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Guest Post: Thriving Requires: (a) Story

By January 11, 2016August 13th, 2019Thriving Requires



  1. an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
    “an adventure story”
  2.  an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.
    “the story of modern farming”
synonyms: talenarrativeaccountanecdote



What is it about fictional stories—produced by authors like J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis—that mesmerize the modern reader? While some may write off those stories as mere fairytale, one ought to ponder: is there something more to the child-like fascination that manifests from embracing the whimsical adventure of each tale? To which I’d suggest that indeed there is.

In story-telling, fiction is linked to reality on the common ground of what is referred to in the literature realms as the monomyth. This term describes the reality that, while there are an infinite amounts of stories in existence, both fact and fiction, the monomyth (meaning one universal story) is the unifying meta-story that expresses the human experience. This concept uses a highly relatable narrative pattern that develops a hero, or heroes, that are sent on an adventure who, along the way, face obstacles that try to prevent him or her from reaching their destiny. While you and I may never literally encounter an orc or an evil witch, it’s the essence of the obstruction that resonates with the soul of the viewer. Humanity undergoes hardship daily that attempts to prevent us from reaching our destiny driven by hope. The universal attraction to the fantasy genre reveals the boundless yearning for a remarkable real life story as well. However, just as Frodo, Harry Potter, and Katniss sought to overcome the hurdles of their reality, you and I can do the same in our world. Simply put: you and I daily write our stories and therefore ought to fight with the fervor and integrity in our life-adventure. In pursuing a life of thriving, we must recognize the story we tell with the life we’ve been given.

With that, here are a few essentials of “real-life story-ing”:
1. Unlock HOPE!
2. Create you CHARACTER!
3. “Just keep swimming!”
4. Contribute to OTHERS’ stories!

Finally, I want to urge you to continue to fight for your story.

Thriving is a process that takes time and effort. Precious gems, maybe like the one on your finger, were not made overnight. Instead, it took an extended period of time under extreme conditions in order to create the beautiful product. With that, my suggestion is this: allow your circumstance to supplement your “gemhood”—it was what you were created for. Each obstacle is a new opportunity to be refined. Each hardship is a chance to improve your character. Each adversity functions as the means to strengthening your hope. In light of your hope, work day by day to develop your character so that you are able to produce a story that works harmoniously with your surrounding community. Upon doing so, you will have created a narrative that ought to be titled “Pursuing MY Thrive!”

Tim Shenkin – Is a soon-to-be graduate from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA). He will have a B.A. in Intercultural Studies with a minor in biblical studies. Following his time at HIU, he plans to attend Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, CA) in order to to obtain a Masters in Theology with an emphasis in Just Peacemaking. Aside from his time in school, Tim is also a collegiate volleyball player, musician, and aspiring writer. 

“Mess is the precondition of creativity. Creativity is not neat. It is not orderly. When we are being creative we don’t know what is going to happen next. When we are being creative a great deal of what we do is wrong. When we are being creative we are not efficient.” -Eugene Peterson

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