The Power Of Story
Stories are powerful! Throughout the ages they’ve been used to share history and culture, to educate and pass on information, to inspire, to move hearts and minds to a place of wonder, and so much more. In this series I want to look at the power of story in our lives and relationships.
Every person has a story and their story counts! It’s our story, our history that has brought us to this point in our journey through life. Every person’s story is different, even amongst those in the same family. Even though some aspects of a family’s story may be held in common, each person in it has a separate story within that whole. While stories are powerful there is something even more powerful – the relationship that comes through getting to know a person’s story. In the end, getting to know someone’s story is about getting to know them, about relationship.
The power of story in building relationship
I am fascinated by the power of story to bring us together, to build connection and relationship. Today I sat and thought about the power that story has had in my life; my story, the stories of those I love, and those I’ve learnt about through reading their story. Story has played a huge part in my life, both in real life and through books. Throughout my life I’ve been a voracious reader and I’ve got to know many people’s stories that way, but books have very real limitations. The biggest one being that they are books, not actual people, and a book usually only gives you what someone considers to be the important parts of their story. In the end, while a book will give you some way of getting to know a persons story, a book isn’t good enough in the end as a way to really get to know people; it’s relationship that will do that best. Sitting down and talking, looking each other in the eyes, seeing the expression on the face, the body language and hearing the subtle nuances in their tone of voice, these are the things that begin to build, and ultimately maintain, a relationship.
Going on a treasure hunt
Today I realised afresh how little I knew of some people’s story and I found myself longing to know more. So I’ve decided to go on an adventure, a treasure hunt, an expedition into the hearts of people I know, but don’t know enough. I wonder what treasures I'll find as I do. I know there’ll be treasures within their story, but the biggest treasure will be what develops from the sitting together, the listening and sharing – relationship!
Why don’t you join me on a treasure hunt, a hunt to find the treasure hidden in people’s story! As we know, it’s coming up to Christmas; that time when families and friends gather together to celebrate love - God’s love for us and our love for each other.
Can I suggest something for when you get together with family and friends or at the work party; would you consider putting your cell phones aside and spend some time asking for, and listening to, each other’s story, searching out the treasure contained in their life. Consider having a basket ready on your coffee table, labelled ‘cell phones’, and when people arrive tell them all cell phones go in there and don’t get pulled out for a certain period of time. Make it a new tradition. Don’t make it all day to start with - people won’t accept that; just make it a certain period of time like over mealtimes or when you’re all sitting around with a hot chocolate or cocoa after the presents have been opened.
Have a couple of common sense, but fun, rules around it, and maybe even a fun consequence for those who give in to the temptation to ‘just check their phone in case’… Make the rules around it common sense things like – the only reason cell phones can be removed from the basket is to answer an expected call from family who aren’t there, for an emergency or to take photos of the day, then they must be returned to the basket. Make mealtimes off limits for phones altogether and make them times where you talk and interact and hear each other’s story. If you do that, you’ll find new levels of connection, you’ll get to know each other on a deeper level, and find out what’s been happening in their world. Fun consequences - I'll leave those to your imagination!
Christmas is all about relationship and story is a huge part of Christmas – past, present and for ever. Make this Christmas one of remembering the power of story – yours, your family and friend’s stories, as well as the most precious story of all, the one where God came to dwell with man and never left.