Why Your Story Matters

  1. Your story is unique. God is up to something in your life that He’s not up to in any other life. You don’t need to feel this for it to be true. Perhaps you’ve lost someone you love; and friends have too.  It looks like the same experience; but it’s not. Their mum is not your mum and their feelings will not be the same.  No-one else can speak your life; and it’s a story that’s written to be told.
  2. Your story is mine.  We look different – but we have the same heart.  We both feel excited, frightened, lonely, hopeful, joyful, confused. We both want to belong, to know we are loved, to know that we fit. When you speak your life, it reminds me, “I am not alone.” It reaches across continents and history and there’s an echo that says “me too.”
  3. The most powerful stories are often the smallest.  A touch on a shoulder.  A look.  A tiny decision that changes everything.  The ordinary is extraordinary – and this is the way of the gospel too.  Small things are great.  Broken things let in all the light. And every time we tell it, we learn more of ourselves and those who listen.
  4. Your story is written to be told. It makes up part of God’s story and it speaks about Him. And as you tell it, you understand who He is and you understand yourself.
  5. When I tell myself my story, I get it wrong.  I’m the hero or the villain.  I’m completely innocent or heinously guilty.  I have no faults.  I’m an irredeemable mess. But when I tell my story to you; I see it afresh.  Knots start to unravel. Bits that were dark, show up fragments of light.  Suddenly, I’m no longer the main character.  And this liberates me to listen to your story too.
  6. As we cry out to Jesus, He brings us into a cosmic story, with dragons and monsters we cannot defeat. He is our champion and He arms us for the battle; not with swords, but with words.  We are armed with our testimonies.  As we speak, the enemy is defeated and the world is changed, (Rev 12.11).
  7. Your story is not finished; so it’s messy and might not make sense. It’s like the underside of a tapestry; knotted and full of mistakes.  But one day God will turn it over and we’ll see something so beautiful, we will gasp.
  8. As a writer, you may not like your characters or identify with their decisions.  But on the deepest level, you have to love them.  God teaches us to love our stories and to honour them; even the bits that tear us apart. He holds them and He holds us; and He will bring life from death and light out of dark; even if we don’t see it in this world.
  9. There are bits of our story we want to share.  And bits where we dare not go.  But Jesus sees both. In the light of His love, we can dare to speak the truth.  Our audiences can shake us, but not kill us. And there’s freedom in the telling.
  10. The world is full of stories.  But the account of God’s life-changing power in us is more than just another story.  Whatever yours is, don’t take it for granted, undervalue or underestimate it.  In His hands, it is powerful and it is precious.

 

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7 thoughts on “Why Your Story Matters

  1. I love reason # : When I tell myself my story, I get it wrong.
    How true this is.
    I need you to hear my story and ask the questions. I need your willingness to dig deeper and challenge my assumptions.
    Because sometimes they’re false.
    Sometimes you hold the key that unlocks another chapter.
    And that changes the whole story.

  2. Hi Emma,

    I glanced thru this entry v briefly at first and didn’t think much of it initially (other than, “I refuse to tell my story because when my darkness sees the light everyone will see what a Shame and Fraud I really am”, #oops. I digress), but took notice of this again when Caroline commented/which redirected my attention to this entry.

    Could you explain your thoughts on Revelation 12:11 (point 6) please, cos I heard someone else say a similar thing on this verse, like, er, yesterday at work – and I was a bit stunned. Bcos it seems me-centred, not cross-centred/Jesus-centred to say that my testimony changes the world/defeats the devil? Especially in the earlier sentence which states Jesus is our champion – since this is so, shouldn’t it mean that since the Lamb is our champion, *His* victory/testimony (of victory over death, & which accomplishes defeat of sin) becomes our victory too? Which then would mean that it is only our victory *because* we have won it thru Him in His death & resurrection? #somethinglikethat

    (hides in a hole, because the last time I asked a question, someone thought I was challenging a viewpoint so I’m scared now. I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m just seeking clarity/cautious now, owing to several things I’ve heard at work recently that sound more Christianese than gospel. Whoops. To be fair, I did pose my questions on this verse ref to the ministry apprentice in church after the work encounter, which to some extent shapes this response. But still scary to be questioning the two-time author who happens also to be the evangelist’s wife! vs me, random over-cynical young adult. Lol, I half-kid, but .. these reasons for my hesitance are quite real!)

