From time to time people are asked to describe their faith. When this is presented as an open question, rather than a set of mutually exclusive categories, the answer often comes in the form of a story. The teller relays their history, their trials and tribulations, their journey, usually ending with a commentary about where they are now and perhaps where they hope to go. It is not a simple explanation, but a very telling tale of spirituality, identity, and growth.
Ask someone their religious inclination and its likely to be a short and non-descript response. But ask about their spiritual beliefs and a story will emerge. Why? For one, it is harder to describe one’s personal spirituality without significant explanation. It also allows for things that don’t fall within the confines of organized religion as we know and understand it. Spirituality can be very personal, while religion is a regulated and public expression. Therefore, there are regulated and common ways to describe religion that do little to shed light on the personal experiences of the story teller.
Spiritual stories are not just to relay information to others, it is for the speaker as much as the listener. Every telling of one’s spiritual story is a chance to redefine, rekindle, and re-stake spiritual beliefs; as well as propel or redirect the spiritual journey. Some believe that the spoken word is very powerful. By granting it the energy of being spoken allowed, it is on its way to becoming manifest, a magic incantation for the ‘mundane’ world. Imagine the implications for the spiritual story. By telling it again and again we make it truer to ourselves and the world. The story gives a truth and narrative for the teller to live into. Every retelling is a chance to create or alter the teller’s reality.
What is your spiritual story? Are you the victim or the victor of your story? How does it drive you to live out your identity or press you to change? Think about your story now compared to 10 years ago. How has it evolved?