Thursday, March 16, 2017

Your stories: Where do you find them?

Your stories are all around you, just waiting for you to put them in writing.

Look at your cell phone contact list, your address book, your Facebook friends, your email inbox, your Twitter friends—what stories can you write about some of those people?

What stories can you write about the fun you had with them? About the adventures? What did you learn alongside them about failure, hard work, success, romance, illness, teamwork?

What skills did those people teach you?

What lessons did they teach you?

Who taught you about honesty, integrity, perseverance, kindness, compassion, generosity, faith in God? How, specifically, did those individuals shape you and encourage you to be the person you are today?

Write your stories! But not just stories. God-and-you stories.

Stories are everywhere. Look around your office or your house. What have you tucked into a special drawer or a safe deposit box?

If a tornado siren sounded, or if a smoke alarm went off, what would you grab and take to a safe place?

If those items could talk, what stories would they tell?

I think about that question a lot.

Someday I want to write stories based on my old blue American Tourister carry-on bag (a gift from Schiefelbeins before Dave and I left for Africa; thanks, Rick and Marilyn!). It has traveled with me for 24 years and counting, across three continents: from this planet’s most primitive places to the world’s most sophisticated cities—and what stories it could tell! Not just stories, but God-and-me stories.

What stories would my husband’s grandmother’s aluminum colander tell? And her ironing board? I don’t know how many years Grandma Jennings used them, but I’ve used them for 50 years! Five generations of our family (so far) have used those items. Imagine what stories they could tell—stories of God’s faithfulness to our family, generation after generation.

Why have you thrown out some possessions but kept others for many years?

Why could you never throw them out or give them away? Because they represent something important to you. What is that something?

Look around and ask yourself:

“If this dining room table could talk, what stories would it tell?”

“If my old Bible could talk, what stories would it tell?”

“If these boots could talk, what stories would they tell?”

What about a photo? A book? Washing machine? Piece of art? Jewelry? Woodworking tools? Coffee mug? Mechanical tools? Art supplies? A vase? A favorite old devotional book?

Many items could tell stories—stories significant to you and your family.

Set aside time to think about a key item. Ponder its importance: while you drive to work or mow the lawn or brush your teeth or walk the dog or drive the grandkids to baseball practice.

Look at old photos connected with the item—photos of places and people.

What questions do you need to ask?

What questions do you need to ask yourself?

Peel back layers. Wait for answers. Listen for them.

When answers surface, write your storiesnot just stories. Write God-and-you stories.

Remember, while you’ve been using and enjoying those items, God has always been with you, working in you, working on your behalf.

Your stories are all around you. You don’t need to experience news-making miracles to witness God at work. He is in your everyday comings and goings.

Oswald Chambers says it this way:

“We look for visions from heaven
and for earth-shaking events
to see God’s power.
Yet we never realize that
all the time God is at work
in our everyday events….”

Write your stories!

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