What a 9 year old Taught me About the Power of Stories

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storybookI love stories. Don’t you? And I want to live a life full of great stories. Don’t you?

“Daddy, will you tell me a story?” That was my 9-year-old daughter, who snuggled up to me on a Sunday afternoon.

“No, not right now.” That was me, dad-of-the-year.

I couldn’t tell her a story because I was busy. I was watching a football game between two teams I care nothing about. Way too busy.

Actually, I didn’t think much about it at the time. I wasn’t mean or rude. I was just tired. And she went on with her day.

But the next day I was mowing the grass, and I was thinking about stuff. I was thinking about how I love stories. There are so many days when I’d love to come home, lay on the couch and be swept away by an epic movie with a hero who battles and overcomes and emerges victorious.

My daughter wanted to be swept away, too. She wanted her daddy to tell her about a princess who loved to dance and explore the world with her princess sisters. That would have been a grand story! But I was caught up in a much smaller story. My little story was about one person who never left the couch.

Every Sunday morning I gather with a team of people in an elementary school library to pray. Our church meets in a school. If you think that’s weird, read my friend Chris’s take on it.

On the wall in that library is an epic mural. There’s a dragon, a castle, a knight…all coming out of the pages of a giant storybook. It captures my attention each Sunday for at least two reasons:

1. I’m just a 35 year-old kid! I love adventure and I love stories and I want to live in that magical kingdom!

2. It reminds me that as a pastor – more accurately, as a man who follows Jesus – I get to invite people to see themselves in an epic story – God’s story. A true story.

I haven’t always lived for the bigger story. The smaller stories distract me. By smaller stories, I mean the ones about trying to be popular, trying to get a lot of facebook likes and twitter mentions, committing lots of emotional space to my sports teams, finding the right haircut…stuff like that. Sometimes the small stories offer a taste of meaning and adventure, but most of the time they aren’t big enough.

Thankfully there is a story large enough to capture my soul. It’s the story about a gracious God who is pursuing prodigal people – like me. And when I’m willing to let myself get caught up in this story, I experience what all those smaller stories can’t offer; I experience real life – the life that comes from snuggling up to a little girl and then whisking her away to a distant (but maybe not so far-off) land where she is a princess of great beauty and talent.

Yeah. That’s way better than zoning out watching a game between…well, I can’t remember.

So what story will you live today?

 

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