How to tell your story

How to tell your story

I thought it would be a good idea to take a post here in the middle of my story to help you think about how to tell your story.

Where to begin your story

You saw in my first “What’s your story?” post I started my story at the beginning. When in doubt, that’s a good place to start — at least that’s what Maria Von Trapp taught us, right? I started with the moment in mind when I trusted in Christ since that’s the heart of the first chapter of my story. It’s funny, though, because that’s not really the heart of my story. 35 years later, God has worked in huge ways since then to bring me to where I am today.

Let tension build

The second chapter of my story started with Junior High. That was where things got complicated for me. I learned about hurt, sin and brokenness. While eternity hangs on the moment we trusted in Jesus, most of us haven’t lived happily ever after since that day. Sometimes, Christians, we oversimplify our stories making it sound like it’s been smooth sailing since trusting in Christ. Like we haven’t struggled with addictions or sin or relationships or questions. That’s one of the things on the long list of frustrations most people have with us. We act like life’s been hunky-dory since salvation. It’s really been one mess after another. The difference for us, believers, is that we know the God who loves us has it all under control. When we find ourselves in the pit, he picks us up (Psalm 40 — the psalmist and Bono).

Share hope

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve seen hope. In every challenge I’ve faced, God has provided a person or an insight to move me to the next place in my journey. That’s what hope is about: being able to move forward knowing this is not the end. In Christ, we always know there will be a next step. We have a place in God’s plan, and Jesus is our constant companion on this journey. We also know our destination. One day the story of our redemption that began at the cross and manifest itself in our faith will conclude with our arrival in the full expression of God’s kingdom. Forever. That, my friends, is what hope looks like.

Leave some questions unanswered

We know the story is not buttoned up yet. We all still have questions about what God is up to. It can be a struggle to understand how God can allow all the broken things in our world. There are moments when eternity seems so far away. When we give simple answers to the hard questions, our childlike trust in our Heavenly Father can be perceived as pollyannaish naivete. Life is just hard sometimes. While we know we can trust our God to care for us, we don’t know why he does all the things he does. We can be honest about that. People appreciate it when we acknowledge that our world is broken, and that breaks us sometimes.

But, please, tell your story

Over the next couple posts I will bring my story up to today. I will move from the struggles of a child and teenager to the challenges of adulthood. It should help you understand your pastor’s heart and motivations and show you the depths of my love for God and how my heart longs to share that love with you.

I believe God has done every bit as great a work in your life as he has in mine. You have a great story to tell about finding hope in Christ through all of life’s challenges. And, people need to hear your story. Nope, your story won’t save anyone. Only Jesus’ story does that. But, your story is the 21st Century confession that Jesus’ story still works. So, please tell your story.

Because your story matters

And, if your story hasn’t found the hope of Christ yet, it still matters because you matter. As Matt Whitman pointed out a couple weeks ago, the infinite God of the universe chose to make you part of this, so you count. Keep looking. God is there, and he has constructed the world in such a way that we can find him. He has given us the Bible to tell us about how we can know him. He sent his Son to be the way to him. And, he promises that when you seek him, you will find him when you seek him with all your heart. That’s the challenge you are going to run into.

The God of the universe doesn’t work in terms of “kind of.” He created all the universe to display all his glory. He sent his only Son to give all his life to show us he completely loves us. So, he demands all of your heart and my heart. That’s a lot to ask, but he will not disappoint.

If you have questions about telling your story or you want to share your story, send me a note: I would like to hear from you.

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