In the past couple of years, I’ve had a people come to me compelled to share their story.
Some of them weren’t sure why they need to tell it except that the thought won’t go away. Others thought it might help someone but weren’t sure how to go about it. Still others knew it would be part of their healing process.
There’s no denying that revisiting parts of your past or self that you wish didn’t exist can feel painful or embarrassing.
But here are some powerful gifts I’ve experienced through someone’s story:
There’s risk that comes with sharing your story. Yet with that vulnerability comes a meaningful connection I would have otherwise missed.
I get the risk.
Fear of losing love and acceptance, the pain of remembering, and the potential of being misunderstood have often resolved me to protect myself. You tell yourself to put up walls around your heart, polish and sweeten your story, and try to show your best self. You draw up a strong stance – and you are strong. Yet meaningful moments I’ve treasured have been when someone showed me their doubts and tears in the midst standing strong in their battle – and they’re okay with that.
I love the ‘aha’ moments when someone is telling me her story and, as she’s talking, her eyes brighten with realization. “I just realized that now!” she exclaims about a certain detail or perspective she had just revealed. Her clarity awaken or increase awareness in my own clarity.
Whether you write it or tell it, you need to get your story out of your head. Putting words to what is lurking in the closets of your mind will help bring it to light. The first time you tell a story that’s been hiding and snowballing in your mind, it will probably come out rambly. The details are muddy, and it’s hard to unravel the important threads of impact and meaning.
As you sort it the theme of your story, you’ll begin to cut out clutter and notice patterns, beliefs and opportunities. What you do with that is your gift!
Who doesn’t enjoy the freedom and relief that a clean, clutter-free environment inspires?
I remember a time when I had done someone of which I was ashamed. I wasn’t ready to talk about it with many people, but I knew I couldn’t keep it inside of me anymore. I had already gone to God about it, and begun to change my path. But the thought that I needed to tell a certain friend kept coming to me.
What if she thinks less of me? I argued in my head.
That’s not the point, I sensed God respond. Your friendship has been built on transparency and on your relationship with Me, and this is something significant you haven’t shared with her.
So I called her and told her my story. She was surprised, probably disappointed in me, yet supportive. I felt weight release from the burden I carried. I felt forgiven.
Each time I told some someone my story, I felt like I opened more of myself to forgiveness and felt more released from shame. I began to understand why teaching His people about confession was so important to God. Confession is about opening the doors of vulnerability so you can enter meaningful relationships – with God, with your loved ones, or with those He wants you to impact.
It’s a key step to restoration and putting things right again.
Healing for Yourself
One of the biggest lies we believe when we keep our story to ourselves is “I’m alone in this.” It’s a tactic of isolation that God’s Enemy uses to destroy us.
As soon as you tell your story, you invite deeper hope and comfort in your life. It may not come the way you expect, but God’s going to meet you in that moment. He wants nothing more than to heal you, strengthen you through it, comfort you and then turn it into a redemptive story that brings hope and comfort to others. And that in itself is a gift to me — and an inspiration to examine where I still need healing in my heart.
Hope and Courage
Several years ago I crossed paths with a friend who took a few moments to pull back the curtain of her inner world. She was in the midst of healing from some traumatic abuse in her past, and she disclosed a few private revelations that she’d had in her alone time with God.
Our time together was brief. Her story wasn’t complete, nor did the details relate to my past. But those few moments challenged me in my approach to a particular circumstance in my life and spurred me to respond differently. All I needed was someone taking a couple of moments to be transparent about what it took for them to live a better story.
Don’t underestimate the gift of hope or courage you could offer someone by sharing your experience. By sharing, you also let them know, “You are not alone.”
There may come a point when you cannot move forward without telling your story.
I’m not sure why it works this way, but I’ve seen it many times.
You can deter it, fight it, adapt it. No matter how painful or awkward the thought might be, the nudge will not leave you alone. The opportunity could be different than you expect. But the more you avoid it, the more significant the moment will be when you share it.
Once you share the secret or experience burning inside of you, your path will shift, so use wisdom and discretion to share this precious story in a safe environment, with respected people who can be trusted with the treasure of your story.
Maybe the new intimacy will open another door in your life. Maybe the clarity you gain helps you see yourself differently. Maybe you’ll gain the courage you need to take whatever step is next for you.
Is there a part of your story you’ve never told anyone? What good things might be in store if you told someone safe and trustworthy?