Anyone ever ask you “what’s your story”? Someone who really wants to know you? How did you answer?…Honestly? Or did you hide behind a mask of who you thought they wanted to hear?
Often, we just say lighthearted surface-y type of things about ourself. Maybe we even hide big parts of our lives that are embarrassing, shameful or sinful. We don’t want others to know those parts…because if they do, they won’t think well of us.
There are parts of my life that aren’t fun or flowery. They were harder than I ever thought possible to live through. They were hard enough to cause doubt that God could ever bring good out of them. But if we trust God, we trust His truth. We trust that He can “make all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” His main purpose is to conform us to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28-30)
The church is supposed to be a safe place to be real and to be loved anyway. Maybe your church is, but in your heart you just don’t believe you can trust them with your truth.
I recently read If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey. She fully understood having lived for years thinking, “if they only knew, they’d never accept me or love me.” She hid her “other life” story especially from those who were Christians.It was only when she fully trusted Christ’s acceptance that she was able to begin to trust others with her story.
The thing is, our story is our story. Even though we can to change what we do in the future, we cannot change our history. You CAN learn to live more fully in obedience but your past IS your story. Your story may have chapters that you continue to hide. As Jamie shares in her book, it’s only through transparency that we find freedom from strongholds our past has caused us to hold on to. Only then can we fully connect with Christ. And only then are you able to connect your story to someone else’s story.
When you begin to share at God’s discretionary direction, He will provide divine appointments with others who desperately need to hear your story. They need to know they aren’t the only one who has had this experience, this loss, this pain, this sin in their life. You may be the answer to their freedom as you share out of your own freedom.
I’ve watched this happen over and over in my life, whether it was through a common experience of infertility, struggles with children, loved ones with addictions of all sorts, a common sin I struggled with, or my sense of inadequacy as a woman, a mom, a wife, a minister, and on and on. As God connects me with someone still struggling in one of these areas, I can be a ray of hope to them that God is faithful, no matter what the situation. He can be trusted and He cares even more than I do about my circumstance.
If you struggle to find freedom to be truly honest with your story, read this book of Jamie’s. Then trust God and others with your story. Use discretion, but obey when God leads you to tell part or all of your story. Watch Him use it for good! Aren’t we grateful He’s a redemptive God in all ways!