Interesting. Intriguing. Inspiring. I always enjoy a great story. Between the characters, the challenges they face, and how they resolve the problem, I am literally all ears. Sometimes, we think that stories are limited to those which become famous such as the Helen Keller story, a blind and deaf woman who became a leading humanitarian in the 20th century. Sometimes, we think that great stories are from Biblical times such as the little boy David defeating the giant Goliath. But the reality is that we all have a story.
While I was at the hospital over the weekend with loved ones, I interacted with a few different people. The first one was someone I had never met before, but she came to visit because she wanted to encourage my loved one with her own experience. By the time she was done sharing, not only was every person in the room laughing from her humorous account, we were also encouraged by this strong woman of faith. A few hours later, I was surprised to come across someone I had not seen in years. He had shared the difficult news his family was given, but he came by because he desired to connect with those whose loved ones were hospitalized, to encourage each one and pray for them.
When we face a challenge and walk through it, it seems natural to dismiss it as one of many experiences in life. We may even be embarrassed by it or just hope that it will be buried in the recesses of our memory. Abuse, illness, loss, marital issues, and tragedy just aren’t topics we casually bring up while having a cup of coffee. However, those trials are more than just an experience. It’s a part of your story. You are the main character, you faced an obstacle, and God helped you overcome. That, my friend, is worth sharing with those around you, especially when they may be walking through a similar circumstance. I understand the worry about what may people think of you when you enlighten them with a not-so bright side of your life. But here’s the thing I’ve learned. Sharing your story enables you to accomplish a whole lot more: 1) you can encourage and support someone who may feel alone and as if no one understands what they’re going through, and 2) you can point them to God, the One who helped you find your way to overcome that challenge.
Those two people I encountered this weekend were living with pain, yet they rose above it to selflessly help others by sharing what they walked through and boy, did God receive the glory through each person! As hard as it was to hear about each person’s struggles, it was amazing to see how God helped them triumph and bless others. The following lyrics from “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave sum this point up best:
“If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go …
You would hear Love that never gave up …
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine
If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater … Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long”
Revelation 12:11 reminds us that we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb AND by the word of our testimony. Don’t hide your story. Tell those around you what God has done for you as He leads you. All glory to Him who helps us press onward!