Why You Should Share Your Story
So many people feel hopeless today. As a pastor I talk to them all the time.
“My life is out of control! I can’t seem to change. Nothing seems to work. Life has kicked the hope out of me. I feel trapped. I’m trapped in a hopeless marriage.I’m trapped in a hopeless career. I’m trapped in a hopeless crisis. I’m trapped in a hopeless addiction. I’m trapped in a hopeless health issue.”
Everybody needs hope.
The best hope that helps us is the hope from somebody who says, “Been there, done that. I’ve been there and done that and here’s what’s going to happen and here’s what you’re going to end up like and here’s how you need to change.” That’s how God wants to use us.
God wants us to be a hope dispenser. God wants us to be a hope dealer. He wants us to promote hope wherever we go.
1 Peter 3:15 And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.
We need to be prepared to give an answer to, “How did you make it in life?” Be prepared. Here's what I suggest we do. We need to make a list of all the experiences we've had in life to this day, positive and negative. Ones we've caused and ones we didn't cause. Make a list of all those experiences. Then we ask, "What did I learn from that experience? How did God help me make it through that tough time?" Ask God, "How did You help me through that tough time?" Then we write our story out on paper.
Why? Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips. Write it out. Then ask ourselves, "Who could best benefit from hearing my story?" The answer is, people who are going through, right now, what we've already gone through, who are just a little bit behind us in the process. We say to God, "I am available." Then get ready. There are people who need to hear our story all over this world, who are going through what we've gone through.
Three suggestions in sharing your story (because you have a story to tell and God does not want you to waste the hurt and the pain and problems you've had).
How do you share your story?
- Be humble. We're all in the same boat. We're all fellow strugglers. When you share your story, it’s like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. You're not saying, "I've got it all together," because you don't. You're getting it all together. As you're getting it all together, be humble and say, "We're all in this together; here's what happened to me."
- Be real. Be honest about your hurts and faults. I'm grateful to be a part of a church family where real people can share real problems and real solutions without feeling put down or feeling guilty about it. We are committed to maintaining that atmosphere of acceptance in this church. You help other people by being honest about your hurts. It helps them open up. The other amazing thing is when you share your story, it not only gives hope to them, but gives healing to you. Every time you share your story with somebody, you get a little bit stronger. You're healed a little bit more.
- Don't lecture. Just share your story. God wants you to be a witness, not a defense attorney. You don't argue anybody into Heaven. You don't force anybody into Heaven. You just share -- this is what happened to me.
Ask God to give you somebody you could share your story with, to share the good news of how God can make the difference in somebody's life. The world is full of people who need your story and if you don't tell it, where are they going to hear it?
You are the only Bible some people will ever read.
They wouldn't be caught 100 yards from a church, they'll never hear me, but you have a story that can reach them, that they can identify with. God wants to use you. You don't have to be a Biblical genius. You just say, "This is what happened to me." That's the most powerful kind of story anyway. “I don't know where all the verses are, it doesn't matter where all the verses are. This is what happened to me.” Nobody can refute that. That's a personal experience.
Acts 20:24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.