“Your story matters.”

Our stories are what inspire others and bring them hope to keep moving on when they don’t have an ounce of strength left. More than once I have been able to put one foot in front of the other because of  knowledge and wisdom from my own mistakes, lessons and  story and it has changed mine.

It takes a lot of courage to share a personal story. Even telling your story to an audience of one can cause your hands to shake and sweat. To me, story telling is a beautiful courage.

I am willing to share some of the things that I had experienced in life. Others sharing their story and being accepted helped me to see that it was safe to tell my story.

I revealed my story. First to two trusted people – then i would call friends , then to a small group, then to a large group, and eventually even in writing , a global platform. I was set free from shame by doing this. Not everyone is called to share in this way, but when we are we know it and can sense it is the right choice.

I could not have safely shared my story without first going through a season of recovery, and let me tell you I am still heavily learning recovery and learning who I am in God. When a story is shared there is often someone who criticizes, pities, or says things that aren’t helpful. Until I was strong enough to accept that God’s voice and opinion is louder than all the others, which i still struggle with a lot,  I wasn’t ready to share.

There is no hurry in sharing our stories. First, we have to experience healing before we can help others heal. In order to be safe counsel for others I first have to understand my own shortcomings and my own pain.

i realized that I felt ‘identified’ by what had happened to me and the choices I had made. I was getting to a place where I wanted to focus on the future not the past. I sat and thought about this and I want to share with you now what I believe the truth is about our stories.

 

I am not my story.

 

My story is something that happened. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful, painful, scary  and victorious – it happened. It is still happening. In five years I will have a new story to share, more victories, more blessings, maybe even more trials and hurts.

But I am not my story. I am not defined by my past.

I am JAnae

I am beautiful. I am loved by my heavenly Father. I am truthful, I am courageous. I am intelligent. I am a good communicator. I struggle with addictions. I have a heart for hurting people. I paint, I sing, I dance, I write. I am a mother,  a friend. I am so many things – but I am not the story of my past. And there are more stories in me.

I went to a baptism at a Church ( Christ city) and heard a man share about his life in street life, crime, drugs, and booze abuse  This testimony spoke to me so deeply.

This is part of my story.

You have a story. A testimony of what has happened to you so far. You also have a story about what will happen soon. The dreams God has placed in your heart so that you will carry them out on earth. So that you can bring hope to others.

Your story is important, extremely valuable, and we need it. It is a part of you, and it can be a tool to reflect God’s face to others, but it is not your identity.

I dare you to share your story with a safe person… even if it includes hope for things that haven’t happened yet.

I remember when a friend of mine publicly shared her struggle with conception.. She had a story even before those children were born. It was a story of hope and courage  in the midst of seeming impossibility.

I hope you spend some time this week thinking about the part of your story that hasn’t yet come true. I hope you have the courage to find someone to tell your dream to. You can ask them what they are hoping for. We need our friends to believe with us and for us.

I hope you dream dreams with your friends and loved ones and keep making new and beautiful stories. <JG> <Undressed>

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