What's Your Story? 7 Simple Steps To Begin To Share
Men are God's method.
While the church is looking for better methods;
God is looking for better men.
Edward McKendree Bounds (1835-1913)
There is power in a story – and we all have one. It may not be complete. As a matter of fact, I would say that until we pass from this life, our story is never complete.
We live in a world without hope. People are searching everywhere for significance, purpose, value and identity. They are looking to others for fulfillment, completeness, happiness and peace. I believe it all comes down to hope – people live everyday with no hope. Hope is not about things or a better future.
The Holman Bible Dictionary puts it this way; Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God's guidance. More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.
We have all heard stories of how God has worked in people’s lives, some through tragedy, and others through sorrow, hardship or other life circumstance. Some of us have personally witnessed this though our own life experiences, while perhaps others have not yet seen the evidence of God’s hand. As we explore God’s word we often see how God is weaving His love and grace in the lives of His followers, building a story of hope in each of them that He desires to share with others to encourage, equip, disciple and lead others to His Hope & grace.
I believe His plan is to do that with every one of His followers. Perhaps He has:
given you Hope through forgiveness of sin.
restored a relationship or marriage.
brought you through addiction.
experienced God’s Hope in grief.
freed you from areas of bondage in your life.
provided a sense of purpose for your life.
shown Himself faithful in areas of your life.
brought healing in areas of hurt in your past.
However God is building His story in you, I want you to know what an encouragement it can be to others, even if you don’t think so right now.
Here are seven simple thoughts that might help you to develop your own story of Hope:
Assess. Where have you seen God work? Look for; be aware of, certain areas in your life that you have clearly seen God work in your life. Whether in the form of forgiveness, healing, restoration, hope, peace – identify something and begin there. Look also for areas of a changed life in Christ, specifically begin in areas of attitude and actions.
Focus. Identify a few key words or thoughts that go along with that specific situation or area of life you have seen God work. It might be a contrast; this was me before and after, it could be a need met, it might be an attitude change, a provision, an assurance of hope. But, identify a few key thoughts that are specific.
Write it. Begin to write a one or two sentence statement summarizing your thoughts. Take those key words and form them into a simple statement; this was my situation before; (what I felt, experienced) and here is my experience after (His provision, forgiveness, hope, healing, protection…).
Own it. Embrace the simplicity of that statement you have written. Over a few days or a week, clarify and rewrite that simple statement and make it yours.
Share it. Look for an opportunity to share your simple statement. It doesn’t have to be forced or feel unnatural. Trust me, if you are willing to share it, God will give you a clear, wide-open door of opportunity.
Watch for it. When God gives you that opportunity, step into it boldly. Trust Him with His story that He gave you. Dr. Bill Bright always said; “Take the initiative, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leave the results to God.”
Expand on it. Over time, simply fill in details of your story. You may find yourself remembering specifics of things before, during or after that situation or season of life that you were in at the time. Build in things that are meaningful, but remember to keep it simple, something you can share easily, naturally and quickly as needed.
Once you begin sharing, I encourage to look for new stories. As we grow in our walk with Christ we naturally begin to feel more comfortable speaking of all the ways we see God work in and through our lives. Look for more stories. Whether they are situations from the past or, perhaps something that you are currently experiencing, look for the evidence of God’s faithfulness in the moment. Write things down as needed. Especially in difficult times, it is not always easy to remember all that we experience and having some written thoughts later of the details or feelings can be very helpful
In Colossians 1:24-29, Paul encourages the Church, reminding them of his own suffering and struggles. He also challenges them by letting them know that they, having followed Christ, have accepted their role in the mission. That together we proclaim to the world “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
My desire and prayer is that God will unfold the story of Hope that He is building in you and that you would share that story – maybe not yet a completed work – with others in your life. It doesn’t have to be long, not a novel or even a paragraph – but simply a sentence of what God has/is doing in your life to build your story of Hope.