Why We Need Stories

One of my current favorite television shows is, “This is Us.” As a series’ long fan of “Gilmore Girls,” the decision of whether I was Team Jess, Logan, or Dean was FINALLY decided after the first episode of “This is Us” because of how much I appreciated Milo Ventimiglia’s character as Jack. I know the characters are completely unrelated, but the gritty steadiness of the actor ties them together in my mind, making it an easy decision that Team Jess is my final answer. These types of stories draw me in because I find myself in them in various reflections.

Recently, I was evaluating who my target audience is. I’ve heard all sorts of advice saying that if your message is for everyone, your message is for no one. When determining who I want to hear my story the most, it wasn’t a straightforward answer, though. The answer is, my target audience is me.

My audience is me when I was a freshman in college, learning during final exam week that my dad had advanced cancer.

My audience is me when I spent every moment from then on till autumn of my sophomore year of college saying goodbye to him.

My audience is me when I started realizing that I would have to learn to navigate the uncharted waters of adulthood as a partial orphan.

My audience is me as a newlywed, learning all sorts of fresh things and how to intertwine two lives together into one while serving each other well.

My audience is me as a wife trying to encourage my husband through an unexpected job loss that led us to a couple years of desperately trying to make ends meet and searching for full time employment.

My audience is me as a woman, silently struggling with her husband through years of fertility problems.

My audience is me as a mom with no child in her arms because of a miscarriage.

My audience is me as a wife and daughter-in-law, trying to cope with the ramifications of years’ worth of deception and covered sin while making on the fly adjustments, processing, dealing with righteous anger, establishing new boundaries, and asking God to help me navigate through the uncharted territories of genuine forgiveness.

My audience is me as a pregnant woman, sitting by the deathbed of her beloved grandmother, realizing that I just was promoted to a new level of responsibility in the generational line.

My audience is me as a new mom, loving the miracle in my arms and learning how to maintain who I am as a woman, a wife, and a daughter of the Most High King while tweaking other responsibilities and relationships to better suit this season I’m called to.

My audience is me fighting the frictions of daily demands while yearning to love and serve Jesus well.

My audience is me and because of that, my audience reaches many of you who find yourself in my story.

I think Russell Moore’s piece on This Is Us sums that up beautifully.

Stories help us understand our own stories better. Learning about how someone else faced something we are facing helps give us hope and reminds us that we are not alone.

Also, reading a novel or biography or watching a show, movie, or play often causes us to ponder, “What is my role in the larger story?”

God gives us imagination and more creation in our own stories by adding pinches and dashes from the stories of others.

Are you a daydreamer? I am. When I “should” be laser focused, often, I catch divine rabbit trails. These interlocked thoughts help me collect valuable grains of truth, grace, love, and how to suffer well from various stories I’ve collected from other people to find who God made me to be in correlation with what His Word teaches.

Our stories are kinetic. They aren’t just captured in the past, present, or future; they exist as a whole in all of these places because of how they fit in with the Story Writer, who is stable.

Is our part one that we play with all of our heart or is it one that is just a wrote spilling of words we are requested to repeat?

I want my part to be authentic and immersive for whom God has written me to be.

God’s sovereignty in our stories not only connects us to people and Himself, it connects the dots of our lives to draw the line…the path… to His Story.

Yes, God’s assembly of characters and our lovingly created role connects the dots of our stories to His Story.

What role are you playing?

God has written a good story for you, it’s the best story ever told. Take up your lines and become immersed in the good part He wrote with you in mind.

 

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