How do you feel about your story?
Too simple? Too scary? Too much?
I’ll let you in on something here: I’ve spent most of my life walking in fear of sharing my story.
People won’t understand. I’ll be judged. People will run.
These lies rested within my soul for as long as I can remember.
And yet the truth is this: our stories have power.
They have the power to enslave us, to entangle us in fear and shame.
But they also have the power to bring freedom to our hearts and others, to be used for the glory of God.
Where is your story today? Is it out there, for all to see? Shared with just a few? Or hidden deep within you?
The first time I attended a Young Life Work Crew (a month-long service commitment at Young Life Camp), I was instructed to write out my testimony.
To me, this meant sharing only the comfortable, the pretty, the easy parts. No one would want to hear the rest, right?
As Work Crew began, I stood beside some amazing people, serving every day for a month.
There was something different as I stood beside my new friends stacking dishes day in and day out.
And no - it was not just their acceptance of my frizzed-out, steamed-up hair or my sopping wet shoes. But it was their desire and perseverance to hear my real story.
To them, the prettied up version was not enough.
And so after days of prodding, my walls came down. And truth flowed in.
You see, when we hide our stories, they remain in darkness, allowing Satan free reign.
But when my story was exposed to the light, I began to find freedom in things I never thought possible.
[bctt tweet="When my story was exposed to the light, I began to find freedom in things I never thought possible." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
This month changed me. Forever. I learned that my story is not my own, but when surrendered to God it is one of the most powerful things we have to offer.
When we share our stories, amazing things happen.
1. We open the door to authentic friendships
When we share the deepest parts of our hearts, we allow others to love us for who we truly are. We allow others the opportunity to encourage, support and stand beside us in our deepest struggles. And we offer them the same.
By hiding our stories, we put walls, intentional or not, between our own hearts and our friends. We can’t truly love another in their deepest struggles until we have broken down the walls around our own hearts.
Don’t walk in the fear of sharing your story. When you do, you forsake the opportunity for true friendship.
2. We allow God the opportunity to work through us and in us
Sharing our story is one of the most powerful things we have to offer. When we share what it means to truly accept Christ and follow Him in the middle of struggle and pain, we are opening the door to God’s glory.
Those around us cannot see God’s grace in a perfectly manicured life.
[bctt tweet="Those around us cannot see God’s grace in a perfectly manicured life." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
But when we allow the brokenness we’ve experienced and the grace and salvation we’ve discovered to rest out in the open, we invite those around us to an honest look at the truth.
3. We bring light into even the darkest parts of our past
Don’t hide the parts of your life that most need God’s transformation.
I did this for so long and for so long I felt trapped, unloved, powerless.
Looking back, I see how Satan used my own story as a prison.
And as much as I hate to admit it, he often still does.
I still become afraid to share. I want to hide and to show only the prettiest and most healed parts of my story.
But everytime I fall into this lie, I become entrapped. I feel isolated and alone. Satan loves to work in the darkness I’m using to cover my past.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible--and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. -Ephesians 5:13
I love this truth. It reminds me that when I shine the piercing light of Christ onto the broken parts of my story, the very brokenness and hurt of my past can become a light.
God can work in the darkest parts of you and use them for His glory.
I have found so much strength in this truth.
No matter what I have been through and what I am going through, when surrendered to God, He can use it for His glory.
Isn’t that the reason we are here?
Our stories have the power to accomplish our purpose. To bring glory to God.
Don’t hide and don’t fear sharing your story. Because when you share, you are carrying out the will of God.