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Christians often emphasize the importance of being a witness, of telling people about Jesus. A witness is someone who sees something important first hand. How can we be witnesses of Jesus when the Gospel story took place over 1,900 years ago? There is only one way: we tell of our own personal experiences with Jesus. Our witness is telling our stories.
Think about your favorite movie or book. What is it you liked about it? How enjoyable would it be without any conflict? No villain? No suspense? It would be pretty dull. This is because we relate to the conflict in stories and that ability to relate makes telling the story powerful. In the same way, the parts of your story you might be tempted to hide are the parts that could end up being the most powerful witness to God's work in your life.
What things do you share when asked to tell your story? You might share about your job or family in one setting and your brokenness and pain in another. While each of those is a part of your story, it's not the whole story. The truth is very few of us enjoy telling our stories, probably because we don't like our own story.
In the book To Be Told, author Dan Allender states, "Consider this: if you don't like your story, then you must not like the author. Or conversely: if you love the author, then you must love the story he has written in and for your life.”
In order to love our stories, we must understand them in their full context.
Our story does not begin the day we were born or end the day we die; it is more than what has occurred during our life. There are things in our stories that tie back to something that happened long before we were born. People might react differently to a situation because they are an only child, their mom was an orphan, or their dad left before they were born. All of these things are pieces of our story. This is why knowing where your story began is essential.
Understanding our role is crucial to our story. We often give the power of characterization to the other people in our story. They may label us unwanted, lonely, or weak, and we seem to take on each of those roles. But the reality is that the only person who can name a character is the author.
Did you know there were times in the Bible when God changed a person's name? In doing this, God radically altered their story. God has also promised each of us a new name, and I believe that, based on how God renamed people in the Bible, our new names will be represented in our story.
Next, we need to know the author of our story. The current culture screams that we are the author of our own story. As Christians, we recognize that Jesus is the author of our story. But what if Jesus wants us to co-author our story?
We already do this in the way we react to the challenges that life throws at us. But what if, rather than just reacting, we stepped back and realized that our story's plot is much bigger than ourselves and responded in light of the bigger plot?
When we recognize that our story's plot, with all its conflict and messiness, points to Jesus, we begin to see that it's not just our story. It's the continuation of the greatest story ever told. It's the Gospel.
We also start to see that the story is not over. How we relate to people, how we respond to conflict, how we react to tragedy... With each interaction, we are co-authoring our stories.
We encourage our leaders to tell their stories. What about you?
Have you been impacted by Pure Life Alliance? We want to hear your story. Scan the QR code to tell us how PLA has made an impact in and through you.
Tell us about it!