Monday, 2 March 2015

How to Share Your Story and Why You Should Part I

Our bookcase is full.



No, I mean really full. From side to side the shelves are lined, books are stacked on top of one another, nooks and crannies are filled. From stories that tell of the horrific capture of young children, to fleeting memory in a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. From guidelines in leadership principles, to authors who call us to simplify our lives. From ideas on leading a church, to pages talking about who Jesus is. From textbooks discussing the intricacies of the human mind, to green eggs and ham...

Our bookcase is full.

Every group of bound up pages that line our shelves tells a story, fictional or real. They pronounce truth, expose darkness, remind us of young love and convict us on difficult hardships. They make us smile, laugh, cry. They make us feel something.

And this is the beauty of a narrative.

Each story contains something unique that tugs at the mind and heart of what it means to be human. We can learn new things, and be reminded of things we once knew. We can engage and reflect.

But what good is a bookcase full of books if they are never read? In order for a story to have impact, it must be shared. 

And although these books that line our shelves are wonderful resources and are often full of entertainment, it comes nowhere close to the real thing. They don't even begin to express the raw storytelling that comes from the person who lived the story. The expression in one’s eyes as they share of past love, the curve in one's handwriting as the ink tells of the hardships that have come. 

It seems that too often people keep stories brief. They share of the funny stories that happened to them at work, or a sad story they heard from a friend. Sometimes we can devalue a person’s story by over generalizing or saying, “I know what you mean.” Because even if you do, you don’t.

I am walking into a profession that exists to hear the stories. To listen to the heartache, hear the frustration, be guided through the inconsistencies.

I will do a lot more listening than speaking.

And this is often where the freedom comes... in uninterrupted storytelling. Too often we feel that our story is insignificant, unhelpful, or better to be left untold. We see our lives as ‘normal’ or ‘nothing special.’ This is where we go completely wrong.

There is freedom in telling your story; there is freedom in hearing someone else tell hers.

If your life were a bookcase, I can guarantee it would be full. Full of laughter, heartache, joy and tears. Full of love and loss. But will you pull the books down, open them up, pass them on? Will you tell your story?

(Look for Part II later this week...)

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