“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” Learning this hard truth from Brene Brown helped me understand what can happen when we share our stories with truth and vulnerability.
THE POWER OF STORY
One of the reasons I began AT THE CROSSROADS several years ago is the power of STORY. I love hearing and sharing stories and slowly came to realize that, along with teaching and speaking, blogging is just a new way of doing this.
I strongly believe that God has given each of us a story.
And each story is important.
And each story matters.
I find comfort, wisdom, encouragement, and guidance in stories. I grasp, absorb, receive, and gain more through a well-told story.
Stories of people I know and people who have been long gone. Stories of Biblical heroes and of ordinary folks walking the same path. Heartbreaking and powerful stories. Stories of redemption and restoration. Laugh out loud and tear-jerker stories. Stories of overcoming obstacles. Stories of both victory and defeat.
I love them all. Why?
GOD IS A STORYTELLER
Because God is the ultimate storyteller and we are all a part of His story. Sharing our stories is a way for us to connect with Him and each other.
Read how Donald Miller describes it in his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:
“I like the part in the Bible that talks about God speaking the world into existence, as though everything we see and feel were sentences from his mouth…I feel written. My skin feels written, and my desires feel written. I believe there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us, interacting with us, even, and whispering a better story into our consciousness” (p.86).
Hearing stories reminds us that we are not alone, that we all have “stuff,” and that God can use brokenness, pain, and hurt for our good.
EMBRACING MY OWN STORY
Whether you think you have a story or not, you do. The question is: Are you willing to OWN your story and share it with truth and vulnerability?
For the first time this past week at OASIS, I overcame fear with faith and shared my personal struggles of wandering through the wilderness. While I have written and spoken often about desert experiences in the past year, taking off my mask and owning my story in front of over one hundred women was a huge step out of my comfort zone!
But because of your encouragement, support, and prayers, God enabled me to be real, raw, and vulnerable. And although it was completely terrifying, to reveal the deepest, darkest places of my soul, doing so empowered me to walk inside my story and make sense of it.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN
One of my favorite sayings recently has been, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Does that make sense? This profound yet straightforward phrase has helped me aptly describe my time in the wilderness. What does it mean in terms of sharing our stories with truth and vulnerability?
For me, it means that before I went through a devastatingly difficult time I had no idea what being in a deep dark valley full of physical pain, mental anxiety, and emotional trauma could do to me. I did not know what I would need, who would be there to help me, or how I would ever make it to the other side. But now I do!
And it is my responsibility as well as my privilege to share this story in order to come alongside others who may need hope and guidance on their journeys.
And YOU have stories to share too that someone needs to hear! It is only after the death of a loved one that you know how to speak words of comfort someone who is grieving. A woman who has struggled with infertility is keenly aware of how to support a friend who has lost babies due to miscarriages. Parents who are raising children with special needs can advocate effectively for other families because they have been there. And someone who has battled depression or anxiety can come alongside others who are suffering and give the kind of empathy and support that others cannot.
What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.2 Corinthians 1:4 (The Living Bible)
TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE STORIES
OASIS is an actual place where we can meet each other and share our stories in person. My mom, Esther Campanella, and I founded OASIS in 2012 with the desire to have women recharge and renew their souls.
The purpose of OASIS to get women together during the summer to listen, talk, and share their stories of faith and life. Our goal is to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere where women can bring their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members and be encouraged, inspired, and challenged by other women.
Each month, different women come and share their personal stories of turning to God during pivotal points in their lives and how those decisions brought hope, peace, and strength.
These women are going to take off their masks and show us their struggles, their pain, and their insecurities.
And by doing so, they will teach and touch us all because that is the power of story.
They will reveal to us what it looks like to accept yourself as God made you, to let go and trust, and to allow God to use everything (even the bad, the sad, and the ugly) for His purposes. They are the living examples of Romans 8:28:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
2) THE WAY OF THE WILDERNESS
This is the devotional I wrote after my time in the wilderness. If you need help owning your story, this is a great place to start! In it, I teach you how to NAME, FRAME, & TAME your wilderness experience.
In nine chapters, this beautifully designed book will guide you through any desert experience with truth from scripture, interactive journal pages, resource lists, and further Bible study. It has been uniquely designed for you to take out various pages with quotes, scripture, and key points to remind you of God’s truth on your journey. Use this devotional for personal reflection, with a friend who may be struggling, or in a small group Bible study.
Either go to the SHOP tab on the top menu bar or click HERE to purchase your copies. For those of you who are local and want to save on shipping costs by picking up your books, please use coupon code FreeShip19 and I will contact you directly about delivery.
Because I think something powerful happens when we share our stories with truth, I am also offering a special deal if you buy two books…that way you can purchase one for a friend and go through it together!
ALLOW GOD TO WRITE YOUR STORY
So as I send you out on this Mindful Monday, I encourage you not only to OWN your story but SHARE it with truth and vulnerability. God continues to write my story as He continues to write yours. And we can be assured that God’s story for us ends well!
BE PART OF THE STORY!
If you have not signed up to be an email subscriber, please take the time to do so today! You will receive my e-book, Embracing the Middle, as a free download, get my weekly posts delivered directly to your inbox, and be eligible for other free resources and giveaways. I am always looking for fellow travelers to join me on the journey!