Thought Of The Week - Sharing Our Stories
Words by Bev Jones
So how are you doing? Ten weeks into lockdown, how are you feeling, and what are you learning? What are you learning about God, and what are you learning about yourself?
Whatever we’re learning through this time is becoming part of our story – it is beginning to shape us for the future – as all events in our life do, and if we let it, will shape how we share our faith in the future, and how we do life.
A lot has been said this year in Methodist circles about being ready to share our story – the difficult bits as well as the good parts, because people respond to other people, and yet we often try very hard to keep the difficult bits under wraps, preferring instead to present a pretty polished version of us. You only have to look at social media feeds which I tend not to do, but am reliably informed that they are full of people having a great time, looking fabulous and enjoying life. Well, those are the pictures that are presented. Not many want to share the disappointments and the pain, the difficulties and the loneliness – perhaps because we think nobody wants to see that, but also maybe because we don’t like admitting that sometimes life is very far from perfect. It is difficult sometimes to admit that things are not ok.
Photo by Rueben Juarez via Unsplash
And yet, even in those times that are challenging and difficult, we have a story to tell - what Alan Scott calls a ‘super-narrative’ – finding where our story fits into God’s story. Starting where we are, and recognising that that can be a place of kingdom expansion. And if that means we start at a place of brokenness then we need to look at not only what we learn about God at those times, but also how we can connect with others that we’re doing life with. Sometimes the most effective place to share our story is from a place of brokenness.
We might think it’s great to impress folk with how brilliant we are, and how we’ve got everything sorted, but the simple fact is that that’s not really how most people live. Life is difficult and challenging – full of things that we didn’t expect, and people are desperate to know how to recover from those things that hurt, and the toll that everyday life takes. Scott reminds us that if we always present a ‘well-ordered, sanitized life’, people are never going to ask us where our hope comes from.
Photo by chuttersnap via Unsplash
We need to speak in language that others understand. Our brokenness and imperfection can be our greatest gifts, especially when we’re willing to share that, because we have in us that hope that is Jesus, and we take Him into all the situations that we find ourselves in, and to all the people that we connect with. And so, I wonder what we’re learning at this challenging time, and whether some of that learning is translating into how we connect with others and share our stories? And if we feel daunted by that, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, ‘the author and perfecter of our faith’, who promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower and strengthen us - to help us speak the language of those we connect with. In this time of gradually easing lockdown and uncertainty, the celebration of Pentecost surely reminds us that we don’t do life alone; we have the love of the Father, the presence of the Son, and the awe-inspiring power of the Holy Spirit. That’s part of our on-going story, and that alone is surely worth sharing.
Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
- Romans 5: 3-5 The Passion Translation