This fall I’ve stepped into a new role as the leader of a school of prophecy. It’s a full-time study from August to June and my students range from age 19 to 57. They are absolutely wonderful! I come home every day feeling happy, exhausted and expectant. In the few weeks that have passed since school started God has truly done what he does best: restoring lives and creating futures.
My students all have their stories, although I won’t go into them. Those stories are theirs to share. My privilege is to receive them.
What drives a story?
In her book, “Rising strong”, author Brené Brown says:
“We’re wired for story. In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there’s a surprisingly simple reason we want to own, integrate, and share our stories of struggle. We do this because we feel the most alive when we’re connecting with others and being brave with our stories – it’s in our biology.“
We share our stories to connect. To create relationships. To bridge the gap between past and future, failure and expectancy, isolation and fellowship. We share our stories to be known and accepted.
God created us for relationship. He wanted to share himself with us, thus creating the first story of togetherness. Ecclesiastes says that God put eternity in our hearts, and with it, a longing for the very nature of God, which is family.
Opening up to vulnerability
The vulnerability we experience as we expose past, failures, and processes leaves us open to condemnation. Yet, our need for connection is so strong that we risk awkwardness, hurt, and even rejection.
Sharing our story provides us with a certain distance which allows us to observe ourselves and our walk of life. And as we do, we see the Way Maker at work in our lives, paving the way from Once Upon a Time to Kingdom Come.
No wonder the enemy wants us to keep quiet about our shortcomings. He delights in our wrongdoings and leads us to believe that shame is our name and failure our future. He knows better than anyone that when his lies and accusations are exposed to the merciful light of God’s truth, chains are broken, and lives restored.
As I receive someone else’s story I see God’s grace at work. And with it, I develop an ability to recognize his grace in my life. You see, it’s often harder to know God’s forgiving grace for myself than it is for others. Maybe that’s your experience, too? That you find it easier to forgive others than yourself?
Well, pay attention to the next testimony you hear and tell yourself that God’s loving kindness is within reach for you. His healing is available for you. His guidance is waiting for you. Whatever you have believed to be true about yourself, know that your Father speaks a better word.
Stories reflecting the Author
When we returned to the hospital after Adrian’s healing, we were met in the hallway by one of our favorites. She was part of the cleaning crew – the everyday heroes – and she had become a dear friend. Over the years she had often popped by our hospital room during our many visits, bringing a balloon to a hurting boy or coffee to his exhausted parents. Now, she had heard rumors of Adrian’s miraculous healing and demanded to hear the entire story. Forget about skipping details.
As we shared our story, she wiped her eyes and shook her head in wonder. When we were done, she was silent for a few seconds before exclaiming to her co-worker: “Well, if it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone! I know this family and there’s nothing special about them!”
I loved it! May Jesus increase as we decrease! Or as the Message-version of John 3 says:
That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.
Our stories move us to connection. The most important one being with Jesus.