"The Stirring Stratosphere of Stories: A World That Transforms Us"
Have you ever wondered why we love stories so much? I mean, really……here in America…..we LOVE stories. As kids we cannot wait for bedtime stories or story time at school. As adults, we flock to go to the movies, DVR our favorite programs on TV, and buy the DVD’s that we love the most. But why? Why do stories capture our attention at such a high level?
I think it’s because we connect to stories. When we watch great stories, I mean stories that inspire us, it is often because we can connect to the characters or the story. Perhaps it is because stories go beyond our intellectual thinking and go straight for our hearts. They cut right through our defenses and hone in on the most intimate hopes, fears, and desires that we harbor in our soul. They touch us……and deeply.
I look at the stories I have loved:
· I love the first Rocky movie: Who doesn’t relate, at some level, to being an underdog…..someone who has to work hard to find success. Who DOESN’T want to overcome the odds in life and rise above hardship to success? I relate to being a late bloomer and someone who wishes he had a “Mickey” in his life years ago. I mean, c’mon…..who doesn’t want their spouse to be in their corner leading a chant of our name as we fight to rise above our circumstances? Rocky grabs our hearts….and our attention.
· I love the Lord of the Rings movies. I can relate with Frodo in how the burdens of life can sap us of our innocence, tempt us to go down the wrong paths, and that there are times we don’t even want to go on. Yet, something pushes us onward. Something in us wants to do something great for the people we love and so we keep going. I relate to Aragorn, who ran from his calling for years because he feared he could not live up to such a responsibility. I relate to that! Many men run from success as much as they do failure because, deep down, we’re not sure we have what it takes to carry that mantle.
· I love Good Will Hunting! Something in my masculine soul longs for a person, like Robin Williams, to believe I’m worth investing in, even when I’ve screwed up so many times. Even when I try to hide my deepest insecurities through a false sense of bravado.
I could do this all day!
· I love the book and musical, Les Miserables, because it powerfully shows the power of grace in changing hearts and lives; the way the grace of the bishop changed the life of a hardened criminal like Jean Valjean….forever! And the contrast of Javert, the legalist, who will not believe in the power of grace but hunts Jean Valjean to fulfill the letter of the law. THAT MOVES ME because I know how God’s grace has transformed my life, even if many who knew me “before” don’t believe it.
Okay, I’ll stop. But think about it! Stories are powerful to our hearts. Why do you think Jesus OFTEN used stories to make his points? He knew that stories cut through all the religious and intellectual barriers and went straight to the heart of the matter.
Stories change us! They inspire us! They take us to greater depths of introspection and greater heights of motivation!
So…….what about you? Seriously, I have two challenges for you, reader.
1. I invite you to send me the movies and books…..the STORIES…that have affected you in powerful ways and why. I’m thirsty to hear about what characters you related to and why you related to them. I’m eager to read about how stories have taken you to greater heights in your life. I hope you’ll email me these stories at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. What about YOUR stories? Seriously, I would be so honored if you would take a moment and email me parts of your own story…….stories of heartache and discovery, stories of triumph and despair, stories where God showed up and changed your life in amazing ways. I’m dying to hear YOUR STORIES. You may think your story would mean little to someone else but the truth is that God has written your story so that you could be an influence to others; that others could learn from wisdom you gained through failure or success, that the way God has worked in your life might be a beacon for the rest of us. Don’t underestimate how your story might convict the hearts of the rest of us. Again, email me at email@example.com
Remember, there is power to stories. Don’t ignore yours. Even if you don’t email me a thing, take another look at your story. Discover the themes God has woven through the tapestry of your life. These are clues to how He wants to use you now and in the future. Stories are catalysts of change and transformation…even yours.
Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit www.lifeworksgroup.org or www.legacycounselingservices.org
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