The Importance of Story

I don't know why I've run from my calling for so long.

And perhaps "run from" is not necessarily the best choice of words. Perhaps I should say "ignored what God has been telling me about (my calling for so long)."

I've known for a long time that story is my passion. I love reading - always have, always will. Give me a good book and a comfy chair and a cold rainy day and a cozy sweater and I'm good. And I've always loved writing. I've written poetry, lyrics, children's stories, and I'm working on a couple of novels. And I have a few more ideas in my head, floating around, running into each other every once in a while to create still more ideas.

But for a long time, I've considered my desire to work with and in stories silly. "No way, God. An English degree is really rather stupid. I mean, what kind of ministry can I do with that?"

And tonight it all became clear.

I attended the Centennial Celebration of the Church of the Nazarene at Trevecca Nazarene University tonight and heard Nina Gunter, one of the general superintendents of the denomination, speak. And although she spoke a lot about trusting in God, believing in ordinary people, and expecting great things, two phrases stuck in my mind for the entire service:

              "Tell your story. Listen to other people tell their stories."

That was it. That is when I realized - fully and for the first time - that my calling is in stories. In that moment, all my previous issues, all my wrestlings with God over the subject, ceased.

I was meant to minister through story.

And to back it up biblically (because I always have to do that for myself - I can't base something solely on "feeling" - I need to know that God confirms it), I thought about Jesus. He always was telling parables to the people, simple little illustrations that they could understand but which held within them truth-diamonds that shone the light of the Kingdom of God.

The stories Jesus told range from those about farmers and crops to wedding feasts. He created situations and characters that his listeners and followers could relate to, and then explained how each story told another story - His story, God's story.

And that is what my calling is. Not only to write stories that minister to people, but to teach others how to capture the essence of that other-ness that draws us into the story, that thing that plucks at our souls and makes us want to be more than what we are now. That thing that takes our lives from ordinary to extraordinary.

I want to help people find God in the story and find the story in God.