I often hear friends stating that they have no story. Or, at least not much of one. They say their story isn’t much to talk about, it is certainly not earth shattering, profound, or even interesting.
Everyone has a story—a remarkable one.
It may be the way you look at your story. Recently, while at Catalyst, I was called to revisit my own story in a new light. I was reminded that my story was worth Jesus dying and is worth living it out. There is no standing on the ground that my story is unimportant or insignificant.
Do you know your story?
Interestingly, in the art of storytelling, all stories have three components. We already know the three storytelling elements well; they spring from the pages of a most beloved classic now more than 75 years old. “The Wizard of Oz.”
- The Inciting Incident – This is the something big that happens. You can’t miss it. It makes an impact and shapes the entire story. In The Wizard of Oz, the Inciting Incident is the sudden disastrous tornado.
- The Broomstick Engine – The Broomstick Engine thrusts the hero to the goal. This is the action string, the plan that must be accomplished. The Broomstick Engine in The Wizard of Oz is easy to guess; it is when Dorothy and her friends meet the Wizard for the first time and are told to have their wishes granted they must bring the Wizard the broomstick from the Wicked Witch of the West. From that point in the story the one goal is paramount.
- The End of Act Two – This is when it all falls apart. All hope is lost and the hero is at the lowest point. Dorothy’s End of Act Two was when she was left behind as the Wizard sails out of sight in the balloon. Everything has been done that could be done and nothing will get her home to Kansas.
We have the same elements of story in our story. We all have had an Inciting Incident. Something big, whether good or bad, has had an impact and shaped our story. We can chart Broomstick Engines and probably do not want to remember the End of our Act Twos. Yes, we have had them. The difference in our story is that there is not just one Inciting Incident, one Broomstick Engine, or one End of Act Two. There are many. These form a thread throughout our lives telling the remarkable story of You.
But just as “The Wizard of Oz” did not end with Act Two, your story doesn’t either. In most plays and stories, gratefully, there is an Act Three. In “The Wizard of Oz,” Act Three ushers in Glenda, the Good Witch of the East, and Dorothy discovers that she had the ability to get to Kansas all along, by clicking her ruby slippers together and repeating, “There’s no place like home.”
Act Three in our lives is when we see Jesus in our stories. Yes, He has been there all along, but we failed to see him, or hear Him, or know His path. Our story is all about Act Three because it is all about the presence of God doing what He does best – encouraging, wooing, teaching, building, growing, forming us to be more like Him. Making our story His.
So, do you have a story? You bet you do!
I have been taking a fresh look at my Inciting Incidents, Broomstick Engines and Ends of Act Twos. I have discovered that knowing my story has changed me. The Inciting Incident does not look so disastrous. The Broomstick Engine makes more sense. Best of all, my Ends of Act Twos are not quite so devastating. There was—and is—an Act Three. Through this, I am encouraged to know my story in a different light.
Knowing your story will:
- allow you to see incidents and circumstances in your life in a new way.
- instill hope for the future and deepen your purpose.
- draw you closer to Jesus and help you see Him when you reach the end of your rope.
- increase your gratitude.
You might not be able to click your heels and escape all your problems. But Jesus is in your story, ready to love you and help you.
And guess what? There are stories all around you, too. People whose stories aren’t so different than yours. People with stories that can help you see Jesus. People with stories who need your story, too.
Build a bridge with your story. It might not take you to Oz, but it will lead you to authentic relationships and love-driven action.