When I was a boy, I was big. Despite my size, I had great hands and a good arm. But none of that mattered when I put on my helmet and shoulder pads because the coach only saw big. I got in line with the boys trying out for quarterback and wide receiver, but he moved me to the offensive line and told me that the only time I got to touch the ball was if there was a fumble. And if there was a fumble, I was only allowed to fall on the ball – never, ever, never, ever, never try to pick it up.
I remember one game, we were losing late and the coach called a screen to my side of the field. The play developed and I ran ahead to block. I couldn’t see the action behind me, but we kept moving downfield – no whistle, so I kept blocking. As I approached the end zone, something strange must have happened and I saw the ball in front of me at about the 5 yard-line. I wasn’t engaged with a defender at the time, so nature took over and I grabbed the ball and ran into the end zone. An offensive lineman’s dream. I scored the winning touchdown!
Everyone was cheering and crowding around me… except my coach.
At the ensuing practice, my coach yanked my facemask and pulled me all over the field while yelling, “You had one job. One job! Fall on the ball!” I ran suicides for hours and then a drill where another coach would throw a ball and I had to plop on it.
Fair? Maybe… maybe not. But it is a part of my story.
We are all living a story.
I believe stories have power. I believe that a good story, well-told can change the world.
There are five basic elements that a story must contain:
Let’s take the Bible. It is a story book – a love story between the characters of God and Man, with Satan thrown in as an antagonist. The setting is three-fold: Heaven, Hell, and Earth. And the plot is played out over several thousand years as man demonstrates his inability to achieve holiness. The Old Testament points out continual conflict, usually brought about by the weakness and folly of man. And the New Testament shares Jesus the Savior and his atoning sacrifice as the theme and resolution of the story.
Just like he did in the Bible, God is weaving a story in and around each one of us. All of our stories are different but they will all contain the basic elements of story and they are all worth telling.
Here are seven things experience has taught me about story:
You are not the author of your story – Of course, you have input on the action – often through human fault, weakness, and disobedience. But God is writing your story and mine.
You can alter the plot – Twists and turns happen in stories. If you are dissatisfied with your story as it is being written, consult the author and look down a new path.
There will be conflict of some kind – Conflict is not a potential, it is an assurance.
Your story can be used for good – No matter how unexceptional you think your story is, remember that the author is the preeminent best-seller.
You may not be the main character of your story – For every quarterback on the football field there are five linemen. Just like when I was a boy, I did not get chosen to be the quarterback or wide receiver of my story. I am made to block for a twelve-year-old little girl.
You may not like your story – Loss, heartache, and pain may make your story seem unpalatable. But that doesn’t make it any less your story.
The resolution of a believer’s story will not take place here – For the believer, the story remains unresolved until he or she hears, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Although you are not writing your story, you have three very important roles to play:
- Pay attention to how those elements that make up your story come together.
- Decide how your story can be used to benefit others.
- Share your story as often as possible to help as many people as possible.
Your story matters and deserves to be told.