I remember the day it clicked. I had just been presented with a speaking opportunity. One that would involve me in front of a large number of high school students, sharing my story of abuse as a child. The director had asked me if I’d like to spend my summer sharing my story, clearly seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I felt paralyzed. I thought to myself, why would anyone want to know my story? What could I possibly have to offer? I don’t know how to speak in front of people. I’m inadequate. There’s someone else who’s better for the job than I am.
Later that evening I spent time with some trusted friends and told them about the request, after which they both looked at me and encouraged me to go for it. They saw the whole picture and knew there was no other option. That speaking opportunity was clearly the next step in my journey of healing. It was that moment where everything clicked.
There is freedom that comes when you realize that the tragedies in your life, although clearly may not have been good, God can use them all FOR your good.
I realized the 24 years of prior tragedies and successes had really nothing to do with me. I realized those individual threads, woven in the master tapestry of my life, were not of my own stitch, but of an Artist much bigger than myself. I realized then that my story was not about me, but about Christ in and through me, and in that moment, I felt freedom.
I can’t describe it to you because the freedom that comes when you finally realize your life is not about you is unexplainable. There is freedom that comes when you realize that the tragedies in your life, although clearly may not have been good, God can use them all FOR your good. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that scripture is true and accurate and God can use all things for His glory and your good as you continue to love Him and serve Him (Romans 8:28). And let me tell you, that freedom will break your chains and you will rest in a spacious place because you will realize that His story through you will bring Him great glory and renown if you would just relinquish what little control you think you have on your story and get out of the way. And there is just nothing better than bringing glory and renown to Jesus Christ.
You see, my friends, God is in the business of making old things new. He is in the business of redeeming what was lost and using it to bring Himself glory. He is in the business of rescuing you from your lostness and bringing you back to Love and Grace. That’s who He is and what He does.
We do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
How long will you keep going – white knuckled and scared – holding on and trying to control what’s not yours to control? If only for one moment, could you think about what it would be like to not carry the weight of your stories anymore? What would your life look like? What would you look like? But most importantly, whose lives could be changed through God’s power in your story if only they heard it with their own ears?
I’ll tell you what, there is a generation right now, rising up in the midst of this sad and declining world. People are beginning to find courage and resolve to break those chains of silence, oppression, and hurt and begin the process of healing. People are beginning to rise up out of addictions, anger, grief, and hidden sin, throwing off their chains and are boldly stumbling their way to freedom, knowing that God’s redeeming hand will hold and guide them every step of the way. People are rising up out of the darkness and undisciplined lives and taking pleasure in the Bible again. And I want to hear those stories, do you know why?
Because Jesus is in those stories and I want more of Him. And if Jesus is in your story, do not prevent someone from hearing the Good News because you are shrinking back in fear. Because oh, no, we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (Hebrews 10:39) Have faith in He who is the Author and Perfector of your stories and let go. He’s got you.
Some may say their stories better than you could say their stories, but no one will say your story better than you. This is His story in you, and it needs your voice.
Some may say their stories better than you could say their stories, but no one will say your story better than you. This is His story in you, and it needs your voice. Do not shrink back, friend. God’s redeeming story in our lives should always be held with an open hand – and when the opportunity arises, we should be ready, willing, and grateful to give it back for Him to use for His purposes.
May we all have the courage and faith to find freedom in giving our stories away – it’s the first step in living the good life
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