Little Stories, Big Truths

A little Jesus story…
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven                                                                                                                                    Matthew 5:14-16


Almost everyone loves hearing a story. Stories engage us because we are people. There is an innate draw of attention when some point is personalized with a story by a speaker. A character is introduced, maybe one that we do not even know. We become interested in that character, and we want to know, how the story ends. What happens to the character?

When we were children, we always wanted our parents to tell us a story, often at bedtime. Something about that was comforting, reassuring, grounding.

Jesus told stories all the time to illustrate lessons of wisdom to his hearers. His stories, his parables, have been retold and discussed for centuries. He told powerful stories of redemption, hope, and forgiveness, like the Prodigal Son; the story of the Ten Coins which teaches us about investing ourselves and using what has been given to us; the Lost Sheep, the Laborers in the Vineyard- on and on Jesus told great engaging, instructive stories.

I like to use stories, analogies really, with my clients to help them to visualize some mental health concepts. Sometimes, when a client is just struggling with trying to do everything and feeling overwhelmed, I use the analogy of the swimmer who is drowning. By virtue of their flailing around and aimless, frenzied attempts to save themselves, the swimmer expends the precious energy they have, and they start to sink. When a lifeguard gets to the stranded swimmer, what does he or she say to the swimmer? “Stop swimming! Your swimming is getting in the way of rescue. Hold on to me, I will get you to safety!”

The point of the story is that our continued overwork and striving might just be the thing getting in the way of our health. The paradox of that truth can often be better understood by such a lifeguard story.

Think of a story that has impacted you. Telling it to someone else is good for both of you.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your great stories which have given such wonderful life lessons, Amen.

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