Recently, I asked myself the question that guys my age ask themselves so often. What am I here for? What is my calling? What bothers me so much that I could give the rest of my life to making it better? And you know what? I had an answer. It was so clear. It wasn’t a new idea, which made it feel even more real. But it was the first time that this was the answer that came to me when I asked the question:
Hearing peoples stories, Helping people tell their stories, telling my story.
I believe stories are a key to unlocking people’s heart. We argue theology and practices while the world is dieing for someone to listen to them, to love them. Everyone has a story. Everyone. This is not an exaggeration. How many things can we say are common to every single person no matter their language, customs, beliefs… in fact those might be the very things that are the catalyst for the stories. Everyone has a story. I want to tell my story, write my story, hear the stories of others. Stories!
I have a friend who shared some of his story with me. He has a lot of pain in his heart and many people have told him to get over it. Many of these people are followers of Christ. My friend is not. I believe his pain is preventing him from making a rational decision of whether or not to follow Jesus. You see, I believe that we have a choice to follow God or not.
After reflecting and processing these conversations, I believe that these feelings are not necessarily preventing my friend following Christ. What the feelings are doing are paralizing him. They are preventing him from even having the presence of mind to even be able to make a decision to follow Jesus. Everyone gets the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to follow him or not. Anything less is coercion and not truly following. We have a choice. He isn’t able to make a rational choice because of the emotions that are tied up in it all. He needs someone to listen to him. Not argue with him, but listen to him.
I don’t believe he is alone. Many of us are so weighed down with feelings about events and people from our past. We cannot even think clearly. Everything is colored from those events… or our memory of the events. It is like cholesterol building up in the veins, blocking the blood flow. (Ooo, there’s a metaphor). Telling our stories is like an angioplasty clearing our emotional and spiritual vessels to allow the healing of the blood of Jesus to flow through us.
I want to be a spiritual heart specialist. I want to listen to people’s stories. I want to help them to unblock their hearts so they can make the decision for themselves.
Reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller tonight, I felt a confirmation of this direction for my life. In the book, Don’s friend, Penny is telling him how she came to be a Christian through conversations with her friend, Nadine. Check this out:
…During those first three weeks in France, it was comforting for Penny that Nadine cared so much about her past and her story. This helped Penny listen to Nadine’s story…
That excites me. The idea that the walls in Penny’s life, the preconceived notions of what being a Christian was all about, the hurts that she had received from people who called themselves followers of Christ. She needed to be able to talk about them. That’s all. She needed someone to listen. That’s all.
This Jesus stuff is for real. I don’t have all the answers. I used to. Now I know better. I want to be a listener for Jesus.