Storytelling is probably the most unique form of art we have in society.
We’ve been doing it centuries upon centuries. We have ancient stories like Beowulf and The Iliad. Those stories were told around campfires and passed down orally to one another. How many times were little parts of those stories changed?
The same goes for someone like Shakespeare. Those plays were changed time and time again to fit the venue they were being performed at. Many of the Shakespearean plays you read in English Class are going to be different from the ones that were performed at the Globe Theater.
Nowadays we have franchise storytelling. Almost every movie that comes out is based on a popular book, old TV show, or comic. Yet, people still seem to complain when it is nothing like the original. If you don’t like the movie, then go read the book. If you don’t like the reboot, go watch the original TV series or movie.
Seriously, only in today’s society can we get a story told in five different formats and then complain about it. Let’s look at something like The Hunger Games. It starts as a book, then it is a movie, then we’ll get a video game, then in five years we’ll get The Hunger Games: The Musical on Broadway. Then they’ll be one group of people who complain that the musical didn’t stick to the original story.
Sigh…get over it.
My point is that ever culture throughout history has told stories. So, there must be something very unique and special about the stories. Stories are important because they contain themes and ideas. The characters are the people we want to be and the people we don’t to be. Stories tell us the folly of our ways and brighten new paths. They can come in visual forms like movies or can be read through thought form like a book. A person can tell us a story in a coffee shop or it can be acted out on a theater stage.
People gravitate towards stories. That’s why Jesus told parables. It is a good way to get someone’s attention. He told the biggest life lessons we may ever know through storytelling. He gave us the truth and extended a hand by telling simple stories.
So, the question remains. Why do we care about stories so much if they aren’t real? Some argue that it is escapism and just entertainment, but I think we are looking for inspiration. Maybe we are looking for inspiration so we can tell better stories with our lives because that is what God has called us to do.
THIS IS YOUR STORY
So, I’ve played a lot Final Fantasy video games in my life. I can remember getting the first Final Fantasy for Christmas when I was ten years old. They are all fantasy adventure games. Again, just one more format for us to tell stories, expect with games we can be apart of the story.
Anyway, Final Fantasy has had many incarnations. All of them are numbered throughout the years. The tenth game always stood out to me because of its theme, “this is your story”. All the characters go through these deep conflicts and obstacles to save the world because that was the story they were meant to tell.
I wish it was this easy. I wish God would just show up when I’m hanging on a ledge and declare my story has begun. Then throw me throw me into a magical portal so my adventure can begin, but it doesn’t work that way. We are not destined for any specific fate.
I think that is the error of most Christians. They assume that God has their story picked out for them, but I don’t think that is true. We are free willed creatures. We can choose many different stories to live with our lives. Obviously, there are things out of our control, but the way we react and use those events is how we tell our stories.
If we were fated, then Jesus would have never prayed not to be crucified. Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” If knew that was his fate he would of never have asked, but he sought God’s will first and sacrificed himself for all of our sin. Also, he turned the water into wine in John 2 even after he said “my hour has not yet come“. What if waited until his “hour had come”? I guess there would have been a crappy wedding reception that day and Jesus would have had a different first miracle.
My point is that Jesus made choices in his story and he had one of the most mapped out destinies in all of history. So, God didn’t plan out a specific fate for you. He lets you to choose. That’s what makes love so special. It is the choosing of someone else. God has chosen us and now we have the option to choose him.
IN THE FADE
I originally wasn’t going to use this song, but I think it may be important. The reason I wasn’t going to use it was because I’m pretty sure this song is about the negative effects of drug use. Essentially, it is about escapism. The ending of the song kind of indicates that theme, but we can use anything to escape life. Drugs, alcohol, sports, food, video games, and the list goes one. And when we do that the devil wins. He wants us in that fade. That spot where we are so comfortable that we never desire a better story for ourselves.
But it’s the chorus of this song that stands out to me. The lyric “just live till you die” sounds negative, but I have never listened to this song and felt that way. I get a redemptive peace from this line. In Romans 14:8 it says, “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” So, it makes sense to me. Live till you die. Not in a dark and brooding way, but in the light like we should be living.
Seriously, stop sitting around and live. Life is too short. God didn’t design us to be story watchers, but rather story livers. Start living life, but the question is “how”?
We are called to seek the kingdom first. I think that is the best place to start when trying to figure out what story you’ll tell with your life. Also, never be ashamed of your salvation through Jesus. If he’s truly apart of your life then you should be naturally talking about him. It should just come up in day-to-day conversation. Your story is your witness.
Then take a good hard look at the skills God has given you. Figure out what you are passionate about. Those are your talents and God gave them to you to use. If you bury them in the ground and don’t use them then you are being foolish. Those are gifts from God and he wants you to tell a story with them.
I’m not saying I’m a master storyteller with my life, but who is really? I think we are just called to live life to the fullest with the joy of Christ in our hearts. I think we get tied into complaining too much and not seeking out new adventures to do with our skills. This world is only temporary.
One day I’ll be sitting in heaven with Jesus. I hope I’ll have some good stories about my life to tell him when I get there.