  3. Thanks Caroline; and thanks Dee for asking – good question!

    I agree, it seems incredible to say we overcome by the blood of the Lamb *and* the word of [our] testimony – but our little words are included in this massive verse. That doesn’t mean that our testimony should be “me-centred” (absolutely not!) but our little words (yes, about Jesus, but also how Jesus has saved us) can have cosmic effects.

  4. Dee please don’t go hide in a hole! These are really good things to ponder because an over emphasis on “my story” can easily become incredibly me-centered. We see this everywhere and its one of the other traps we can fall into.
    I think maybe, (and Im no authority on anything) that one of the reasons sharing our testimony/story becomes important in “overcoming” is precisely because Christ’s victory over death is working out in the lives of his people in the present.
    Change is real. Think of lepers and lunatics and tax collectors, the recorded parts of their stories were seen by all and those changes were radical and instant. But walking with Christ will create an ongoing narrative of change. A story.
    If I preach the gospel, but I’m still content to live like an animal, then I don’t even believe what I’m saying! If I say Christ changes men, but have zero evidence of change in my own life (my story) then I’m playing a game with words for some strange goal of my own.
    Sometimes I hear a testimony that starts and ends with a salvation encounter. I think to myself “Really?”
    I have believed since I was a child, and yet some of my darkest hours have come as a Christ following adult. But the brightest moments have also come (and are still coming) as I continue in my story…which is really His story.
    I have a testimony of following Christ from last night when I agreed to go on a walk to the lake with my children to see the sunset rather than stay in my bedroom to continue work on my hoarding problem.
    It was a glorious time and transforming in it’s small way, but it may sound so tiny as to be significant to someone who walks everywhere without issue and doesn’t know my story.

    If you didn’t know that I have struggled with a variety of anxiety issues during my life and that hoarding is something that has begun to creep up on me recently, you will not see the significant gesture in both:
    A. beginning to work on the room that has been totally crazy since my father died last year.
    B. stopping that work after several hours to go outside and spend time with my children

    I struggle with balance. That’s part of my story. I can easily get obsessed and then drained by big projects. Working non stop for days to wash every stitch of laundry and than not do a single load for weeks…yeah.
    I also live with a man who functioned as a porn addict for nearly three decades. So when I tell you he stayed home and made an amazing dinner while we were out on our walk, that won’t mean much to you if you don’t know parts of his story.
    Before entering recovery several years ago, my husband would rarely rarely rarely serve others in this way. Given any amount of time alone, and he would be pursuing his addiction. Further, he just wouldn’t cook. Partly because he was selfish, but also because he was egotistical and afraid of not performing better than me. Because I was trained as a professional chef, he pretended he couldn’t scramble eggs.
    For him to stay home and serve his family in this way was as huge as me going out! That’s part of our story, mine and his and ours together. Its not the gospel, and yet it is.

  5. I decided to hide in a hole cos the last time I asked a question (here), someone (else) replied with something like, “what are you talking about, does this mean all I’ve known is a lie & where does that leave me?” kinda thing (for sentiment, don’t remember exact words), but er, same thing, ie just clarifying my understanding with what I read! Which actually comes from a place of “hey, not sure if I’m right or you are, or maybe we both are by looking at opposite sides of the same coin – so let’s clarify ourselves to each other”, kind of thing haha. But ok I’ll come out of hiding. Feels safer now hahaha :-)

    @Emma: got it :-)

    @Caroline: hugs! that’s brave of you to share – and indeed, powerful especially in knowing the context. Yes, I agree – doesn’t seem out of the ordinary when told as is, but when the whole picture is pieced together, it is precious & powerful (your sharing also reminded me of a couple of years back, my dad baked some stuff and washed up everything after. Like, his prior self wouldn’t even wash his cup after eg, morning coffee whoops!) x

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