen!