In discerning where God is calling us, it can be helpful to see our lives within this context of God’s Story of Love. In this blog/book, I’d like to continue using the storytelling lens to help us to explore discernment. What are the various elements common to every story?
- Premise—Our story’s beginning or set up, which includes a story promise that will be fulfilled. In this case, the story promise is made by, and will be fulfilled by, God!
- Setting—The world and circumstances in which the story takes place
- Worldview—the perspective from which the story is told. We looked at this earlier, calling it God’s Storyview.
- Plot—What happens in our story and why (the series of events that take place in the story; the plot could also be called the story)
- Story Structure — How a story is organized. Whatever the structure, every story always has a beginning, middle, and end.
- Theme—What our story is really about
- Characters—Who is in the story
- Protagonist—The main character of our story; often this is the character who changes the most
- Antagonist—The character or force that prevents the protagonist from reaching his or her goal
- Supporting characters: Friend, Rival, Sidekick, Mentor, Trickster, etc.
(Each character has:
- Character goal—What the character wants
- Character need—What the character needs in order to be truly happy or fulfilled. This is often very different from what the character wants
- Character arc—How the character grows or changes (often interiorly) through the the story
I think there are a lot of parallels between various story elements and certain aspects of discernment. For example, we can look at the concept of “supporting characters” in light of discernment. No discernment happens in a vacuum, and in bigger discernments—such as a vocational discernment—we surely need the support of others. But sometimes we forget this, and we can try to discern all alone. Reflecting on the support we have and the support we need in our discernment can really help us on our discernment journeys.
To Journal About:
Revisit our “Story Premise”—the truth upon which we base our discernment: Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us. How would you re-phrase this for the story of your life?