The Story Test

10:45 AM

If your biggest dream, your ultimate goal, came true, would it make a great story?

That is, does it touch on profound themes? Will its resolution echo in eternity and touch other characters behind and around you? Do you experience incredible conflict and suffering but undying tenacity because of some sort of hope out there that sometimes only you see? Does this story grow you as a character, test you, forge you?

Because some stories don't make good stories, much less great stories. A kid's struggle to win the school science fair might entertain a bored third-grader on a summer afternoon, but it doesn't matter. Or a story might be epic in the making with obtuse characters who ruin all the possibilities of greatness (looking at you, Katniss Everdeen). And a great story doesn't have to involve magic, live battles, and wise old mentors. It can involve the mundane. Oftentimes the greatest stories are the ones that could take place next door.

Your biggest dreams, now. What are you striving for? Pursuing? Could you look back and say that it made a great story? Because if you're pursuing something trivial, something come-and-go, you can bet God's not the author of that story -- for God's the greatest author, and all the stories He pens are great in every sense of the word.

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5 impressions

  1. This post is kind of judgmental and harsh. Not unlike my comment, I guess, but not what I expect from you, Bailey. :-(

    If you have having a hard time I hope things get better for you soon!


  2. Why do you find this post judgmental and harsh and assume I'm having a hard time? Not trying to be rude, just wondering how this post offended you so deeply.

  3. It didn't really offend me "deeply" and I know at least part of my reaction was due to stress and frustration in my own life, but I did read it as harsh.

    For example, "A kid's struggle to win the school science fair might entertain a bored third-grader on a summer afternoon, but it doesn't matter" That kid's struggle *does* matter. It matters to him and it matters to the people who love him and, based on having read your posts for quite awhile, I would have expected you to believe it matters to God. As far as "entertainment value" or "story quality" goes, a talented writer could make a story about this matter to the reader too.

    This post was short (for you) and the overall feeling I got from it was shooting down people's dreams. You tell people they should look at whether their biggest dream currently is actually "trivial". Don't you think suggesting that maybe the thing I am totally focused on and committed to right now is trivial and doesn't matter at all is kind of harsh regardless of whether it's true or not?

    The shortness of this post and the gut feeling it gave me, combined with the first line of the previous (also very short) post, "You’ve got reason to despair?" made me think maybe you weren't very happy when you wrote these posts, but that was total speculation on my part and I certainly did not intend to offend you with unsupported assumptions. If I did, I apologize.


  4. I thought this was well written! As I heard a pastor (Tullian Tchividjian) say once "Is there any meaning in my life that my inevitable death cannot destroy?" Your post made me think about that quote.

  5. Adele, I am sorry you're going through frustrating times right now.

    I'm a dreamer. And many times the dreams I chase after are pointless. And when I chase after pointless dreams, I get incredibly frustrated and empty because the purpose I'm going after is, well, pointless and empty.

    Selfish dreams don't matter in the end. They don't. A kid's struggle to win the school science fair CAN be important IF it ties into the qualifications of a great story which I mentioned in the post, but if it's merely about winning, if it's merely about him, that's a pointless goal and a boring story. (I read these books as a kid. There is FAR greater reading material with more meaning than the current stuff churned out to boost kids' self-esteem, in my opinion. But that's just my opinion.)

    This wasn't about shooting down dreams. It's about lifting our eyes to what's really important so that your dreams MATTER.

    This was not a personal attack on you or anyone's dreams in particular. I never said your dreams your trivial. I never said anyone's dreams were trivial (with the exception of the hypothetical kid's, but I explained that above). I don't apologize that there are trivial dreams and great dreams. That's just reality, unfortunately.

    Conclusion: Dream big, the kind of dreams that matter. That's all I meant to say.


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