I believe your story might be your greatest gift.
We all live in stories. God reveals Himself through stories. Your particular story incorporates a unique combination of experiences and relationships. It’s a gift, and the highest use for any gift is to enjoy it and share it in service to others.
This is #2 in a series called “Stories Worth Telling” that’s looking at some principles to consider. Last time I suggested Tell The Truth. Today I’m encouraging us all to…
Why are you telling your story?
I’m thinking that there are a few reasons. Among them:
- To ask for help.
- To seek attention or approval.
- To offer hope.
For a long time I told the story of my injury in a desperate search for relief. From a very dark, lonely place I reached out for anyone who might make sense of senselessness. I imagined that somehow, if I told it enough times, completely irrational circumstances might assume some sort of logical organization.
When you’re hurting and lost, it’s good to share, to express the pain and disappointment and hopelessness. A counselor named Pete encouraged me to write in a journal, and the process really helped me to find a way out of the darkness.
I learned that telling my story—to the right people—helped. I honestly cannot retrace the precise process. I only know that, through time and tears, the darkness subsided and light gradually appeared where I’d been certain it could never shine again.
The journal slowly revealed subtle patterns I’d missed in the swirling chaos of grief. Telling my story allowed me to take an honest look at my choices, to gain perspective, to view myself as a character in a play of which I was the author. As I learned that I could write better scenes, a tale of pain and loss pointed the way to growth and possibility.
Please don’t misunderstand—I am NOT thankful for the injury or the pain. I don’t believe God intended or caused them. They were evil, but God used them for good.
I discovered that my story was an incredible gift—to myself. God used the twisted horror of my injury to show me a new life of possibility. He invited me to hope.
Sometimes our stories become a competition, a way to see who can cast themselves as most pitiful or most heroic. Sadly, I’ve been guilty of screaming, “Look at me! Feel sorry for me! None of this is my fault!”
Or, even worse, “You should admire me for enduring the most horrible life ever!”
Okay, maybe I’ve never been quite that blatant about it. But I’ve certainly worked hard at times to gain sympathy or to somehow justify bad behavior because of the unfairness of my situation. (My Pain’s Worse Than Yours)
Everyone endures pain, grief, and injustice. Life isn’t a contest to see who can be most pathetic.
Attention, pity, admiration—they’re all rationalizations, weaknesses, signs that I’m wasting the gift of my story.
Every story can be a source of hope and encouragement, because that’s how God works. He uses ordinary events to reveal extraordinary possibilities.
And there’s the subtle twist—as soon as I forget that God’s at work and pretend that somehow I’ve done something remarkable, the process falls apart. I fall into promoting ME and MY accomplishments. I do it all the time.
Relentless Grace is a story of hope, but it’s not my story. As the subtitle explains, it’s God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. That’s what I learned through those long nights writing in the journal. As difficult as it is to admit, …
It’s not about me.
My story, and yours, are gifts. We can open them, look past the exterior wrapping of temporary pleasure and struggle, and savor the opportunities inside. We can learn from them, and we can share them with others.
Every story contains the possibility of deep, intimate relationships with self, others, and God. That’s the purpose for which we were created, and that’s why it’s important to share our stories.
Tell your story in a way that encourages yourself and others to see the hope of love and authentic intimacy.
How about you? Do you struggle with finding and telling a story of hope?