How Much Is a Story Worth?

Good afternoon from Westminster, MD!

“A picture is worth a 1,000 words.” It is a well known phrase attributed to a number of different people. This saying is often true in my experience. Pictures tell great stories and often cut through the complexities of language. If the picture of a story is worth a 1,000 words, how much is the story worth?

Story, like a picture, can be a powerful tool. I recently listened to a podcast in which they discussed the power of narrative transportation, which is more or less the ability of a story to suck us in and, at times, even change our perspective on a real world issue. Narrative transportation can be a powerful tool used for good or evil. This goes back to the question, “how much is a story worth?”

The answer to the question would certainly vary by the significance of the story and its connection to reality. A story written mostly for entertainment with very little connection with reality might not have value beyond its ability to allow us to disconnect, which can be very valuable at times. However, there are other stories that are so close to reality and carry so much weight they can force us to ask questions about what we believe and where we are heading. These stories carry immense value.

How about the story of your life? Not the story of where you have been, although that has significance as well, but rather the story of where you are going. What story do you tell yourself about your life? Your future? Your self-worth? Do you believe your life matters? Do you believe you are defined by your past? This is a story of great value and significance. The stories we tell ourselves about our lives have the uncanny ability to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Much like narrative transportation, we insert ourselves in the story, making it the lens through which we see our lives and our future. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the story.

This is why it is so important to consider what story you are telling yourself. Personally, connecting my story with my origin has been incredibly powerful. In other words, how and why do I believe I came to be. I believe I was created by a God who loves me and formed me on purpose and with a purpose. This belief has provided me with incredible hope even when my current reality was less than ideal. It has allowed me to write a hope-filled story for my life. I see my life as significant and purposeful, which informs the story I write about my future. This has served me well in my life.

What story are you writing? God has given us a lot of agency over our lives. This means we get to play a big role in writing our stories. How do you see yourself? Do you believe you were created by a God who loves you? Do you believe the story of tomorrow can be different than the story of today? The story you tell yourself has great value and significance. Why not be intentional about writing the story you want to live? It does not guarantee the story you write will be the exact life that you live, but it will change the direction in which you are pointing. This change in direction will change your perspective, allowing you to see life through a different lens.

Your story is powerful, tell yourself a good one.

James Belt

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