Without disclosing confidences, this past week I sat and listened to several people tell me their story. No, not a story they made up, or were hoping to publish, just their story- raw, unedited, real. Their story of:
• experiencing God, sensing God stirring their hearts, drawing them to Himself
• wrestling with the mystery of following God
• dealing with personal issues that they felt were holding them hostage and not allowing them to move ahead
• dealing with doubt and uncertainty on the journey
• finally letting God have His way and setting aside their stubbornness
• brokenness, shame and despair
• wonder as they reflect back and see how God has orchestrated all the pieces fitting together
• seeking, pursuing and discovering God yet still filled with questions and a deep sense that the journey ahead is long and windy
• deep disappointment and learning to hear the voice of God in the charred remains
One truth about every person that walks the planet is that we all have a story. “Story” has been defined as “A narration or recital of that which has occurred; a description of past events; a history; a statement; a record.” If someone said to you “Tell me your story.” Where would you start? What might you focus in on? What might you be tempted to leave out, embellish, or tone down? Where in your story might the pain be the greatest, the joy the fullest, the growth the deepest?
Let me encourage you in three ways regarding story.
1. Pursue people to understand their story. Each week at Bethel, counting both services, we have 600 “stories” walk in and out of our building. If we would only take the time to listen, there is a wealth of wisdom and perspective to gain. Why not sit down with someone this week and open up the conversation with these words, “Tell me your story.” Better than any novel or the TV screen is hearing the drama spoken from someone’s lips.
2. Sharing our story deepens our sense of connectedness. Whenever someone tells me some part of their story and I mine, there is a bond established, a bridge built.
3. Finally, what makes following Christ so exciting is to realize that our story somehow fits within the Grand Story of the ages. God in His wisdom is now dwelling among us and within us. A loving God is ushering us into the ways and wisdom of the kingdom. And He is weaving His grand purposes through the fabric of our story.
Take time to listen, take time to tell your story!