What makes Obama’s Becoming so powerful?

tara sing
What makes Obama’s Becoming so powerful? image

Good stories captivate us. They cause us to sit up and pay attention. They take us to places we’ve never been, to different periods of time, they put us in other people’s shoes. Stories not only shape us, they show us who we are. 

Michelle Obama believes in the power of the story and, in this documentary, she takes us with her as she shares her story with the world in the hopes of continuing the legacy of the Obama family.

In 2018 Michelle Obama released her memoir which went on to sell 10 million copies. The book covers Obama’s upbringing in working-class Chicago, her marriage to Barack and his Presidential campaign, and her time in the White House and life as mother to the First Family. 

This documentary follows the book tour that accompanied the launch of the memoir, selling out stadiums in 21 cities across the United States. With excerpts from each evening, and exclusive footage of Obama visiting schools, universities and book clubs, the documentary demonstrates the impact of her story among a variety of communities.

The power of a gathering 

Michelle Obama draws people together to celebrate the launch of her book as a way of “sharing a set of experiences”. The stories of the people she meets ground her. She says the people she interacts with “give me the perspective I need, that I don’t get. All my interactions are sanitised, so this helps me to relate to people and stay connected.”

"This helps me relate to people and stay connected" 

As she visits colleges and schools, she sits with young women of all colours and listens to their stories. They share how Obama has inspired them and affected their lives. She reminds them that stories are powerful and have the power to change people. “Know your story,” she says to a girl who has just shared about where her grandparents migrated from. “Don’t be a statistic.” 

Although she is 60, Michelle Obama declares she has no plans to slow down. She wants to be 90 and still be helping young people to become who they are meant to be and help the world be a better place. 

Knowing who you are

What a good reminder about the power of the story! Knowing who you are is more than just knowing a series of facts and figures. It’s about the stories that have pieced you together. Where your parents came from, where you grew up, the opportunities you took and how you overcame the hardships and hurdles put before you - these tales are what shaped you and telling these tales can shape others and the world.

As Christians we have such wonderful stories to share about ourselves. We have the story of our salvation. Whether it’s woven into the details of where we grew up or discovered during a tale of trials, we have a story about the Saviour securing a place for us in his Father’s house. 

But we have many more stories that make us who we are. Stories from long ago. We resonate with the rebellion of the Israelites, because our hearts, too, have rebelled. We feel the shame of hiding in the garden, as Adam and Eve have their sin discovered. The relief that washes over Zaccheus when he is forgiven is the same relief that washes over us. The hope offered to the criminal hanging on the cross beside Jesus is the same promise we cling to, that we will be remembered by Jesus in his kingdom. 

Michelle Obama gets it right. Stories are powerful and they shape us. So let us with boldness share the stories of how God is working in our lives, how he is turning sinners into saints, and how he is sanctifying the hearts that once were stone. And as we share, pray that God would use these stories not to just make an impact on the world, but to make an impact on eternity.