Stories 1

I love hearing other people’s stories. On visits to my mom’s relatives when I was little, I’d sit around various dining room tables just to listen to them swap memories. Being shy, I savored the chance to sit and quietly soak in a part of their history.

As an adult, I often start conversations by asking other people how they are. And I really want to know. Sometimes they’ll go beyond the quick answer and share what’s going on in their lives. Whether I hear more of the up-to-date or of the past, I feel blessed to be allowed into their world for that moment.

I’ve worked on writing my own personal history. It’s a lot of work, both mentally and emotionally. But I think it’s really important to acknowledge even some of our own stories.

Why? For a few reasons:

  • To understand ourselves: why we do what we do
  • To realize the uniqueness & value of what we’ve gone through
  • To acknowledge all that we’ve survived!
  • To be able to bond with others

Once we have those stories ready, there’s great power in telling them. Think about how sharing our experiences:

  • Forges and fosters relationships that add to our mental, emotional and spiritual health
  • Encourages, teaches and challenges others to grow
  • Offers support to others who might feel alone in their struggles, problems, and fears

Have you written out any of your story yet? If not, think about it – your history could actually improve someone’s future! More on this coming up soon…

The Power of Testimonies

NOTE: New blogs will return on Friday. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!

Have you ever shared your testimony?

My church is holding it’s annual Testimony Slam tonight. It’s kind of an “open mic” night for anyone who wants to get up and share some of their story. it’s become a tradition, and only partly because of the pie social afterwards!

I’ve written before about how powerful that first Slam was for me. Why? Well, what I heard reassured me that I’m not alone on this journey of faith. Others are struggling and learning and worshipping right alongside me. I’m part of a community, and we’re all traveling the road toward Christ-likeness together.

I also came away with a bigger picture of God and how He’s working around me. Because if I’m not careful, I can get totally preoccupied with my own little daily world. Someone else telling their experiences helps me keep the right perspective. Plus, hearing their victories increases my joy in the Lord!

There’s something about personal stories that grabs our attention. The inspire and encourage us to “press on”, as Paul wrote. We must learn the foundational principles and doctrine of our faith. But testimonies show us the practical application. They can help us step over the bridge between knowing truths and living them out.

So what makes for a powerful testimony? I believe it’s less about actual  content – everyone’s story is unique, after all. It’s more about how we deliver what we say to make it relatable to others. The most impactful testimonies  I’ve heard had traits in common:

  • They were honest
  • They were specific
  • They were God-centered

What are the most powerful testimonies you’ve heard?