The Power of a Good Story

Oct 22, 2019 | 0 comments

Happy Soul Tending Tuesday to you,

My mom read to us often when we were kids. Stories before bed. Stories after swim lessons as we lay on the grass in the park. Stories during lunch.

(In full disclosure Mom told us years later she read to us while we ate so that we wouldn’t fight with each other. It is true, listening did decrease the chance that we would bicker.)

This was before the age of AC being widely available and I can remember laying with a box fan blowing as we were all trying to live through the heat. Years later, stories bonded my first teammate and me to each other as we shared our lives over cups of tea.

Mail from home was so precious we would often read sections of a letter out loud filling in the back story.

I’ve been thinking about the relationship between story and tending your soul after reading the following last week on Seth Godin’s blog:

If we give an isolated community access to the internet, very quickly, the quality of life will improve. Time will be saved, research into proven solutions will produce value, and people will become connected to a larger population. Those connections will lead to productivity and learning.

And, then, soon thereafter, they will become less happy.

Not because they’re worse off, but because the dominant media narratives that arrive exist to make them feel insufficient, inadequate or simply jealous at how green the grass is over there.

Our narrative defeats our surroundings, every time.

Did the last line stop you in your tracks? Your narrative defeats your surroundings, every time.

Often, living cross-culturally your surrounding is dominant. Of course it is. Visas may be denied. Most of your day may go to keeping you alive and your clothes relatively clean. You may not be present “back home” for important events in the lives of friends and family. Surroundings matter.

But what is more powerful than surroundings? The story you are telling.

Telling your soul stories isn’t about putting on a happy face and repeating how blessed you are. It is not lying to your soul or denying the hard parts of life. Too often we have simplified messy realities to simple one-dimensional stories that do not really hold up under pressure.

We know from Jesus and his use of parables, that stories are powerful. Remember a few weeks ago when we practiced stillness by watching this video? Rewatch it and spend ten minutes asking God to show you where stories you’ve been telling about God, about humanity, about your host culture, about your team, about your family, about . . . I don’t know where it is that the story you are telling needs to be edited or updated. But God does.

I do know this: God loves a good story and telling good stories is one way you can tend your soul this week.

The stories we tell about each other, especially about our teammates, are powerful. This month’s workshop helps you understand yourself and teammates better . . . so that our stories of each other are more accurate and move us towards each other (instead of away). Get it today and start telling better stories.

Photo by Dani Aláez on Unsplash

Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Supporting cross-cultural work.




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