Don’t Settle For Small Stories

After an intensive men’s weekend in which i was fully engaged in fighting for men’s hearts that they would be free from compulsive sexual behavior, i am reflecting on the importance of not getting lost in the small stories of life.

There is something about traveling to another part of the country and seeing the majestic scale of the mountains that awakens me to the grandness of life.

The contrast between a life big enough to dream in and the small story of pornography is absolutely striking. In light of that, i am re-publishing a blog post from a couple years ago about how porn is too small a story to captivate and invigorate our hearts.

Porn Is A Small Story

Our lives are stories. And it is through stories that we best understand who we are.

That stories are central to our existence is evidenced by our friendships, our entertainment and our deeply held beliefs, whatever those may be.

The things we believe about how life is and what, if anything, it means, are all truths we came to embrace as a result of a story; a journey that led us to the convictions that form our belief system.

There’s a story behind what you believe and why. There is a story that connects you to your friends and loved ones. There is a story that makes sense of everything you do.

This is to be expected. Jesus taught through the use of stories even as He lived within the larger story of what God the Father had been writing since the beginning of time.

It’s no wonder then that if we lose the plot of the story in which we are living, we will feel that loss in significant ways.

Losing The Plot

Back when I was working on staff at a large church, one of the teaching pastors spent a great deal of time talking about how our culture had “lost the meta narrative.”

That is to say, society no longer believed in a large, overarching story of humanity and history — aka the Biblical narrative. The loss of the meta narrative, according to this pastor, was the dilemma of the late 20th Century.

The irony was that in all the talk of how our culture had lost the meta narrative, and how Christianity had to re-establish it, I got thinking that perhaps we Christians had also lost the meta narrative.

The majority of Christians I knew, myself included, weren’t living in a large story. We were stuck in a world of church programs and responsibilities that were essentially disconnected from a grand narrative.

We were, as the saying goes, “Doing Church.”

There had to be something more than this. There had to be. I realize now that my acting out in the addiction was linked, to what extent I cannot say, to the fact that I had lost the meta narrative.

I was taking my ache for “something more than this” to the closest alternative for ecstasy I could find.

But pornography cannot bear the weight of my heart’s deepest longings and needs. Porn is, itself, too small a story.

Everything crashed under the strain.

In a surprising turn of events, I eventually started to see how the meta narrative — or the Larger Story — was actually a big part of healing my heart. In my addiction, I was living in a terribly small story. The only things that mattered were me, myself and I — and the pleasure I could grab for myself from porn and fantasy.

The larger story, on the other hand, connected me to a greater understanding of what it meant to have a real relationship with God.

Something  More

The ache for “something more” actually made sense in light of a larger story. Not only did it make sense, the ache was soothed — at least to some degree — by the Larger Story.

By Larger Story I am not really talking about the Christian teaching that you need the salvation of Jesus so you get to go to heaven when you die. As great as that is, I am actually talking about something more profound than that.

The Larger Story is that God in His goodness has designed us in the image of the Trinity, which means we are meant for relationships. Moreover, we are meant to experience intimacy with God as we become His allies in bringing His Kingdom to the brokenness of this world.

We are invited to play a pivotal role in the adventure of bringing this kingdom in the midst of opposition from our Enemy as we participate in the restoration of the hearts and souls of men and women.

Now that’s a Large Story. Much larger than the story I was living in, and much larger than the one most people have in mind when they think about their lives.

The recovery of the Larger Story was central to the healing of my heart because that story is all about restoration; the restoration of that which was lost — the very thing Jesus talked about in Luke 19:10.

The recovery of the Larger Story is so good because it gives us something big and significant to live for.

2 Responses to “Don’t Settle For Small Stories”

  1. Christopher Mars

    Brilliant synopsis of the Gospel, James. Much more powerful than the “fire insurance” Gospel we’ve historically offered, here in America, unfortunately. I took a picture of those two paragraphs, and plan on writing them on a laminated, 3×5 card, to remind myself, my wife, and my children.

    • james tarring cordrey

      thanks, Chris. glad it spoke to you. i need to be reminded constantly of these things, and i know i am not alone.


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