Tell Stories

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to start sharing my passion and journey with you all, along with my perspective on the story God’s writing in Port Angeles and the surrounding area. I’ve spent the last couple years trying to decipher what I am meant to do; I know I am called to do something artistic and use my skills and creative passion to inspire and teach, but I was having trouble deciding which creative field to pursue. Should I write books and speak through words, or paint pictures without any words at all? Should I impact people through melody and song, or captivate audiences with memorable films?  I was so wrapped up in trying to decide which industry I was called to be a part of that I didn’t see the common thread binding them all together—storytelling. Each of these choices were simply different platforms for storytelling. Once I realized that, it clicked – “I am meant to be a storyteller.” I don’t have to choose a single platform to tell stories through; I can tell one story through words, the next through a melody, and the next through a painting.

After realization set in, I began to research the importance of storytelling and its purpose in humanity. If I was created to tell stories, I needed to know why. With the help of the internet and some very profound articles I was made aware of how valuable storytelling actually is.

 Powerful aspects of storytelling include:

·      Increases receptivity

·      Grabs attention

·      Engages emotions

·      Communicates values

·      Decreases teaching times

·      Quickly establishes trust and connection between speaker and listener

·      Builds community

·      Uses five more regions of the brain than mere fact giving

·      Provides a dependable way for people to remember and retell a meaningful message

Aside from agreeing on the benefits of storytelling, most of the articles I read could be traced back to one underlying belief – “Storytelling is the most effective time-tested way to transmit meaning from one human being to another.” So, after learning the immense value of storytelling, I wanted to see how scripture used it, specifically Jesus.

There are many records of Jesus telling stories (or parables) in the Bible, but there is one particular story which involves Jesus explaining the parable to His disciples; it is the parable of the sower. After telling this story to a large crowd, Jesus’ disciples ask Him the meaning of it. Jesus replies, saying,

“To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’" Luke 8:10

Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah, letting His disciples know that one of the reasons he teaches through stories is to fulfill prophecy. But why is that a prophecy? Why wouldn’t God want to deliver facts and lessons clearly and directly? It goes back to the purpose of storytelling.

Storytelling places more of the learning responsibility on the listener than the simple relaying of information. By communicating lessons and truths through stories, Jesus was not only making the information more memorable and relatable for His audience, He was packing the stories full of valuable information and meaning that would require the listener to reflect and ultimately come to realizations on their own, leading to a heartfelt response. In fact, Jesus clearly states,

“consider carefully how you listen,” and then goes on to say, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:18 & 21

Jesus was directly telling us that we have a responsibility to not only hear the word of God, but hear it well, and then act upon our revelations. Just as God freely offers His gift of salvation to us, only requiring that we accept it, Jesus extends the secrets to the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but it is up to us to receive them.  

After understanding how valuable storytelling is and seeing how Jesus used it, my desire to tell stories was confirmed and validated. As an individual, I have come to my own revelations and realizations that I know other people need to hear. But instead of just stating what I have learned, I want to communicate it in a more creative way, allowing others to come to similar revelations on their own. Storytelling is one of the greatest tools that God crafted in all His wisdom, and one that Hollywood and Nashville excel at. I would encourage us all as listeners/viewers to not focus so much on our individual taste or distaste of how the story is told, but on the information and meaning trying to be conveyed. I am so excited to start telling stories, and I hope you will be inspired and built-up by them.

 Until next time -

Tell stories, listen well, and live beautifully.

 Cortland Waldron