What's Your Story?
In this day and age we live in, it seems we are more aware of our diversity than ever. I believe social media has helped us with that; enabling us to communicate our thoughts, opinions and views on a platform that is open 24/7. We have the opportunity to post pictures, write blogs (thank you for reading this one), create podcasts, tweet, link, snap, pin, etc. I often find myself thinking “this world is so big, and yet so small.” For instance, someone’s post of a recent trip to London causes me to think outside of my immediate surroundings, realizing there is a whole lot out there that I haven’t seen and don’t know about, and yet it brings me closer to it at the same time. We can see things we may never get to see otherwise, and we see it through someone else’s eyes. We take on their perspective, even if just for a brief moment as we scroll through our feed. We see what spoke to them the most in that one picture or post as we catch a glimpse of their day. We hear what their views may be on a certain subject, even if it varies from our own.
But no matter how diverse we may be, there is something that we all have in common. We all have a story. A story consisting of things that make us who we are and events that define us as individuals and set us apart. Some good things and maybe some not-so-good things. Nonetheless, good or bad, these things and events occurred and contributed to our story. I think it’s clever how Instagram and Facebook made it possible to upload our off-the-cuff and behind-the-scenes photos and videos calling them…you got it, “stories”. These “stories” show what makes us tick, so to speak, the little things that really show a peek into our daily lives. In the grander scheme, our life stories “filter” (play on words intended) through everything we do, even when we don’t realize it. Again, we all have a story. For a long time I didn’t recognize that I had a story, and maybe you find yourself feeling the same. I couldn’t see through what I considered to be just a mess. Off target decisions of my own and, yes, sometimes actions of others caused me to view my life as a big disappointment. But I’ve learned over the years that God doesn’t view things the way we do. Where I saw loss and devastation, He saw an opportunity for rescue and restoration. And rescue and restore He did, praise the Lord! Yet I still never viewed my life as a story for others to benefit from. I often felt shame and guilt, which is exactly where the enemy wants us to stay hidden. So when the Lord spoke to me in the early part of 2016 saying, “you have a story to tell and I want you to share it”, I immediately said “yes” in my heart, but then shame started talking too. Shame said, “Wait, what is so great about my story? Lots of people experience the pain of divorce. There are a lot of single moms out there. Many people are so financially broken they are forced to file bankruptcy. What is so great about MY story? Who do I think I am?” And just like that, these words rose up in my spirit: “It’s not that my story is so great, it’s that HE is great, and that is the part that makes my story great and worth sharing.”
For so long I had unintentionally focused on the regrets of the past. It kept me from seeing the beautiful work the Lord was doing in my life and the hope-giving plans He had for my future. No wonder I never saw my life as a story to share, because I only saw mistakes and disappointment. But it makes me think of Genesis 50:20 that says, “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.” He is always making something wonderful out of our mess! My prayer is that my journey will be a beacon of hope and a reminder to all that He never leaves us and never forsakes us. Ever. His plans and purposes always stand. The Lord once told me, “Don’t be concerned about a detour, I’ll get more glory now than I would have before.” He wanted me to know that detours are not a problem for Him and that…”we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good”. (Romans 8:28 MSG)
His goodness is why I compose and sing the songs. His faithfulness is why I write and post these blogs. His restoration power is why I continue to step out and do what He has asked me to. Because of Him, hope was reborn in my heart. See, it’s never too late and no one is ever too far gone. God can do the impossible. He just needs us to say, “Lord here I am. I messed up, but You make all things new. Come do a new thing in my life.” We are never alone and He is always working on our behalf, making our story a great one! Then in turn, through our story, we rise up and proclaim His goodness and His faithfulness to others.
If we have given our life to Christ, then His story is woven into ours, making a brand new story. I believe if we would all lean into our stories, living in the freedom He has won for us, we would see they are not only for us to learn and grow from, but also for others. I encourage you to take the time to really see what the Lord has done in your life. Recognize and acknowledge where He has given you beauty for ashes. Perceive the greatness of your own story because of His greatness in you. Then share it boldly. So, what’s your story?