Each of us has a tale to tell if we would only tell it.
Your story matters. Your little stories, your big ones, the whole story of your life so far.
We learn about ourselves and others and the world through stories. They change us and connect us. Stories deepen our understanding of one another. Stories help us see what really matters…..past what we wear, our age, and the color of our skin. Past what we fix up and try to hide. Stories help us see the heart. A friend recently wrote, “Stories push us to grace.”
But I’m not talking about our Instagram stories, or any of the ones we post to social media. I’m talking about sharing your life. Your life is a story and a collection of thousands of stories and your stories are best told within relationships.
I’m talking about the kind of stories shared with a group of friends over lunch. The face to face kind you share with your teenager because he’s struggling with his faith. Listening to a story that makes you laugh so hard your face hurts. Sharing the stories of triumph or fear, tragedy and faith, joy, failure, hope and love. And especially the stories that bring tears to our eyes.
So no matter how you do it, keep up with your stories. Write them out in a journal. Share them with those you’re close to. Type them out on a blog, whether you publish it or not. Because it’s important to keep track of our stories. Our real stories. The messy ones we prefer no one to know. The ones about living inside ourselves and those that make us uncomfortable.
We keep track of our stories so we don’t forget who we are. So we remember what we’ve seen and felt and lived through. Because when your friend goes through the same thing, you can be there, sharing your story, and making your friend feel less alone. Or you sit there and say nothing at all because you remember the times it was all you needed.
Keeping track of our stories help us remember those things. If we lose track of our stories, we lose the ability to connect with people in the most essential way – heart to heart. We forget how to be with people and try to fix them instead. We forget compassion and empathy.
We forget how it feels.
Jesus was a storyteller and ever compassionate. He was weary and thirsty when he met a woman from Samaria. The woman was an outsider, looked down upon by those around her because of her lifestyle, but Jesus didn’t treat her any differently than he treated anyone else. Possibly for the first time in her life, she didn’t feel shamed. Jesus told her everything she ever did. She was seen and understood and known. The woman was so heartened by this she went into town to tell the story.
She didn’t wait until all her problems were solved or her circumstances changed. She shared Jesus with others right in the midst of her messy, complicated life.
God uses the stories of our lives. The happy times, the messy ones, the ones that almost killed us, and even the ones we think can’t be used. All for His glory.
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony,……. John 4:39 ESV
Share your lives. Tell your stories. Live like it matters.