Thursday, August 2, 2012

Telling Your Story

…Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him (John 4:28-30).

I HAVE A STORY, A STORY THAT NEEDS TO be told. Despite being raised in a loving family and surrounded by caring friends, an acute sense of loneliness gripped me for the most part of my life.  This left me with a heightened anxiety, an intense longing for acceptance and a dire need for approval. These are still realities in my life that I cannot deny, but they no longer control me, dictate my actions or define who I am. 

Today I am being shaped by the voice of GOD that says, "You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you." This voice that I choose to listen to declares loudly and clearly that I am loved, forgiven and accepted, not because of what I have done or not done, but because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross.

Now, what am I supposed to do with this unfolding story of mine? Silence it? Hide it? Ignore it? Suppress it? In John 4:28–30, a Samaritan woman with a messy life and a bad reputation listened to the voice of GOD saying, “You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.” 
Instead of judgment and condemnation, she experienced love, forgiveness and acceptance. And, she did not silence her story or hide it. She was not concerned about how others might feel, react or respond. She was not consumed with thoughts like, “Am I ready to tell my story? Do I need more preparation?” All that we see in John 4 is that she immediately and unhesitatingly ran and told her story to others just the way it happened.
OUR STORIES, HOWEVER INTERESTING  OR BORING we may perceive it to be, however painful and shameful it is to us and however important or insignificant it may sound to others - needs to be told. My story matters and so does yours. Sometimes we convince ourselves that people won’t listen to us or accept our story about GOD’s work in our lives. And because we convince ourselves that we are not ready, we usually don't share it. Sometimes we don’t tell our story because we assume how someone would react to it or respond to us. Sometimes we don’t tell our story because we simply lack confidence. When this pattern continues, being silent, hiding, ignoring or suppressing becomes a way of life and we stop telling our story to the world. 

WE ARE CALLED TO BE ACTIVE storytellers of what GOD has done, what GOD is doing and what GOD has promised to do in our lives- in and through Jesus. Have we not tasted and seen that GOD is good? Do we not experience his love, grace, forgiveness, justice and acceptance on a daily basis? Then, why are we hesitant to talk about these things? It’s important that we understand that our stories have power. They have power not because of our own skills in storytelling or our ability to connect with others emotionally. They have power precisely because GOD can and will use our own life story to draw people to Him, sometimes even without us being aware of it.

Friends, we are called to tell our stories which is a part of GOD's bigger story.  May the words we hear today not only humble us and give us confidence, but also compel us to tell our story just the way it is unfolding. So why are we hesitant? May we tell it, the world needs to hear it.

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