We love to tell stories in our family. Not the “lie” kind of stories - though we do have issues there. The stories I’m talking about are more like the retelling of something that happened kind of stories. Some of us are so good at it that we can take a mediocre event and turn it into a jaw-dropping story to end all stories. In fact, if you were to be present at the event and then at the retelling of the event, you might not even recognize it.
To say we exaggerate is somewhat of an understatement. And no, we do not consider exaggerating to be lying. The thought is this; if you’re going to make people listen to your story, at least make it worth their while.
I love telling stories, except for the ones that are less flattering.
I have two file cabinets in my brain. I’m finding that a few drawers don’t open anymore. Some might want to attribute that to age. I prefer to think that they are just crammed so full that they’ve gotten stuck, but whatever...
One cabinet has the stories that make others laugh - fun ones, entertaining ones, non-threatening ones. They’re amusing or at least I think they are. They give you a glimpse into the craziness of my life.
Then there is the other file cabinet. The one whose drawers I don’t always want to open. These stories are more sensitive, hurtful to dredge up. They show my weaknesses, my shortcomings…my sinful human side. I prefer that those drawers stay closed, but I’m finding that more and more God is calling me to open those drawers and share.
All to often, when God tells me to open a drawer in the not so pleasant cabinet, the enemy comes running. He knows right where to aim his flaming darts. “What will people think?” “This will surely ruin your witness.”
Do you know what I’m talking about?
We all have a story.
Some stories are the more difficult ones, difficult to remember and difficult to share. They are the things that we tuck way deep down. These story lines are built around deep wounds, stormy days, and dark hours. We hide them because it hurts to bring them into the light.
Some stories are not as gut wrenching. They might spin around sins we struggled with in our past, or maybe ones that we still struggle with. They are the ones that we’d rather not share because we don’t want to appear… unspiritual. They tug at our pride. These are the times when God has had to deal with us, heal us, and set us free from things like a gossiping tongue, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, a disobedient heart, and the list goes on. We hide them because they are shameful. These are the “If others were to find out…” ones, or the “If my kids were to find out…” ones. The ones that we lock away somewhere deep in our soul and hide the key. Though we have been healed, forgiven, we feel that we have to hide them away so that no one will ever find them.
Then there are stories - not like the first two. These stories focus on times when God has done something miraculous on our behalf because we asked or because we have stepped out in faith. Most of the time, these aren’t so hard to share, especially with other believers. But then there are times when we might have stories of encounters with God, but we are hesitant to share, especially with unbelievers; the times when God has spoken directly into our hearts, or His breath has brushed our face, or He has given us a parking space. We fear that they won’t understand. They might laugh behind our backs. So we remain silent and our story untold.
Still, the truth is, we all have stories. Why do we have stories? What are we supposed to do with them?
Every hard lesson learned, every brokenness healed, every joyful experience has been carefully woven into our life story by the One who created us, and that story is meant to be shared.
Psalm 66:16 says this: “Come and hear…let me tell you what He has done for me.”
Let me tell you so you won’t make the same mistake.
Let me tell you so you will have hope.
Let me tell you so you will know that there is someone who has walked your road and who understands.
Let me tell you because my God is great and He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever hope or imagine.
Let me tell you what He has done… and when I do, I will influence my world for His glory…one story at a time, and so will you.
Have a great week!
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