We have an affinity for stories. We like to tell them because they create a summary of something that we found important in our life. The stories we tell, the way we frame them all play into a narrative that we are trying to share about our life. For instance, if you hang out with church planters, you will hear a million stories about the non-Christians that have interacted with the church community. If you hang out with business men, you will hear stories about their successful business ventures. If you hang out with mothers you will hear stories about their children. Stories are how we remember and infuse meaning into our daily activities and the things we care about.
What happens though when you’ve been telling the same stories for ten years? What happens when the stories you are telling no longer reflect the reality of your present? If you are a mother and the only stories you are telling is when your kid was three, but now he’s fifteen? If you are a church planter and you keep telling the story of that one time your church rallied together to drop off diapers to the single mother that one time?
I think what ends up happening with stories is we start to substitute them for relationships, for present stories. We hold onto these stories of old to prove that what we are doing now is still legitimate. But old stories are not enough. Our role can’t be just to tell the stories of past successes. We must continue to move forward and discover new stories, and invest in new relationships. Don’t get stuck in the past and think your present role is to tell stories of the past. Rather remember those stories and create new ones that can keep being told.