Do you share who you are? Many of us would answer this question with a resounding “yes!” We introduce ourselves to others and reveal little tidbits about our work and family. But many of us don’t go deeper into our story. As we share we tend to splash around in shallow waters, refusing to go beneath the surface and expose the places of hurt and disappointment. We’d rather keep those things to ourselves. It’s less complicated that way.
We were created uniquely and wonderfully and placed in this world in a certain time and place. We were made to be in a perfect relationship with God. Our heart has been shaped with particular passions and we’ve been given specific gifts. We have hopes and dreams, and yet the reality is that things are not as they were intended to be. Pain and suffering wreak havoc in our lives. Expectations go unmet. Sickness, hurt, loneliness, disappointment dot the landscape. The wounds run deep and the ground is hard and treacherous.
The good news is that God has a plan to restore life again. As we look at the way He has worked throughout human history, we see that in spite of the grief and hurt, God pours out His love and grace. There are times when peace is palpable and we dare to dream again.
Your story is a powerful part of God’s amazing story of grace and redemption. In order for us to share who we are in a meaningful way, we need to be willing to go deeper into our own story. Are you wondering how to do that? Here are some questions to ask yourself. You’ll notice that they mirror the phases of life that Jesus experienced.
Incarnation: Where has God put you in the flesh? What places do you find yourself? Where are you from? What was life like when you were growing up? Who was in your family of origin? Where do you work? What are your important relationships? What have been some of the major events in your life? What have been your experiences of religion or Jesus? Have you met Jesus? What was your life like before you came to know Jesus? How did you come into your relationship with Him?
Crucifixion: Describe some of the most challenging times in your life. Where has pain overwhelmed your plans? Where have you experienced loss, disappointment, or illness? How did this impact you? Do you carry any wounds now? What is hard for you?
Resurrection: Where did Jesus show up in your pain and bring you new life? Where have you seen your life story take unexpected twists and turns that were life-giving? Where has life been surprising? Where have you seen God work and pour out His grace, especially in the midst of hard things? How has God spoken to you?
Ascension: What role have you been given by God in redemptive history? What is your eternal purpose? What is your passion? What brings a tear to your eye or raises your fist in the air? What are your future plans? What do you look forward to? Where are you at your best? Where are you gifted and how do you hope to use those gifts?
Spend some time going deeper into your own story, paying attention to these themes. This not only helps you discover where God is and has been at work, but it also helps you recognize His movement in the lives of others. You’ll find there is so much to your life’s story! Chances are you will not share all of this at once! But this process of reflection now will help you connect more deeply with others later. As you build and cultivate relationships with people, you will discover that you have many opportunities to share who you are. Watch for the Spirit’s movement and be willing to take a risk!
As you go deeper into your story, remember that Jesus continues to make you new and bring you new life.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Interested in more? Listen to the sermon Your Story by clicking here.