6 Ways to Be Intentionally Authentic in Your Story

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Processing our stories, what we have gone through and where we have been, can often be difficult. They can become overwhelming, daunting, fearful and extremely breathtaking because they are personal, emotional, and ours.



Understanding trauma led me to a deeper understanding the importance of telling my story. But even before the need and desire to understand how our stories affected the lives of my household that have experienced trauma, I stumbled upon a book called Listening Is an Act of Love. Notes that guide you in how to tell your story. I had the blessing of doing this with my dad before he died, it radically became one of the most cherished things that I have ever had the blessing of doing with him. I asked him a serious of questions, recording his life story. It quickly became evident that seeing life through the lens of a story helps make sense of who we are, where we are going. A narrative, yours alone, mine alone, that God is using and will continue to you, but you must believe that it matters... because it does, simply because you do. Your story matters, my story matters. Therefore you need to tell your story in the beautiful mess that is life because our stories allow us to be authentic and real with those that we do life alongside.

6 Ways to Be Intentionally Authentic in Your Story

1. Be Authentic in your story. The definition of AUTHENTIC is "not false or copied; genuine; real; representing ones true nature or beliefs". What a beautiful image. Think about in light of your story. It is yours. Unique. Not copied, your story alone. It represents who you are or how you came to be who you are at any given point in your life. The right stories are authentic. They are honest and raw. Painful and peaceful. Exciting and dull. They tell the truth. Be real with your story.

2. Be aware of your story. No matter your story, no matter the depths of you heartache or hurts, can you welcome it? Can you claim it as your own? Can you share it? Have you been brought through it? Are you able to clearly articulate the things that are apart of who you are? Your situations and circumstances write your story, they dictate the path that we have walked down in the past, but they do not need to identify who you. They may mold you into the person that you are, but they do not need to characterize you. Some pieces of your story you have not chosen, nor would you want to chose it for yourself. They are too traumatic and hurtful to justify wanted to walk through a second time, but they have value. You may have learned something about yourself or greater still, you may have learned how you do not want to be. Your story could be your ministry.

3. Be open in your story- it matters. This is one of my favorite parts of being authentic in your story. It is the part that leads to your ministry of your story. Being a Student Ministries Pastors wife for 15 years, I had a great deal of time to share my story. There is one thing that I noticed in that openness. It lead to deep conversations with high school girls, lead to openness with their struggles, and late night/ early morning phone calls with tears that healed. Because in those sacred moments, those precious girls realized that they were not alone, that they had not walked through something alone and that someone had walked through a similar situation before them.

You have that opportunity to help some on feel alone, scared, or fearful because of where they have walked. You can give them hope. Show them mercy when they have not seen it before or grace when they need it most. You can impact someone deeply, simply by sharing your story. Because, like have said before, your story matters... and your story is amazing. Unique. Breathtaking. Yours.

4. Be cautious in your story. With my entire heart I believe our stories need to be told. They need to be shared. Since they are yours, they are treasured. Sacred. When we are open and honest with our story, remember that some details you need to keep private or personal should remain private and personal. Not everyone in our lives, or people that we come in contact with, need deep detailed stories. You may have no one on the planet that has "earned" every single detail of your story. (My hope and prayer is that you have someone that you can share every last detail with, someone who is your person.) However, the lessons that God has taught you through your story, those need to be declared. Those beautiful lessons will speak to those that you are living authentically alongside. They will minister to someone who is listening. They declare what a precious God is doing in your life and where He is taking you. Your story could be your ministry. 

5. Your story heals your hurts. We all have amazing pieces of our story. Pieces that are sheer happiness and utterly joyful. Those pieces are easy to share. They are the ones where we get giddy and excited over. Engagements. Births of our babies. Graduations. Marriages. But there are pieces of our stories that are traumatizing. Difficult. Dismal.

Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson write in The Whole-Brain Child (one of my favorite parenting books of all time):

"This is what storytelling does: it allows us to understand ourselves and our world by using both our left and right hemispheres together. To tell a story that makes sense, the left hemisphere must put things in order, using words and logic. The right brain contributes the bodily sensations, raw emotions, and personal memories, so we can see the whole picture and communicate our experience. This is the scientific explanation behind why journaling and talking about a difficult even can be so powerful in helping us heal."

As you tell your story, the hard parts become not as powerfully emotionally within your soul. They still affect you, but they lose power over you. Ultimately, isn't that what we want from our stories. To heal from our hurts and rejoice in our remarkable times. As we retell our stories, the hard times diminish, leaving imprints, but not pain. We can celebrate the good time with a greater intensity because we can declare how God has brought us through them.

Allow your story to heal your hurts.

6. Know God is writing your story. Ultimately, this can be your respite. Your comfort. Knowing that your creator is writing your story with purpose and passion. While we do not always understand or enjoy where our lives are going, find comfort in the fact that God does. He knows how your story is going to impact those who are around you if you allow it do to so. The hard stuff seems to have the greatest impact on those that we care living intentionally authentic beside. Seeking to understand your story in light of this, you are "seeking more-more than [your] limited experiences, more than [your] present emotions, more than a grandfatherly abstraction, more than a list of prohibitions and obligations. [You are] seeking His person. You are able to see the Holy Spirit move and guide and direct every aspect of your life." Scott McClellan Tell Me a Story 



Invite people into your story. Allow them to fight alongside of you, pray for you, rejoice greatly with you in ways that are unexplainable. Remember a story teaches us something. It teaches us about who we are... it shows us who we are, revealing our heart and soul. It propels us- taking us toward something because when we share our story, we are sharing a piece of ourselves. Authentic and intentional.

Do you know what makes a great story?

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. "As you tell your story, the hard parts become not as powerfully emotionally within your soul. They still affect you, but they lose power over you." I love that statement! This is such a good post, so many things I am finding true in my own story lately. Sometimes it's hard to share it, to allow people into the hard stuff. I'm trying to let God help me be brave with it, though.

    Excited to read the rest of your series :-)

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    1. Thank you Ashley... glad that you are here. Thank you deeply for reading and for following along.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! I struggle with figuring out where to begin and how much to share. I have found over time that I share too much too quickly most of the time, but that doesn't mean I should pull back all the way. It is something I am working on. :)

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    1. I totally get that sharing too much too fast. As a pastors wife, I am the total opposite. I share just enough over time to not allow people in because the church has hurt me so greatly over my 17 years of full time ministry. HOWEVER, about 4 years ago, my husband and I made a pact to live with authenticity. It has been freeing. Yes, I still guard those precious things, but I try to keep it real. Hugs friend. Oh... I went and bought some cute cards in the Target $1 section for that very purpose. It is so simple and I LOVE to get mail... so I assume other people would love it too. Thank you for following along.

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