You are always surrounded by stories. Like air, they fill you, sustain you, permeate every aspect of your life in unseen ways. But the stories we choose are not always the best ones for us. There is a bigger narrative to become part of, and that journey from the small stories we chase to the bigger story waiting for is what Long Story Short tells.
It’s common knowledge that the very idea of stories is old. Myths sustained tribes through rites and ritual, providing a system of rule and reason. They are what preserves the best in humanity in times of difficulty, but also what can sow seeds of falsehood in times of plenty. Today, most instances of the word ‘story’ I hear are in a marketing capacity. Story is now the linear sequence of events that lead to me sharing a particular news article, clicking on a particular website, or buying a particular coffee. But there is more to story than that. More to story than the awards we give to movies and books. Each life, your life, my life, are all stories in themselves.
For many, the story is of seeking. Seeking money, safety, meaning. In every story you hear, the hero has a need. A calling that kicks off the narrative. Luke Skywalker, for example, seeks escape from his dusty homeworld, adventure, and recognition as a hero. Those stories of riches, security and purpose may be what has guided you in life so far. These stories are fictions which frame the lives of millions. But they are still just stories. No rich person has ever felt rich enough; security is forever an illusion that can’t hold back the waters of pain and difficulty; becoming somebody is a self-contained system, leaving all possibilities of meaning up to our own flawed, very-human judgments. When all of these stories fail, where else is there to God?
Through weaving in accounts from his own journey, as well the lives of those who changed the world for the better, and whose own stories inspire and motivate us to do better, Andy Frost unfolds our potential place in God’s story in a way that is clear, and inspiring. Showing that we have a shot at making something in life through being part of something bigger.
After all, all those people who changed the world for the better did it as being part of a bigger story. They first recognised the bigger story.
Some stories show the impossible. Spaceships and superheroes and scenes from an idealised life. These stories often offer escape. For a fleeting moment we become rich, powerful, important.
Martin Luther King, for example, isn't an iconic figure because he set out to be one. He fit his own story into the grander narrative of Civil Rights, which in turn is part of the narrative of true justice. When he said "I have a dream", he wasn't announcing his own pursuit of purpose or meaning. He was articulating the voice of the greater story. The voices of men and women fighting a system that held them in low regard for the colour of their skin.
His dream was part of another, larger dream.
He was, as a devout Christian, also part of God’s story. A story of love, of being made for a purpose and discovering what the purpose is. Finding your place in God story is the mission of Long Story Short. Through showing where human stories fail, and where God’s story holds strong, Andy Frost has created the manual for a meaningful life.
One of the great aches amongst many young people today is the ache of not knowing what to do. In the oft-repeated verse of Proverbs 29:18 it says “Where there is no vision, the people perish”, and what I see at the moment is a generation of people raised without a vision. A generation I find myself firmly in the middle of. There is so much fear and pressure in the hunt for purpose that we soon believe ourselves to be failures for either not finding our one place, or waking up to find ourselves on the wrong path. Instead of vision, we have the pressure to simply make ends meet, and in doing so, simply make-do. But, what I’ve come round to, is that the story of finding your one true calling through a career or riches, happiness or security is simply that: a story. And that there is a bigger story out there, waiting.
Long Story Short by Andy Frost is due for release on 21 June 2018. Pre-order your copy today.
June 20th, 2018 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon