As I looked around the room I was once again struck by the fact that every person has a story. EVERY person has both a story being lived as well as a story to tell. Not one of us is simply made up of a random set of disconnect events not worth being told.
There are stories behind every register, found in every waiter or waitress, being lived by the person in the car next to or behind or in front of us in our cars. There are stories being told by the people we love, the people we struggle to like and the people we don't know. There is not a person on earth who does not have or live a story.
Each story is filled with events that cause actions or reactions. The way that each of us participate in conversation or groups, our ability to connect or not connect intimately with people is partly a result of the story we've lived up to that point. Each person's story affects the way each person lives.
As I desire to get to know people and walk with them in life I have learned that not everyone knows how to tell their story and not everyone is living the story they wish they were living. It amazes me how many of us wished we had the story of so and so, judging that person's story only by the outside by how we feel on the inside. We see the cover of someone else's story and we say, "Oh! that's the story I want!!!" and go out never reading the pages of the book to tell us of the difficulty, challenges, moments of beauty and moments of pain from which the book cover came.
I've also learned that we like to ask questions that only tell the timeline of the story. What I did yesterday. What I will do this weekend. How I will spend my summer. We struggle to ask the questions that give the meat of the story. What was the highlight of your day yesterday? What made it so. What are you thinking about these days? What are you passionate about? What do you dream of? Where is there struggle in your story? Where is there cause to celebrate? These questions open up the story of person to telling us a story of how past and present collide in today, revealing the heart of a person.
Learning each other's stories is crucial as we build into one another. I'd say even as we have a desire for others to know Jesus. If Jesus is woven into the fabric of my story, He will be seen and heard of as I share my story with others. It is a natural part of conversation. If I want someone to know why I'm in a bad mood rather than simply just to be affected by my bad mood, then I get to share my story with them. It might alter relationships in the process.
Telling my story and asking others to tell me theirs opens up doors to relationships that have truly enriched my life. You'll find many of these stories written in my blog.
What is your story?
This week take a chance and see how many stories you can hear. For one week, see each person as a story teller and ask him/her questions to get their story out. Let's say you go to the grocery store, you have a person in front of you with a name tag. Use the name on the tag and ask him/her a question like, "What is the best thing that has happened to you today?" You can try this out with bank tellers, waitresses, co-workers, neighbors. Just start asking questions and see what happens.
I'd love to hear what the result is as you begin to hear the stories of others. Leave a comment below that shares how it all worked out, so we can learn from your story!