(This post was inspired by a fellow writer who was brave enough to be transparent and share her story.)
We all have the same tendency to keep things to ourselves. It's understandable, and necessary a lot of the time. But not as much as we tend to make it.
We feel the need to remain on guard, to build up walls and put on a facade just to keep up the image we want of ourselves. In a sense, we're afraid to share who we really are with the world. I know. I do it all the time.
It's fear, really, that makes us keep things in. We're afraid of showing weakness, of appearing vulnerable, or of changing what people think of us. We are afraid, so we keep everything that isn't perfect or pleasant out of sight of the world.
At all costs.
Where does that usually leave us? Never in a good place. Keeping the walls up and making sure no one has the slightest idea of what our weaknesses are is quite a chore. The longer we keep it up, the worse it becomes, and we feel that we can never let anything show.
We're writers. Our jobs, our mission, our purpose, is to take the stories we have been given and use them for God's purpose. Sometimes His purpose is to strengthen, sometimes it's to give a message or a reminder, and sometimes it's just to simply share the gospel.
But sometimes it's for something else, something deep and personal. Sometimes the purpose is to heal, to show not only that God understands, but that others do as well. Sometimes the purpose is to bring hope by saying that someone else has done it too, and that God is there.
That's not only personal; It's vulnerable. How are we supposed to deliver such a powerful message that is way beyond what our fingers can type?
We can come up with stories, with plots and settings and characters and events. We can create a cool story that will excite readers, and create a fictional life and story for each made-up character, but no story, no matter how good it is, will be as powerful, as real, or as vulnerable and transparent as our own.
The most powerful story you can tell is your own. And even as writers who spend our days and our lives writing stories, we are just as hesitant (if not more) to share our own. Because we suffer from the same fear as everyone else: What will people think? How will they react if they see who I really am? Even if our stories would be shared with people we have never met, we are afraid of what they will think of us.
That fear is what keeps the walls up, and what keeps us from ever being transparent.
We talk a lot about “our stories”, the fictional stories the Lord has inspired us to write. We say that they need to be told, and we work and struggle to get them there. But as much as these are our stories, the ones that God has given us to tell, the truest story that will ever be yours is your own. Your story is the most broken, the most vulnerable, and the most beautiful.
The truest story that will ever be yours is your own. It's the most broken, the most vulnerable, and the most beautiful.
Yes, we're broken.
And our stories aren't anything that would be on the NYT bestseller's list. They're messed up and embarrassing, and something that would make an editor cringe.
And your story is probably the last thing you would ever want to share with the world.
I felt this way for a long, long time. There are still places where my walls are up, and it's going to take some work to knock them down. But in the past year, I went from completely hidden to someone willing to share pieces of who I really am. Whether they're weaknesses, quirks, hobbies, or pieces of my past, one by one I have started to let them out. And you know what?
Every time I let even the smallest piece of myself out there, I'm afraid. I'm nervous. I wonder if people will look at me differently, if I'll lose credibility, or if I let too much of myself out, I'll regret it.
But I do it, and even when it's frightening, it's exhilarating. And it's freeing. And it's right.
Because we are meant to be transparent. Because the broken, ugly pieces of us are the ones that tell a story: a story of salvation. The most broken parts of us are the most beautiful, because Christ has made them that way.
In Ephesians it says that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” And one of the most frequented verses is from Ezekiel: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
You are beautiful.
And your story is the most powerful, beautiful, wonderful thing you could ever tell. If our stories are kept behind our walls, then the stories of our transformation, of how God has forgiven us and made us beautiful, and of how He can do the same for every person will be locked behind the walls with them. The world will never get to hear the most beautiful story you could ever tell.
I'm broken. I'm hopelessly broken, flawed, and a complete mess. But I want that mess to show. A little bit at a time, I want to share that mess with the world. Because that is my testimony. That is my story. And that is the story of how God can take the most messed-up person and make them beautiful in His eyes.
And somebody needs to hear that.
Not only my story, but yours. There's somebody out there who's just as broken and messed up as you, who needs to hear that there's a God who loves them anyway. That someone else's story is just like theirs, and that they received salvation.
There's somebody out there who's just as broken and messed up as you, who needs to hear that there's a God who loves them anyway.
If we're transparent, despite our fears, despite how some people may think, or what we may think of ourselves, our stories could be what God uses to change somebody's life. And only because we let our walls fall, and let God tell - through our mess - the greatest story we could ever tell.
How are you going to let God use your story? Share your thoughts with me below!