I received the email on April 16th. I had applied at the request of a friend and because it felt hypocritical not too, to be honest.
We call it God Stories. Once a semester, five or six students will stand before their peers and tell a piece of their story. They do it to point to Jesus and to give God the glory. There is always a theme and for Spring 2014, we would be looking at renewal.
I had been before and listened to a few other students open up vulnerable and risk the battered, broken, mended parts of themselves. I had teared up and left feeling inspired to keep on telling my own story.
Story is the word that has become a part of my being. I fall asleep thinking about stories, dream about them, and wake up to the next page. It’s the word that creeps into every day conversations so often that my best friends laugh or roll their eyes or make faces. They may think I don’t notice, but the truth is I just ignore it because I couldn’t stop it if I tried.
I believe in the power of story and I believe we each have one, a story to be told.
So when I read those words on April 16th, that email saying that yes, I had been chosen to stand in front of however many showed up, you might think I smiled really big and felt excited.
But you would be wrong.
I believe in stories and the power they hold. I am as certain as can be that you have a story and I have a story and we’ve each got to get to telling.
But give me a microphone and a stage and a couple dozen people staring back as I speak and all that bravery curls up inside. My hands were clammy and my voice was shaking. But I stood up, walked forward, took the microphone and began to speak.
Not because I think my story is special.
Not because I’ve done anything amazing.
Not because my words will change lives.
But because of Who He is in me, what He has done, and the words He has given me to share. My story – my history – His Story.
One best friend prayed over me before I entered the room, another introduced me, and one filmed it.
There wasn’t a single moment I was alone, but not a single one of them could tell the story.
You may not be given a microphone and you may never look out from a stage at faces of friends and strangers alike, but every day you show up to life you can show up ready to tell your story, to hold it in your hands like an offering ready to be poured out.
I don’t know who was in that room. There are tens of people who know some of the most intimate details of my story, but I don’t even know their names. I used to call that terrifying – and sometimes I still do – but I choose again and again to call it trust.
Trust the One who wrote the pages and is authoring your life into a best seller.