I love a good story. Sitting by a warm, crackling fire (I’m definitely a wood fire girl), snuggled up in a fuzzy blanket, warm drink on the end table next to me, and a good book in hand — that is a fabulous Friday night in the fall and winter.
Some of my favorite “story” books of all-time are Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Time to Kill by John Grisham, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. These books I can reread many times even though I know the outcome, because the writers are brilliant at conveying the emotion, the smell, and the attitude of their plot.
I also love biographies. Lives lived before mine that tell of life, love, journey, and hurt. Lives that tell of joy and significance and faith. In Christian biographies, I love hearing how the God of everything reached into the history He created and directed lives, showed Himself faithful, and continues weaving redemption into lives of ordinary people.
In Acts, on one of Paul’s missionary journeys, he is talking to people who don’t know God: “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” What that means – is God has written your story. He has written everyone’s story. And here are some things that I’ve learned about stories:
- Your story isn’t just about you. We as women can compare a lot and wish our story was different. We think that other women have a better life, husband, children, job, or story. But, your story is the one that God is writing for you — for His glory. So know that Jesus is the author and the main point of your story.
- Your story doesn’t define you. Yes, your story is written by a perfect God. It is written for His glory and your good and joy, but your story doesn’t define you. This is true whether you have a glowing story filled with accolades and awards, or if your story is full of brokenness and hurt.
- Your story needs to be shared. God gave you a story for a purpose. Not so you can be the one to share and receive all the glory — but so you may share and tell others how God works and does amazing things.
But, I’ve also learned that women don’t want to always share their story. I don’t always want to share my story.
- We sense shame or guilt. We don’t want to tell others our story because of the sin that’s involved. We don’t want others to see the mistakes that we’ve made or the mistakes that others have made that have affected us and our lives. Romans 8:1 should compel us to share even more, because if we are in Christ, nothing in our past or in our today or in our tomorrow can bring condemnation upon us. God’s Word tells us truths about ourselves that we need to believe and allow those truths to guide us in our lives and help us to interpret our stories.
- We fear man. We fear that if others really knew us they wouldn’t like us, we would lose our jobs, we would lose our friends. Our relationships could be greatly changed. So, therefore, we hide and dismiss telling our story. But, if we understand the Truth of God and His Word and the working of the Spirit then we will not fear man, but rather pray that the people we are sharing our story with will fear God.
- We feel we are alone in our story. We feel there is no one else who can possibly understand or know our story or what has happened and therefore won’t understand our story.
- We want to be in control. If we tell our story, we don’t know what the outcome will be. There may be effects of telling our story that will change our future. But in this we must also remember that we aren’t in control, God is. The same God who wrote your story is in charge of the future of your story as well. Psalm 86:11 is such a powerful reminder of God’s part in our story: His leading of our story, how He protects and gives growth, how He is a sun and a shield.
Our stories can be the light of grace through Jesus that brings people to know Him as their Savior. If we can remember that our story isn’t about us, but it is about a big, beautiful God, who is still in the business of changing lives and writing stories and revealing Himself to His people, then we will be more comfortable telling our stories, listening to others’ stories, and rejoicing at the redemption found in those stories.
And in the end, it isn’t about our story at all. The Big Story is God’s perfect story and it’s all about Him.