I love a good story. I always have. They have the power to mesmerize me. Consider me a bibliophile in the highest order. I connect with stories…I relate…and totally immerse myself in them. Not the shallow end for me, my friends, I’m swimming in the deep waters. I am a confirmed introvert and am exhausted by superficial conversation, but give me a good story….and I… will …engage. It is the personal stories that I find the most compelling, because I put myself in someone’s shoes and I feel….
I am reading about the importance of a person’s story right now. It is a book called Speak by Nish Weiseth. Jen Hatmaker recommended it. I love Jen Hatmaker’s writing and Jen Hatmaker loves Nish Weiseth’s writing, therefore I must love Nish Weiseth’s writing. Right? There you have the transitive property of mathematics in action. Who says you won’t use those pesky mathematical properties in the real world!?
I must say that she had me at hello…or at least by the Forward of the book which is pretty much page one. She tells us something that we already know. We are a self confessed culture of labels. We want to fit people neatly in containers based on their appearance, their jobs, where they went to school, where they live, or the cars they drive. As much as I don’t want to do that and intentionally tell myself NOT to, I am guilty
some all of the time of doing just that. But when it gets personal…it makes a difference.
“And that is why story matters. Because when you listen to a story, you have to give up your stereotypes and your labels. Because stories crawl out of the boxes every chance they get. Because stories zig when we think they’ll zag. Stories reach out and grab our labels and shred them to confetti”.
In thinking of the relevance of what the author is saying, I realized that we have a powerful tool at our disposal for helping others…telling our own story, but more importantly listening to theirs. It will take them out of the box we have put them in, and ultimately help us find connecting points. It will highlight our commonalities rather than our differences. It will allow us to know that we are not alone in our journeys because others are ahead and behind.
Today, I heard someone’s story. It was tragic in so many ways, yet God’s love and faithfulness could be found there as well. I think telling our story is our most powerful witness to our Heavenly Father. Through it, there is evidence of where He has led, how He has helped us overcome, or when He granted us with faith over fear. We can see where bad things happen to good people, and how God works to redeem them in unfathomable ways. I have always believed that we are given our challenging experiences so that we might help others but I never thought of actually telling my story to accomplish it. It’s so simple, yet so powerful. I do want to hear others stories, but sometimes think that my story is … vanilla. However, I must remember that my chapter fits into the timeless story that began in Genesis. It has been given to me…for a reason…and might help someone in ways that I will never know, but I guess I really don’t need to.
“For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”~ Luke 17: 21