As long as time exists, story exists. As long as you are alive, your story isn’t finished.
For many years of my life, I did not believe my story was worth much.
Growing up in a home where my parents loved God and each other, I thought that there would be no power in what I had to say. We didn’t have much money, but we were a happy family. How could my story have any relevance compared to the ‘rags to riches’ narrative that the world around us glorifies?
But then I realised that everyone has a different normal. What a ‘normal’ childhood is to me is completely different to what the guy across the table from me would think.
The fact is, I saw miracles almost every day of my early childhood. There were times when we couldn’t afford the new shoes that I needed because I had grown out of my old ones. We prayed for blue gumboots and shoes. The next morning, there were blue gumboots and trainers in my size on the front porch. In the months that we couldn’t make ends meet, we would make soup and invite people for supper every night. All of a sudden we had too much food. Once I woke up screaming as a two year old, saying that our pastor was in trouble. I wouldn’t calm down until we prayed. We found out the next day he had been in an accident at that very time the night before.
As a young family, we travelled the world as missionaries. At 5 years old, I found myself in the middle of the naval capital of communist China with my 3 year old sister and two crazy parents. For six months, I lived with my eyes wide open – living in a world that culturally was the absolute opposite of anything Western. At that age, I had a revelation of what it meant to be baptised and forced my parents to baptise me in the bath of a friend’s apartment (you might think I’m crazy… I know).
Just writing a small bit of my story down has already encouraged me. There is power in my story. And there is power in yours too.
When you hear where someone has been, what they have done and how far they have come – it’s natural for you to see yourself in their story. You are unconsciously placing yourself in the timeline of someone else to find hope for your own situations.
The real power of your story is for yourself, though. If you went back and recounted what your life has been, I can guarantee you would be able to find inspiration to move forwards.
Is your life inspiring you?
You have probably learnt your most valuable lessons through experience.
No matter how much someone tells you, sometimes it is only when you go through the lesson yourself that it has a lasting effect.
But there is power in learning from each other. Your story could save someone else a whole lot of pain and frustration. Your friends’ story could direct you through a tricky season of life. The whole biographical literature industry is based on this principle.
Are you learning from other peoples’ stories?
Could other people learn from yours?
Without stories, there would be no entertainment industry.
Whether to escape, be amused, be inspired or learn, people are drawn to story: the beginning, tension, climax and final outcome.
Your story is valuable. It could become a New York Times best seller one day, or a riveting film.
The only person that can limit what your story can be is yourself.
You might say, “there’s nothing significant about my life”.
The best stories start with insignificance – The Lord of the Rings, Madiba’s lifestory are just two examples.
You might say, “but you don’t know what I have to deal with.”
The greater the struggle, the more encouraging your story will be.
You might say, “I just want a normal life.”
I’m sorry, but there is no such thing as normal. Settling for what other people think is good is the greatest disservice to yourself.
You have a great story inside of you that needs to be told – today, tomorrow and in 100 years’ time. If you feel like you are going nowhere, or are even tempted to end your story before the final chapter – I want to encourage you. I have witnessed the power of God in my life. The power of my story is that you have no grounds to contest what I have experienced. If you want to get to know the writer and narrator of your timeline, click on the link below.