When I get up in the morning and write, my goal is not to tell others what to do but to tell others something I have to do and let them take it from there. But this morning I am going to tell you something that you shouldn’t do. DON’T watch a roller coaster video before you have coffee or whatever you put in your belly first thing in the morning after you get out of bed.
I did that today and my head still doesn’t feel quite right.
My stomach isn’t quite right either…yuck.
In my life, I often feel completely qualified in telling others what they are doing wrong, what they are doing right and how they need to improve. You’d think that as skilled as I am at figuring everyone else’s problems that I would have no more problems of my own. But the more I look at others and analyze their flaws and dissect their mistakes, the more problems I seem to have with myself. I become blind to my own failures and abandon the growth that God has for me as I become the self-appointed judge of the rest of the world.
The more I judge, the less help I become. After all, if I were to help others, I would have less to criticize about them.
When I look at my own problems and decide to do something about them rather than hide them underneath everyone else’s faults, it changes me. When I tell others about it, I hope it takes away their fear of looking hard at themselves and helps them to be willing to go places they only dreamed of going before.
I know it works that way for me when I hear of someone that had reached a point of hopelessness and they step out in faith and tell others how God brought them hope. It makes me hungry for more of God and more of what he wants to put in my future.
Today, I want to share something that I think YOU should do. You won’t hear this much from me but I feel strongly that it is a right thing to say today.
Tell your story.
Recently, I have seen some statements by people saying they have no story to tell. That’s not true at all. Everyone has experienced times when life seemed more than they can bear and the road ahead seemed uncertain and treacherous and the fear overwhelmed their courage.
There is no story that describes all of what God can do in our lives. It is all of our stories together that show all of what God is. Sometimes the answer lies in the tiniest detail that most miss but one person finds the courage and the necessity to tell their story in it.
I’ve listened to a group of men discuss someone’s testimony and have been amazed that every man in the room heard something a little different, that their encouragement and reflection centered on something I hadn’t noticed. They make me think and get more out of that story.
I think that when we go to church, we need to share our stories more. We need to connect to others by opening the door to our life and letting people see our hurts and victories instead of our stoic faces going through the motions of looking all churchy, finished and polished by God and just waiting to enter the heavenly gates.
The truth is that the person next to you in church doesn’t just need good music and a good sermon and a basket passing by to drop the offering in. They need us to share our story. They need reality and the physical evidence of a living God in our lives. They need to see God fixing the broken, lifting the fallen and holding the lost and frightened.
Too often God does those things for us and no one knows. No one gets that encouragement and proof of God’s love. No one realizes the hand of God is really, truly reaching into their lives if they just stop pushing it away.
Psalm 71:15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words. 16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. I will tell everyone that you alone are just. 17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
I’ve used words for a lot of things, to manipulate people, to shout in anger, to show my disdain and to berate. Words hold a lot of power. But if I want to see real power in my words, I have to use the words God gives me, words from the scripture, words from my heart, words of peace, words of love and words that tell my story.