I love story. It is my escape, the form in which I learn best and what makes my life rich. Story gives us texture and a way to relate. It’s more than just a picture of something where you have to interpret the meanings and how things relate to one another for yourself. It allows us to have something to compare our own experience with in order to relate. Even if the story doesn’t capture your exact experience, often the elements will resonate inside of you. When a story like this unfolds in front of you, you are able to understand how things connect to your own life beyond the logistics, in the deeper layers like relationships and motives and desires and dreams. Story is powerful because it involves emotion and movement and logistics and relationship and thoughts all wrapped up into one translatable package. No matter your family of origin, your nationality, ethnicity, your gender, or even your generation, story bridges all barriers. I love story in any form whether that’s hearing someone’s personal story through film, and certainly through books. I read a lot and one book in particular that I love about story is Don Miller’s, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” In the book, he relates his personal story of having a film version done of his memoir, his story. It’s a great book. He also has a great small group study that follows the same material. In the material he mentions the four different components of a great story: (1) the main character (whether hero or villain), (2) the mission or purpose (for the main character ), (3) a struggle, and (4) a resolution.
That’s probably not a surprise to most of us but it really popped out to me. The fact that a good story must have struggle. It occurred to me how much money and time and energy and other resources we spend trying to avoid struggle. When struggle does pop up, often we try to suppress it or write it out of our story when we tell it to others. When we hear a story with struggle, often it is automatically considered a negative story.
However, one of the very foundational components that makes up a great story is struggle. By taking out that one small element, your story automatically becomes less relatable. Does any of us live a life without any form of struggle? Do things just automatically fall into place in your world? When you drive to work do all the lights just automatically turn green in traffic parting like the Red Sea? No.
[bctt tweet=”The greatest amount of growth and blessing and movement and impact in life often comes in the midst of struggle.” username=”orangeleaders”]
What’s more, is that God created our very design to be able to grow through struggle. He knew that we would face struggle. He knew that our lives would be, in varying degrees, difficult at times. And in His loving essence, He allowed us something very positive out of something that we would consider negative. The greatest amount of growth and blessing and movement and impact in life often comes in the midst of struggle. When we try to live through a perfect picture, something that Reggie Joiner would call a “stock photo,” we eliminate the essence of what allows us to be human, to be real, to relate to others, to fuel great growth, and to impact the world around us.
At the same time, I’m not promoting that you live a life of drama. I think many looking for that feeling of realness in life gravitate towards artificial drama in their social media posts or in the gossip that they jump into or even in their everyday lives. This is manufactured struggle. The struggle that allows us to relate to others and to grow is the natural struggle that we all face just living our lives the best we can. None of us are perfect. All of us have baggage. Through our natural attempts at doing things the best we can we are going to find obstacles and sometimes fall short. It’s this reality and authenticity about the genuine struggle that enters our life where the magic can be found. To eliminate the struggle that is naturally a part of our story is to make our story incidental. So, live your story not as a picture. Share that story and all its components including the great victories alongside the great struggle. In doing so, you will find yourself impacting the world.
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