Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The importance of your story

So...I have yet began the journey of reading another Donald Miller book. If you have been reading my blog for very long, you know that I am a big fan of his. This time however, it was different. I didn't know anything about the book I was about to read, all I knew was that it was another one of his books. As I began the book, I instantly knew what I was going to write about today.

The book I began to read is called "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years." Interesting title, but doesn't even give you a clue about what the book is about. The book is about his story and how a couple guys were wanting to make a movie of his story so he goes about editing his life, remembering what was and trying to figure out what makes a good story. What hit me however, was that this thought of story keeps coming up in my life recently. I have been thinking about it a lot, trying to figure out why; trying to figure out its importance.

I have come to the conclusion that our story is one of the most valuable things we have. People can take so much from us, but they can never take from our story, only add to it. Our story is what makes us who we are. It shapes who we are going to be (not to be confused with determining who we are going to be).

Quite a few of you have heard my wife's story recently. The story of where she has been, how God has saved her, what she has become and I can't help but stand in amazement at how brave she was for sharing, but not only sharing but allowing people to enter into her life and be a part of what God is doing in her.

I think that is why our story is so important.   It helps others know that they are not alone in what they are dealing with.  They can understand people have been there before.  It gives them someone to turn to for advice, someone to share with, someone who understands.

I have been trying to figure out what my story is for a while.  I wrote it out two years ago to share with the teens that I had the privilege to pastor for a while, but has my story changed?  The more I think about it, the more I believe that our story is an ever changing story.  Life happens and sometimes we can lose sight of God for a moment and begin to go our own way.  When we come out of that and give full control over to God again, I think we should add that to our story.

I once met a gentleman that was a Christian, but claimed He didn't have a story.  That makes me sad for him.  If you don't have a story then God didn't save you from anything.  If He didn't save you from anything then you  really don't need Him.  If you really don't need Him, then why do any of us?  Can it really be that some need Him and others don't?  I have to say, I can't believe that.

Jesus taught in parable form.  In essence He was telling stories so people could get a full picture of the lesson He was trying to teach.  If He had just told the people God loves you like a lost sheep, it wouldn't have made an impact on anyone, but when He shares the story of the lost sheep, people can begin to see the full picture.  Not only can they see it, but they can begin to understand its importance.

That is the way it is with our story.  We can tell people we are saved, but that doesn't really mean much.  If we can show them what God saved us from, how He has changed us, and made our lives new then we can truly be a witness.  We can be used by Him.  We can be who He wants us to be.

Think about it, the Bible is full of stories.  Most are stories about the lives of people who were screwed up, but God redeemed, used, and changed the lives of countless others.  What if the Bible had only stories of people who were perfect?

So today, I have decided I want to try to really figure out what my story is...what do I have to share with people that can help them see who I was and who God is making me to be. I challenge you to do the same. 

Look for those things in your life that you want to hide from others or from God.  Is He asking you to share that with someone?  Many times its those things in our life that have caused us the most pain that God will use to help someone else.  Who better to help a kid who's parents are going through a divorce, than someone who's parents went through a divorce?  Who better to help someone with an addiction, than someone who was addicted?  Who better to help someone who ______________, than someone who has already experienced it and deepened their relationship with God because of it?

It is all part of living in community.  Sometimes you are the one who needs the help.  Sometimes you are the one who can help.

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