Years ago, sometime back in 2005, my husband and I took the teen leaders in our youth group down to Saddleback Church. We thought it was fun to show our teens that all churches aren’t the same. And we also liked to “spy” on other churches and see what cool ideas we might steal for our own youth ministry.
That night, Doug Fields gave the talk, which was “Tell your story.” This message hit me hard because up until that point, I’d been afraid to tell my story. I thought that if the teens knew the person I’d been, they’d be disappointed in me. But Doug said the opposite that night. He said that my personal story, my journey to faith, needed to be heard. He said, “Next to God’s story, your story may be the second greatest one ever told.”
I left that place convicted. And I started telling my story. And it brought people closer to me, rather than pushing them away. Because you know what? We’ve all messed up! And the fact that I had messed up made me a real human being to the teens in our youth group. It made them realize that they weren’t the only ones who’ve messed up.
We all have a story. You might think your story is boring. You never stole cars or did drugs or had an abortion. You were pretty much a good kid, going to church, obeying your parents, getting decent grades. So, you might thing, “What’s to tell?”
But if you love Jesus and have a relationship with him, you have a story. You made a choice in your life, and that choice has power. People will want to hear about how you met him. And someone will relate to why you made that choice.
And coming to Christ is only part of your story. Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you survived a health crisis. Maybe you had a sibling fall away. Maybe your parents are divorced. Maybe you struggle with your weight.
It doesn’t have to be a devastation. Maybe you’re an artist. Maybe you work with kids. Maybe you’re from another country. Maybe your family adopted a child.
If it is a devastating story, be brave. Start by confessing your story to a trusted adult (maybe a parent or youth worker). Let them advise you about sharing your story publicly or with your friends. Some people might judge you. But you know what? Even if you tell a trusted friend and that person blabs your story–first of all, that stinks!–but that experience becomes part of your story too. Life can be really hard. But with Jesus at our side, who can truly harm us?
“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6
Nothing you do in this life is more powerful than who you are. God made you who you are and has a plan for your life. So think about it. Pray about it. You have a story to tell—probably more than one. Think over your life experiences. Which story might you feel comfortable sharing with others?
-How you came to know Christ as savior
-How God helped you overcome something in your life
-How you’ve grown in your faith
-How God used something in your life to bless others
-Why you believe what you believe
Pray. Ask others to pray for you. Make sure your heart is in the right place. Telling your story isn’t about impressing anyone. It’s so that God can use your testimony to bless and encourage others. Keep it simple. You don’t have to give the details of your sins. Don’t name names. But be honest, keep your focus on God’s will, and trust him. We all have a story to share. Are you ready to share yours?
Do you already share your story? Or is something holding you back? Leave a comment and let me know.
And if you want to share it with me privately, you can use this form.