Do you remember reading storybooks as a child? What was that experience like? I have to say when I was growing up we didn’t have storybooks in our home, but we had our imaginations and I can remember sitting around telling stories. The ones I remember most are the scary ones that kept me up at night. Fast forward to motherhood and the storybooks my children had were largely Disney Fairy Tales. My first real encounter with storybooks and the powerful stories they hold came as an adult during a retreat. The retreat director would often read storybooks to us to illustrate a message from the Bible. The imagery was powerful.
It was during this time that many things began falling into place for me about the power of one’s life story. The power of the life journeys we share. The power of our faith stories brings life to the Bible Scriptures. Isn’t that what Jesus did when he was sharing the parables? What better way to share our faith, to introduce Papa God, to demonstrate the love Jesus offered in His death and resurrection? Words can sometimes fall very short, but our stories using those very words can bring life.
Now you may think I am getting a little over the top here, but STOP and think about a person you have encountered who is so afraid of sharing who they are – their story. It may be because of the painful experiences they have had and the shame they hold in their hearts. It may be because no one has taken the time to listen to them. Can you imagine how powerful it would be to just sit with them, take time, and listen to their story and then share a portion of your own that may speak to them where they are at that moment in time?
So often our reluctance comes from the belief that we don’t have a story or we are afraid to share too much of whom we are because then we are vulnerable. What I have learned as I have shared my story is every time I choose to share my story a place in my soul heals. But more important than that, every time I choose to share a piece of my story the listener’s soul is touched and also experiences healing. Everyone has a story to tell!
Jesus said the first commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul.” Sharing our stories with Papa God is what builds our relationship with Him. It is his one desire. Jesus then said the second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sharing our stores with one another is also how we build relationships with one another. The healing power is in our stories. What is the story you need to share? Whose story can you listen to today?
Leanne the Urban Hermit