Write a personal reflection on the story telling experience in the group. Describe the act of sharing, listening and the group dynamics observed as a result of storytelling.
The process of sharing my personal story was something that was surprisingly revolutionary to me. Sharing my testimony and bits and pieces of my life with people was comfortable and had always been a fairly easy task. When it came to actually sitting down and sharing 100% (instead of the 75% that I would usually be comfortable with) of my life with a group of people that were basically strangers, it was a whole different experience.
I was possibly the only person that wrote most of what I wanted to say down before sharing. This in and of itself was interesting seeing my motives behind that as wanting to be in control of a situation but also desiring to clearly and accurately share. However, that was only the beginning. The process of actually taking the time to write and pray and share my life with people was amazingly self-revealing, surprisingly more to myself than probably others. I felt like I was discovering and making sense of 22 years of jumbled experiences to make clear significant themes and issues that I had been struggling with, without even fully being aware of it. The process made clear to me several core issues that I had been partially aware of some but also completely new things I hadn’t really thought about. Admitting that I had need for serious growth and that I desperately needed God to be working in my heart was difficult. This however was definitely the start of some incredible growth and heart change that God has been doing in me.
Listening to everyone’s stories was an incredible privilege and it had several effects on me. There was something amazingly comforting about it. Hearing other people sharing difficulties and shame that they had experienced in their lives made me feel comfortable to be able to share my life equally. Listening to other people’s experiences reminded me of how complex life is at times. We can be so quick to judge people or to draw conclusions. Instead we should make all effort to understand and to love others.
The process of sharing and listening changed the dynamics of our group significantly. Even though we were (mostly all) perfect strangers before this experience, afterwards there was a deep tangible bond that we all experienced within the group. Understanding each other’s lives and stories, led to a new level of love and care for each other. After only a couple of weeks of knowing the individuals within the group, a unique bond had been formed between us all.