In my travels, I have the opportunity to share my story, and when I encourage others to share, I often hear two things:
- I don’t have a story
- I’m afraid to share my story
I lived many years believing I didn’t have a story, and when I realized I did, I became paralyzed with fear that someone would discover it.
I finally decided it would be better for me to tell my story than someone else.
When you realize you are better at telling your story than anyone else would be, you can find the courage to share. No one else has the details, facts, or feelings about your story, and would ever be able to communicate it as you can.
You have to believe you have a story and that sharing it yourself works to your advantage. Burst out of your bubble of fear and start to feel the life that comes from telling your story.
So, how and where do you begin to tell your story for the first time? I will admit it is a scary thought.
I began by telling the parts of my story that involved someone hurting me.
Others hurting us makes us feel victimized, and we can live our life as a victim. But living like a victim keeps us stuck in the past and keeps us from living out our purpose for which we were created. That’s why sharing these parts of your story first helps to bring freedom from victimhood.
I also started by sharing the story of Angie’s death, which was so difficult to re-live. I had no choice about her death, and for a very long time, I felt angry.
Initially, I would talk about her death but never admit my feelings of anger. My anger made me feel guilty. I thought anger was an unacceptable emotion, and I could not tell anyone I was angry.
I also thought others would feel sorry for me if I talked about her death too much. I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I wanted to express my feelings about how her death impacted me.
It was no longer about her death but rather how her death changed my life. I wanted to express it. Sharing this story was another first step towards freedom for me.
The thought of anyone knowing my story used to put my stomach in knots and sent my mind into a constant spin. I didn’t want to share my deepest struggles and disappointments.
I would often think thoughts like, “What parts of my story should I tell, and what do I take to my grave?”
I lived with these thoughts for over twenty years.
My sadness and anger about Angie’s death was only one part of my story. The abuse I experienced, along with the despair and shame, was another part.
I longed for a friend whom I could trust, someone that would listen and still accept me. I was so ashamed of my past, and I wanted to hide it. I believed to uncover and tell my story was weak and unspiritual. I didn’t think anyone would understand me.
“My FEAR of being known was greater than my DESIRE to share my secrets.”
I didn’t know, however, that my secrets were killing me. The way I lived my life was affecting me emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I thought I had everything under control and that my past was behind me, and yet I couldn’t forget my past.
What was my problem, and why was my past haunting me? I became depressed, angry, and sad.
There were times when I would find someone that would listen to me. I would only talk about certain parts of my life and leave the really bad stuff out. It was in those times that I felt my anger rise as I spoke and cried.
I finally found a friend that I could count on, and over time I was able to share it all. It was a relief to me when I realized that she would still be my friend and not judge me. She gave me the courage to tell my story, and from there, I began the process of counseling.
From a life of secrets to sharing my story publicly in books, was beyond anything I could have imagined.
This act was no small victory for me!
It was like winning a war that I thought would never end, and today I have the freedom and courage to share my story with audiences across the country.
The life of freedom is the life God wants me to live. I signed the words “Free Indeed” with my signature on my first book, Twist of Faith.
The freedom I found in telling my story for the first time surprised me, and I had no way of knowing the freedom I experienced would only grow each time I told my story.
I’ve said many times, “I tell my story for God’s Glory.”
His grace in my life has abounded as I’ve shared my story, and today “God’s glory has become my story.”
Finding a true friend can be the beginning for you like it was for me. Tell your story for the first time, including the good, the bad, and the emotions you feel surrounding your story.
Don’t worry about the criticism and judgment of others because God’s grace is greater than the judgment of others.
You’ll begin to feel the freedom you long for. It’s like coming out of a tunnel of darkness and stepping into the light of God.
When we live in the light, we can see where we are, and God can show us where He wants us to go.
When we live in the darkness of our secrets and emotions, we cannot find a way out.
As you tell your story for the first time, don’t be surprised when you begin to feel “more.” Your emotions will come alive as you connect with your memories. Instead of stuffing down memories and trying to forget, your words will make them clearer.
There is another part of my story I also had to learn to share.
In the beginning, I was only able to tell what others did to me. But as a result of what was done TO me, I hurt those I love the most – my family.
I was more ashamed about what I had done TO THEM than I was about what was done TO ME.
Sharing the harder parts is when we have to lean into Proverbs 6:5, which reads, “Set yourself free like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”
The struggle is real, but the freedom is worth every ounce of courage you put into telling your story for the first time.
As I shared, the light of truth melted the shame away like sunshine melts the cold snow away. Walk in the light, and the result will be pure joy.
I encourage you to find a good friend and tell your story for the first time, even if you feel nervous, afraid, and don’ think you have the words to express yourself.
A good friend will listen as you stumble through your story.
A good friend will weep with you as you tell your story.
A good friend will not abandon or judge you after you tell your story.
Be strong and courageous. God comforts and frees you as you begin to bring ALL your thoughts and deeds into His world of LIGHT.
In His light, there is no condemnation. There is only love, grace, and freedom.