Followers of this blog might remember that I love my small group! Since last writing about it, though, it has split to form two new groups. Something attracted other people and, so we didn’t become a ‘big group’, we split.
That means Mel and I are part of a new group, with a whole load of new people. We’re really excited about it!
Telling our stories
We’ve decided to kick off this new group in exactly the same way we kicked off the old group a year ago. Every member of the group will have a whole evening to share their story in whatever way, and in as much detail, as they want.
Last night, Mel kicked us off.
Mel’s story is such a powerful testimony of God’s grace, love and faithfulness in good times and bad times. She did not hold back in talking about her journey with depression, or the chapters of her life which were hardest. But nor did she hold back in pointing us all to God’s goodness and constancy through it all. Some of her closing words:
“I am in a good place now. I am less angry and more at peace. Bad things come and go, but God remains. I know that with him I can make it through anything, and that he is using me for his purposes. Without him, I would not be able to change from who I was to who I am now. I am learning to trust him more because he is faithful and he is good.”
I was so moved hearing again Mel’s journey. And I wasn’t the only one. There were a few tears last night.
Telling my story
This post isn’t about her story, though. It’s not my story to tell, so I won’t. But I do have a story to tell: my own. At some point in the weeks to come, it’ll be my turn. I will feel many of the things I always feel when it comes to telling my story.
I will feel boring. I haven’t had any Damascan experiences. I haven’t battled illness. I haven’t done amazing things in exotic parts of the world. I haven’t come through great trials or persecution. I know these things don’t matter, but this blog is a place to be honest: sometimes I feel boring.
I will feel self-indulgent. Why should I imagine people should be interested in listening to my experiences? Surely it’s just an exercise in arrogance. My story can’t matter.
So why will I do it? In the context of our group, I think it is such an important way of us drawing closer to each other, being able to really know one another so we can truly invest in one another. It opens us up, gives others permission to know us at a deeper level, bypassing superficiality. It is very powerful.
Tell your story!
But beyond that, why should Christians share their stories? What’s the point? Simply put, I believe telling your story is important because your story matters and no-one else is going to tell it.
Your story matters because it is what has made you the person you are. You aren’t determined by your past – of course you aren’t! – but you are shaped by it. And whether you think your story is exciting or boring, it is your story. It is the only one you have. It is the only way that God has worked in your life, the only way He has brought you to where you are now.
Maybe you wish things had been different. But they weren’t. The story of any Christian is a story of God at work in the life of a person loved by Him, made by Him, called by Him. God doesn’t create boring people. There is no boring testimony. The reasons I find it hard are wrong – my story is amazing and it matters.
Your story is amazing! And it matters!
And no-one else can tell your story, because no-one else has lived your story. To keep it hidden is to deny others the hope and inspiration it can provide.
Own your story. Celebrate your story. Remember your story. And please, please tell your story. It is a powerful thing. Don’t hide it.
Repeat after me: My story matters.