Friday, November 11, 2011

Spinning A New Story

Spinning A New Story
A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

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Hosea 12:9-11 NIV 1984

 9 “I am the LORD your God,
   who brought you out of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again,
   as in the days of your appointed feasts.
10 I spoke to the prophets,
   gave them many visions
   and told parables through them.”

I have been thinking about what someone said at the Navigate conference I recently attended about how Jesus created culture through the telling parables. In looking up parables in my concordance I have discovered that parable telling is not just a practice of the New Testament  but is also well established in the old.

Psalm 78: 2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—

Proverbs 1:5-7

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
   and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
   the sayings and riddles of the wise.

 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
   but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Think about the many stories that are told through out the Bible. Little children learn about Cain and Able, and Noah and The Arc, David and Goliath and so many others. From those stories we begin to learn about God. We see how others encountered God and we learn not only from the stuff they did right but from the stuff they messed up. If God put my story in the Bible - what would that story be like? Would I be the victim or the hero, would I be the lead or the supporting character in someone else's story. I love how the stories I read in my bible the people are rarely perfect. You get their triumphs of faith along with their dismal failures.

I realize that the art of telling a story or even a joke is not my strong suit. I have been good at writing things that encourage people but not so good at spinning a story. I was reading in one of my life coaching books by Laurie Beth Jones in it she writes "Most types of therapy involve someone listening to an old story and helping the client find new meaning in it. Only when the person has transferred from believing the old story (I am a victim) to believing a new story (this event is only helping me to be a much stronger person) does real healing take place."

"She also writes that the words store and story are very similar for a reason. The mind remembers what it attaches emotion to, and by incorporating stories around facts or perceptions, the memory improves."

I have a very hard time talking about the past, be it good or bad. I realize that my tendency is to just keep moving forward. I have found that I have had to go back and look at some of the stories I did hold on to. I realize some of them I could only see from one angle that my perception was very limited. Jesus has had to help me to stepping back I realized there was more going on in those stories than I had previously realized. I have had to accept that in some cases I completely misunderstood the signals others around me were trying to communicate because I filtered them through my own hurts. I am realizing that it is only with Jesus' help that I can make sense of the past and not freak out about the future.

One option is to tell a story from the prospective of the person experiencing the event. One of the reasons that I love to read books is because it gives you a chance to really get into the mind of someone else. It allows me to see somethings from another perspective. I can from a safe place on my couch think about how I might have walked out that moment had I been part of the story. Another way to tell a story is from a all knowing and all seeing prospective. There are characters acting out a story and the one telling has the broad view of whats happening.

I think in telling our own story we need to not only tell it from our own experience but also step back and find that broader view. How does this thing I am going through play into the bigger story that Jesus is orchestrating.  In the November 9th page of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young she writes. "When a future-oriented worry assails you , capture and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, "Jesus will be with me then and there. With His help, I can cope!"

It is easy to try and deal with the past and the future on our own. We need to remember to take Jesus with us into both of those places. He will never leave or forsake you, so take him with you when you think about the past or the future. He alone can help you see them from the right perspective.

I think it is true not only of the future that we too often worry about but also the past. We need to invite Jesus to go back and revisit those old memories and stories. He has the advantage of being able to see the bigger picture even when we can't. Our focus can be so limited to what is right before our nose that we miss most of what is really going. How do we fit into the larger story of God's plans and purposes?

So I find myself thinking about a new story, a new script, new vision. What might it look like if I allowed myself to dream. I remember a friend who always had these elaborate dreams about what he wanted to do and be. That same person was great at dreaming amazing things but lacked the motivation, and the purpose to do much more than wish that those dreams would some how land in his lap. I realize I tend to be the polar opposite of that I don't like dreams unless I can figure out how to make them happen. In my mind dreams are wispy wishful things that most people only give lip service. Things like someday I want to direct and orchestra, or fly a plane or go to the moon. I hear many people share there wispy type dreams with a sense of longing and realization that its nice to think about but would require far more sacrifice and commitment then they ever really intend to apply. For me I hear those kind of dreams and I think why bother if you are not going to pursue them in some way. What's the point. I don't want to live my life vicariously by watching others live out their dreams on the TV. I prefer vision and goals over dreams. Its like my art I have a moment of inspiration where I can see the finished idea in my mind and I hold on to that and try to capture it in some rough form. I realize that to get to that finished idea that I will have to begin the often long journey of drawings, and experiments and then commit to the tedious long hours of laying glass.  It is true in life and in the stories we begin to tell ourselves that we need to step back to understand the bigger picture. I think for me I need to spend a little more time cultivating some of the wilder wispy dreams or glimmers of inspiration and by them to reach for bigger things than I often try to tackle.

John Eldredge writes "Our adversary also suduces us to abide in certain emotions that act as less-wild lovers, particularly shame, fear, lust, anger and false guilt. They are emotions that "protect" us from the more dangerous feelings of grief, abandonment, disappointment, loneliness, and even joy and longing, that threaten to roam free in the wilder environs of the heart. These are the feelings that frighten us, sometimes even long years into our Christian journey."

I know for myself that I have insulated myself from feeling or dealing with pain, grief and disappointment. Going back with Jesus means that I will need to face those great fears and allow myself to feel them at last and put them away repented of, and forgiven and clean.  For me to even begin to tell the stories I must first allow myself to feel them. I know that I still have a long journey ahead of me as I learn to tell my own stories and become more open and transparent.


Dear Lord,

Help us to see how we fit into your bigger story. Help us go back with you to look at some of the old memories and stories and to begin to see them in the light of your purpose. How have the things we experienced molded and shaped us to be able to better deal with the things you have for us to do today. How can we look back and take up faith because we remember that you have seen us through difficulties time and time again. Lord, be our vision and help us to dream bigger but to also break the dream down in to manageable chunks or goals and help us to begin to take those small steps of faith to  move along in our journey from here to there.

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