Static Stories Die

Tuesday, November 17, 2015  ::  

A few months ago my good friend, John DeSoto, preached a message at Second Mile about the power of story. As an Emmy award winning camera man, he continues to cultivate his craft of story telling, mostly through video. John's temperament is gentle, compelling, warm, and engaging. When I'm around him I find myself calm and content. His videos of the story of people's lives create the same calm, content response in my heart and mind. Here is one of my favorite examples:

ADVENT 01_HOPE from John DeSoto on Vimeo.

One sentence from John's message endures in my mind:

"Change is fundamental in stories. If things go static, the story dies."

I'm constantly a walking paradox, and in this instance the truth of my inward battle rings true. On one hand, the thought of a life, a family, a church that lacks movement and vitality makes me nauseous. Stagnant water stinks, therefore, I believe a stagnant life also stinks. On the other hand, I often balk at change because of fear of the unknown or lack of control it creates. But, at the end of the day would I rather swim in a mirky, green, smelly pond or a beautiful, clear, fresh water oasis?
The answer should be obvious, but the truth is I often desire to choose the stagnant life.

As my family grows and changes, the unknown freaks me out as I obsess about the future.

As my relationships grow and change, insecurity rears its ugly head.

As my marriage grows and changes, difficulties in learning to communicate effectively challenges me to my core.

As my church grows and changes, fear of 'can we even keep up with it all' overwhelms me.

I know I'm not alone in these sentiments. Change is so very difficult for some of us. It threatens our sense of belonging, our entitlements to how we've always done things, our desire to be in the know, and our perceived importance and rank.

But, thanks be to God he did not leave me as he found me.

Philippians 1:6 
Be confident of this that he who who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion unit the day of Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 43:19 
Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wildness and streams in the desert. 

1 Corinthians 6:11 
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God. 

He calms my soul in the midst of great change as I rest in the fact that he never changesHe is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and he never changes his mind.

Rest assured, dear ones, change is good. If relationships and circumstances go static, the story dies. Let's link arms and celebrate change in each other's lives as it is the goodness of God working and acting in us to make us more like Jesus. Let it be so of me!

Here is an incomplete list of good, difficult, refining changes happening in and around me:

  • My kids are growing more and more independent.
  • Kyle is about to be driving.
  • Esther no longer lives under my roof.
  • Our house is in constant renovation.
  • Chad and I have been married for 20 years and our communication, especially in conflict, provides opportunity for growth.
  • Friends move away.
  • New friends come into my life.
  • Old friends leave my life.
  • Second Mile is growing in people, in responsibility, and in depth.
  • Second Mile has its own building which provides great change in so many areas.
  • Learning to lead in the big picture and not only in relationships stretches me.
The list could go on, as I'm sure your list of life changes could, too. And, by all means, my heart and soul eagerly hope for the fresh waters of change, but the weakness of my heart and flesh often jump in the murky waters of sameness.  Our only hope is to trust God who wills and acts in our lives according to his good purpose.

"Change is fundamental in stories. If things go static, the story dies."

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How do you deal with change? Do you embrace it or flee? How do you train yourself to get out of the stagnant waters and embrace fresh water? What changes are you facing now, personal or otherwise? What character trait of God do you cling to in times of change? 

Comments are my love language so feel free to jump in and add your two cents and/or answer one or more of the questions. 

Many blessings to you as God brings change in your life to help you depend on him more deeply! 

1 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Alisa Wilhelm said...

Love this a lot! My schedule changes daily, but that doesn't really get to me. It's the much bigger picture changes that I have trouble with. Like setting a goal, and not being able to reach the goal in the time that I had planned. And then having to re-assess what I originally planned/wanted. I listened to a lecture about writing good characters last week, and the speaker said that a good story has two parallel lines: a physical world line and a character's internal emotions and personal development line. The good stories bounce back and forth between both - something happens in the world, then the character has to react and change. And because of the character's changes, something new is possible in the physical world. Etc. But the important thing here is that the story stops if the character doesn't change.

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