Lately, Caleb and I have been dwelling on the idea of “story” and how God uses stories in our lives. There’s something about being human that makes us long for relationships, makes us long to connect and to be associated with someone or something. This is perhaps one of the most obvious ways in which we reflect God’s image. By His very nature, God exists in harmony with Himself. The Father, Son, and Spirit are divinely, intimately connected, and we harbor the need to be intimately connected to God and to one another as a result of being created to join God in relationship. It is precisely this characteristic that makes story one of the best ways to get to know others, as well as one of the best ways to teach others. We pay attention when someone tells a story, because we can relate to the characters. We put ourselves in their shoes and imagine how we would think, feel, and react. In my psych days at Northwestern, we learned that story aids memory for many reasons, but one is because we remember best when we are emotionally connected to something or when we must engage by imagining a scenario in our minds. This is why Jesus uses parables so often in the Gospels. This is also why learning (and I say learning because our stories are dynamic, always changing) our own stories and sharing them with one another is so important. It inspires us to connect with one another, to learn one another, to remember one another.
This last week in youth group we’ve been focusing on stories. Wednesday night, Caleb, Kirsten, and I shared our own stories (testimonies, if you will) to the students. We walked down to Lake Superior around 7, which is my favorite time on “the pond” because the sun is just beginning to set and the lake is a beautiful array of pastel colors. While throwing stones in the water, we shared our struggles and triumphs and explained where it is that we see Jesus in our stories. Then, we sent the students off to their own “spot” with some paper and a pen to think through and reflect on their stories. After awhile we came back together and they shared pieces of who they are with all of us. It was such a special, intimate time of learning and remembering one another and connecting with the Father, Son, and Spirit! We are in the process of requesting a few of the students to write pieces of their story so that we can share them with you!