Nov 1, 2010

We're Surrounded by Stories

Did you know you are surrounded by stories? The stories of people's lives unfold around us every day. What reminded me of this was sitting through jury duty selection this morning. If you've ever been selected for jury duty, you know the process. 20-30 people go into the courtroom and from those people the attorneys pick a handful of jurors.

The attorneys determine who they will select by asking each person about their family, work, life experiences, and more. As I sat there, I listened as people's stories unfolded all around me. There was the young lady in front of me whose baby died at 2 1/2 months. There was the elderly lady whose husband just passed away in May. There was the man sitting beside me who wore an eye patch and walked with a cane due to being in an automobile accident last year.

I am always interested when people share their story. Okay, I admit...sometimes it can start out a little mundane, but usually somewhere in their journey they've had something really cool...or something really sad happen in their life...or both. You never know what you're going to hear.

Last week one of my friends, who is a volunteer in our kidmin, shared his story with me. He was born in Liberia, Africa. His father was one of the top political figures in the country. When my friend was 8 years old, rebel forces overthrew the government. The rebel soldiers came to his house at night looking for his father. He, his brothers, and his mother hid in a back room. He told me he knew he was going to die...as an 8 year old boy he wondered how bad it would hurt when the bullets hit him.

The soldiers checked the entire house...except the room they were in. When they came to the door, they suddenly turned and left the house. Nothing short of a miracle. Shortly thereafter the rebels found his father and executed him. My friend fled the country with his mother and brothers and came to the U.S.  I would never have dreamed he went through something like that until I asked about his story. Now years later, His aunt is the first female president of the country.

Here's the cool thing! God wants to use you and I to help impact and make people's stories better. When they come in contact with God through you, their story can be radically changed. My family's story was changed for generations when God sent a man to invite us to church for the first time.

How can we be used of God to intersect and impact other people's stories?
  • Share your story with others. Tell them about the journey God has taken you on so far. 
  • Ask people to share their story with you.
  • Listen for people's stories. You may overhear it through a side conversation or when someone begins to share a prayer request.
  • Watch for people whose story currently involves pain or heartache. You will see it in their eyes. 
  • Ask God to use your life to impact other people's story and even see it radically changed if needed.
  • Put action behind your prayers. When God speaks to you about helping them...obey...instantly.
Each and every day we are surrounded by people's stories. I was surrounded this past weekend by stories. There was the boy whose dad doesn't attend church with him. His story needed an encouraging word. There was the father who is in the middle of a divorce and is heartbroken that his little girls are having to go through it. He walked through the doors of our church for the very first time and his story needed hope. There was the story of the dad whose son is facing cancer surgery tomorrow. His story needed prayer. There was the volunteer who is trying to raise three boys by herself and feels overwhelmed. Her story needed some hugs and prayers from some of the ladies on our kidmin staff.

Share your story this week. Look around this week. Listen this week. Watch this week. Stories will unfold all around you. Ask God to use you to change someone's story. And when He puts the opportunity in front of you, obey and let Him write the next chapter through you.

1 comments:

Dale,

Great article. I'm a big fan of stories. One of my favorite questions is, "what's your story?" It a bit cliche, but it usually gets people talking about things that are important to them. If you can get past the initial fluff, you can usually find out some really interesting aspects of people's stories. So often we live our lives from one event to the next without ever stepping back to look at the big story of our lives and how it fits into God's story.

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