What is your story? Lisa Hunt-Wotton
Lets talk about The Transforming Power of Story: What is Story and why is it important?
Talk to anyone who knows me and they will tell you that “I Tell a good story” or that “She always has a good story to tell”. Some would say that I – “Have my foot on the exaggerator”.
In defence of me a good friend once described it this way.
“I was there, she’s not really exaggerating; its just that we see the world in black and white and Lisa sees it in colour”.
I am not ashamed to say that I am a storyteller. I love stories, I love movies, I love books, I adore narrative and nothing makes me engage more than a good story.
Your story is incredibly important. It is a powerful way to communicate, it brings hope to others and healing to yourself. Even the act of speaking your story is healing.
Every culture that exists or has been known to exist had a strong storytelling culture. A story all their own that shaped and was shaped by the people. Story sits deeply in the very DNA of who we are as human beings. Stories are used for entertainment, for teaching, for passing on old knowledge and wisdom and for warnings.
- Story shapes us
- Gives us a history
- A context
- A lineage
- A future
Our life is our story and our story is our life. Every one of us is born into life a blank page and every person leaves life as a full book. For some of us our lives become a series of books and epistles.
Story is the foundation of all relationships, its how we communicate.
What do you do when you meet someone new? You immediately begin to find out their story.
- How old are you?
- Are you married ?
- How many children do you have ?
- Where do you live ?
- What do you do for a job?
Your story is a powerful tool. Story opens up our hearts, it gives us perspective and understanding.
Science is now uncovering that dreams play a central role in our emotional health, our memory, our learning and as a way to help us to find solutions to our problems.
This excerpt from an article in Health and Well Being explains a bit more: http://health.ninemsn.com.au/family/goodhealthandmedicine/8206403/why-is-dreaming-so-important
There is now convincing evidence that dreaming is important for our psychological wellbeing. In essence, a dream dramatises people’s daily emotional concerns and waking issues. This dramatisation during REM sleep is linked to the restoration of mental wellbeing.
Memory Every night when you sleep your dreams take the day-to-day events and attempt to weave them into your memory. Dreaming helps to move all the data from the day and assists the dreamer to consider and at times rethink their world view following the day’s events.
We all have a story to tell. Every single one of us have a personal story but we also share a community story. A community story is that which resonate with all of us in a local area. Examples of this in our Victorian Community would be the Black Saturday bush fires or the Australian Football Grand Final. There is also a Universal Story. These are narratives that captivate and include the international community. Examples of this would be the September the 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre.
Why is story so powerful?
Story is powerful because it is able to bring perspective and shift our point of view.
In my past life as a leader and vocalist on our church worship team, week after week I would be on the platform singing and leading in worship. After one meeting an elderly man came up to me and shared something with me. This is what he said:
“Each month I have come to church and watched you sing and share. You are always smiling, always happy. It used to really annoy me and I would go home from church quite angry. That girl is so shallow, she knows nothing of what goes on in the real world. I wish she would stop smiling.
Then not long ago you were asked to share some of your story and you talked about how, whilst very young, your husband died of cancer leaving you a widow with three small children. Then I realised that it was a miracle that each week you were able to get up and sing let alone smile. You see not long ago I buried my darling wife, the love of my life. But we are old and have had a long and happy life together. I realised that your life had been robbed by death and you were so young. My anger and my grief for my own wife faded away as I began to thank God for the fact that I had lived a full life with my beloved for over 60 years. Please forgive me?”
This is a great example of how finding out about someones story can change your perspective. What was once grating and annoying was transformed into understanding and healing.
Story cuts through our prejudice, our bigotry our religiosity. It connects us to the other. We are to shine as lights in this universe and our story is that which propels us, shapes us, guides us. It is the revelation of who we are and what we are here for.
What does God say? The whole bible is a big story made up of hundreds of little stories. The Bible is Gods Story, a metanarrative. At its simplest, the word means metanarrative means “Big Story”. The story of God comes to us in the stories of a chosen people who experienced God. So, if someone were to ask you, “What is the Bible all about?” you could answer, the Bible is the story of God’s self-revelation to the world through His people.. If the bible had a back flap explaining what it is about it might say this.
“… the Christian gospel . . . tells how for the world’s redemption God entered into history, the eternal came into time, the kingdom of heaven invaded the realm of earth, in the great events of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. ”F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? 5th ed.
Jesus spoke in parables. His primary style of communication was story. This is how he captured the attention of his followers. Essentially HIS story, the Story of Jesus, centers around what he did for us on the cross. He defeated the powers of darkness and made a way for us to do the same.
Victory comes through what Jesus did for us and by our story. Revelation 12: 10-11
Satan is before the throne day and night accusing them. They, the people he is accusing, are us, the saints; the same ones who overcame him. Had Jesus blood not been shed satan’s accusations would have been unanswerable. Jesus blood meets every single charge. On the ground of their faithful testimony. Our testimony is our story of the power of Christ in our lives to heal, to bring freedom, to forgive and to bring life. When our story intersects with HIS STORY – we are able to overcome every conflict.
The enemy works in two ways to stop us overcoming:
1: He doesn’t want our story to be told, he knows there is power in it.
2: He works to Silence our story through – secrecy, shame, fear, trauma.
Did you know that 50% of your healing comes when you are able to find the words to tell someone. 50% of your healing comes when you find a safe person to tell your story. When you can speak, tell your story, light begins to flow into the situation, If you have parts of your story that you cannot speak, you have not yet started on your journey of healing in those areas.
Healing comes when you can re-create your story, when you can fit all the parts of the jigsaw together. Sometimes this can simply be chatting with a safe friend and putting the pieces together. For others like myself who’s journey has involved a lot of trauma and abuse, it can take a decades of counselling and therapy and learning how to tell your story how to find the words. The important thing is that you start.: The second thing is; he doesn’t want us to change, to be transformed – he certainly does not want us to become like Christ. Therefore, the enemy sends fiery darts into us to Prevent transformation.
What is transformation?
TRANSFORMATION – means that the negative parts of you story has no power over you. Transformation – means complete change. It doesn’t matter any more. It has no power over you.
“Story creates a vision and a vision must produce character. The character we display to those around us is the clearest, most convincing witness we have. When our character is seen to be consistent with our story, then our voice will be clear and our story will
Leighton Ford, The Power of Story
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Recommending Reading: Leighton Ford, The Power of Story