You can experience wonder by listening to a good story, and you can spark wonder in other people by telling one. During this Thanksgiving month when you’re talking with friends and family about gratitude, consider sharing stories with each other. Sharing stories about God’s work in your lives – in any circumstances – is a powerful way to find wonder together.
In the lifelong learning chapter of Wake Up to Wonder, I describe how good conversations can lead to wonder. Sharing stories with the goal of learning from each other opens up new perspectives. Through stories, you can learn fresh ways of seeing situations, and experience awe as you notice glimpses of God at work in your lives.
Here’s how to share a story well:
Describe one wondrous experience you’ve had that helped you notice God’s presence with you. It can be a recent experience, or something from long ago that still stands out in your mind. What did that experience teach you about God, and how have you applied that wisdom to your life since?
Don’t hesitate to share your emotions as well as your thoughts. Your friends and family will pay the closest attention when you’re openly sharing how you feel about what happened in your experience with God.
Invite your family to ask you questions about what happened. If you don’t know the answers to all their questions, just admit that. But let them know how your encounter with wonder has motivated you to seek God more.
Here’s how to listen well when others are sharing a story:
Minimize distractions to help you focus on each person’s story. Turn off all electronic devices (such as cell phones and televisions) and direct your attention fully to the conversation. Make eye contact with the person who is speaking.
Don’t interrupt the speaker, but feel free to affirm that you’re actively listening by nodding your head or giving a brief verbal affirmation such as “interesting” or “tell me more” to encourage the speaker.
Ask questions after each person finishes sharing his or her story. Consider what inspires you most about the story and talk about that.
All of us have valuable stories of God’s blessings to share. All of us can learn and find inspiration from stories of how God has worked in other people’s lives. So, during this Thanksgiving season, share God stories with each other – and enjoy uncovering the treasure of wonder within those stories!