For the longest time, I didn’t really like my story. When an opportunity arose for people to share their stories, I rarely volunteered my own. It’s not that I felt ashamed of my story, of what I had done in the past. In fact, that was part of the problem – I thought my story was boring and forgettable.
So you know where I’m coming from, here’s my story: I grew up in a Christian home in a town 30 miles from Atlanta, Georgia. While my family never regularly attended church, I did go to a Christian school from kindergarten until high school graduation. Despite hearing about Christianity and what it means to accept Jesus very early in my life, I didn’t actually become a Christian until my senior year of high school, one week before I turned 17. In the 5+ years since that day, I’ve continued to grow in that relationship.
Like I said, not exactly a thrilling story. No addictions controlled my life. I never came close to taking my own life. There wasn’t a major tragedy that brought me to my knees. I just opened my eyes one day while on my school’s annual retreat and realized I had been playing a game for some 10 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly grateful I didn’t have to go through hell to find God. I just wished my story had more to it. After hearing stories from friends, about how they’ve overcome all sorts of addiction and disasters, my story felt even less inspiring.
For years, I struggled with this sucky story mindset. I never bothered to share my testimony because of how underwhelming it was.
But then came a paradigm shift. One night at my small group, we somehow got onto the topic of our stories. One of my friends, one who did go through all the drugs and alcohol before meeting Jesus, said something that really stuck with me. As someone who did go through hell before finding God, he loved that possibility that people could enter into that relationship with God without hitting such a low point.
That was such a big “aha!” moment for me. Someone who had the story I idolized actually thought stories like mine are awesome. Never would I have thought that a possibility. That moment helped me start to appreciate my story so much more.
Now, I still don’t believe my story is incredibly exciting, but I am no longer ashamed of it like I once was. I still don’t share my story much, mostly due to my incredibly shy nature, but I have much less hesitation to do so now. I’m incredibly proud of my story and I’m glad to say it is my own.
And so should you. I may not know your story, but I do know this – it is yours for a reason. God has given us our stories so that we can share them and point to Him. Whether you were the addict saved by God’s grace or you were blessed to be raised in a good Christian environment, your story has so much power – power to encourage, to convict, to heal. Power to change lives.
Never feel ashamed of your story. It is uniquely yours and it can reach people in ways no other can. Never hesitate to share your story. You may never see it this side of heaven, but your story has a huge impact every time you share it. The only way a story won’t result in life change is if it stays untold.
Originally posted 12/17/16
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