Stories are incredibly important to us.
As children, most of us learned the word “story” and we often attached that word to anything we read or heard that was fictional in nature.
But later in life, the word story took on new meaning. Stories became ways or modes of talking about experiences we had that were memorable, and we couldn’t wait to tell others.
Perhaps about a big event in our day.
Or that person we just met.
Or that vacation we just went on.
Or that job interview we just had.
Or, or, or…
Sometimes our stories are not spoken but are instead internalized.
We meet someone for the first time, and we tell ourselves a story about why that person is the way that they are. Why they look like that. Why they talk like that. Where they come from. How much better we are than them. This internal process can happen in a matter of moments.
Sometimes we tell stories about ourselves.
Like when our spouse says something that hurts us, and we tell ourselves a story about why they did that.
When we lost our job and we tell ourselves a story about why we couldn’t get hired.
When we never got the job in the first place (after investing so much time into our application), and we tell ourselves a story.
Why we didn’t get the raise.
Wasn’t accepted by that church.
Looked down on by that person.
Have an ongoing medical condition.
Can’t seem to ever get ahead.
Never enough time in the day.
Why life is too damn busy.
We are all telling ourselves stories to make sense of what happens in our lives.
Sometimes we’re unaware that we’re doing this because it’s so habitual and often unconscious. But the stories we are telling ourselves about what happens in our lives…matters.
They are not meaningless.
They have the power to change our motivations and choices and outcomes in life.
They can make or break relationships.
They can make or break our careers.
They can make or break our sense of wholeness.
They can lead one person to love and one person to hate.
They can lead one person to give and one person to take.
Stories have power.
But the stories we are telling ourselves are not the only stories around.
There are other stories.
Stories waiting to be birthed in us and through us.
Stories about making a difference in this world.
Stories about goodness and hope and love that are just waiting to come forth from us…
If we would all but stop and listen.
And then begin to tell new stories.