The Power of Story

It was pitch black as my car slowly followed Micah’s along the winding mountain roads, our tires kicking up dust in our wake. My adrenaline sizzled, preparing both my mind and body for the next hours of our night hike up Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs.

My friend Brad sat next to me in the passenger seat, keeping my mind occupied on our conversation. I shared with him about my last year – graduation, what the Lord had been teaching me at Focus on the Family that summer. As he thanked me for sharing, a response spilled from my mouth without my permission.

“It’s not my story to withhold. God’s writing it. I’m just living it.”

My mind froze as I replayed that comment over and over in my head, realizing both the truth and the responsibility that came with it. Have you ever had one of those thoughts? You know it didn’t come from you because there is no way that you are that brilliant. And it both hits you and spills out of your mouth in the same breath with the unmistakable ring of truth to it. I knew it was a Holy Spirit inspired response. Divinely inspired light bulbs are great, aren’t they?

Kariss mountains

In the few years since that night hike that changed so many things for me, I have come to understand and value the power of story. The more I read and watch, I realize that there are only two stories that matter in life and everything else is a cheap imitation.

1) The story of Jesus Christ

2) Your story

That’s right! Your story is the second most important story in history. Why?

There was a man in the Bible named Nicodemus. For those of you reading this who do not claim to be Christians, you are in good company. Nicodemus wasn’t either, at least he wasn’t at the time he talked with Jesus. He was curious and confused. He came to talk with Jesus in the middle of the night. In John 3:11, Jesus tells him, “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen…”

Never mistake that Jesus has the most powerful and influential story in history. But because He made you and gave you life, your story is the second most influential to people in your sphere of influence. Most people do not appreciate a know-it-all. However, your story automatically has credibility because you are standing before them and telling it, physically present and accessible to them. You lived it and they can relate to it, or at least ask questions.

Story is a powerful thing. We live in a culture where we want to hear what the next Hollywood star is up to or which politician created a national scandal. People want to know stories. No matter how nondescript you feel yours may be, you have the ability to influence people mightily for Jesus through a willingness to share what God has brought you through.

My mom has always told me, “Never forget from whence you came.” You don’t have to have a successful career or a story worthy of Lifetime. You simply have to be willing and open to share.

Let your writing imitate life in the best ways. In fiction, no one has to know where some of the intimate details come from, but I have learned that what some of my readers love the most came from experiences I had or watched.

What the Lord laid on my heart to share with Brad is very true. My story isn’t mine to withhold. Listen for His gentle whispers. He will give you the words to say when the time comes, and He will use your story, in writing and in life. The pressure is off of you! So share. You have a powerful story because it was and is being written by a mighty God!

How have you seen God use your story to impact others?

5 Replies to “The Power of Story”

  1. Wow. This post hit me right between the eyes! What an amazing thought…”It’s not my story to withhold…”
    My blog has been exactly that. At the beginning of the incidents that fueled my blog (Celiac diagnosis, 1st child Autism diagnosis…2nd child Autism diagnosis…3rd child ADHD diagnosis…) all I could do is question why it was happening. Through my blog and writing about what I’ve learned along the way, I’ve been able to reach out to so many people who I never would have otherwise. People who were hurting and in the same spot as me. People who need to know the hope of Jesus.
    I struggle with feeling inferior as I write, thinking “who am I to write these things…?” This article has really helped me to flip that perspective, “who am I to WITHHOLD these things?”
    Thank you so much. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Oh Cindy, I LOVE this. You are perfect to write these experiences because you are living them. As you struggle and grow others will, too. I am so encouraged by you. Keep writing! Also, you might like this blog…

  2. Love your insights, Kariss. I think I was hit with the importance of telling our stories when I wrote a weekly family humor column for our local newspaper some 20 years ago – I had people stopping me in the grocery store to tell me my column had made them laugh as they saw themselves in it. Ever since, I have considered myself an “everyperson” who is sharing the experiences common to all of us. What has been so beautiful for me is when I touch the individuals who most need to hear my story, because it illuminates their own. Thanks for posting, Kariss!

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