‘Your Story Matters’…We’ve all heard the cliché pinterest quote, right?
A few summers ago, I was asked to help volunteer at a summer bible school program for young girls in the community. Although I felt like I didn’t have much to offer, a friend of mine was volunteering as well, so I agreed. “They’re just young girls, it can’t be that hard…right”?? My friend and I were both from out of town, so we stayed at a couple’s house in town while they were gone. I drove us to the church the first day feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing, but also pretty excited to help minister to these girls’ hearts. I parked my car (a manual transmission at the time) on the side street and my friend and I made our way inside. The morning typically started with a few worship songs, while the kids got rallied up into their teams, all while shouting hello to their BFFs across the room. Shortly before worship began one of the adult leaders came in and asked “Umm…Does anyone drive a silver Saturn VUE? (I slumped in my seat a little) It’s parked in the middle of the street outside, blocking traffic.” What? I knew had parked in the parking spot. It can’t be my car… Well, sure enough– not even kidding, guys. I still don’t even know how, to this day that happened, but somehow the shifter thing (what is that even called anyway?) had slid out of park and into neutral. Parked on the slightest uphill, my car had rolled back into the street, blocking the way for through traffic. As if I wasn’t already embarrassed enough about driving a stick-shift, now everyone knew I didn’t know how to park it! I grabbed my keys and tried to sneak out of the church to go move it. This time I was smart enough to pull the emergency brake on… 🙂
The rest of the day went on without a hitch, and I felt fairly confident in my ability to be helpful during the coming week. That was until it was time for the girls to share their testimonies. Much like the morning, the afternoon ended with a few worships songs and some reflection time. One particular day the girls were asked, if willing, to share their testimonies with the rest of the group. Some of the leaders (high school and college aged girls) also volunteered to share their stories. These girls stood up in front of probably 20-30 people and told their personal, very much emotional, stories of how they had come to know Jesus and the ways he had been working in their lives. Their stories were amazing. They told of how they’d been lost and struggling with specific issues, and how their whole lives had been transformed once they had been introduced to Jesus. I left feeling really inspired that day, but also a little conflicted. I remember telling my friend on the way home…”Don’t you feel a little inadequate? I’ve grown up my whole life knowing Jesus, and I don’t have a story like they do. I can’t pinpoint a specific time in my life where I “met Jesus” and everything changed.” Much like me, she’d grown up in the church and her story was similar to mine. Our walks with Christ didn’t exactly have an AH-HA instance of momentum change. Not really having an answer, we just accepted it was a fact and moved on. But deep down, I always wished I had an honest, inspiring story like those girls’.
Then it hit me…(and by then, I mean a few years later). My “story” isn’t finished yet, nor is it made up of one specific moment in time. Maybe you’ve felt the same way. Much like me, God didn’t just start working on your life, and then decide it was more important to transform the lives of people who hadn’t met him yet. Philippians 1:6 (MSG) states “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Your story, just like mine, is a work in progress. It’s. Not. Done. Yet. You can’t read the first three chapters in a book and expect to understand the complete picture the author was trying to convey. Sound’s silly right? But isn’t that what we do when we try to understand the depth of the story God is working in our lives before he’s finished?
So hear me out. When you feel like your story is inadequate, or doesn’t measure up to those people standing on stage or writing a book, take heart–it’s not over yet. There are still years of work to come in your life. Things God wants to teach you, show you; ways he wants to grow you, lead you. There are so many pieces of the puzzle left to be added–don’t get distracted trying to see the finished picture when the pieces are still being added. Keep pursuing Jesus, and you’ll find he’ll very much continue to work in your life. Instant results may not always be the outcome, but don’t give up. He hears you, and wants to bless you.
So don’t hang your head and feel left out. If you let him, God can and will continue to add beautiful pieces to your puzzle–trust me.