Storytelling is a great way for others to see the life of Jesus at work in you.
Have you considered how important it is to tell your story? It is a testimony of the grace given to you because of the life you have in Jesus.
None of us become perfect the moment we find Jesus. After meeting him, we still live with certain thoughts and behaviors that we’d like to see changed. Throughout our lives, Jesus is continuously changing the parts of us that are most unlike himself. This means in following Jesus you get to share your story free from shame because you know God loves you and yet his work in you has not been completed.
Throughout our lives, Jesus is continuously changing the parts of us that are most unlike himself. This means in following Jesus you get to share your story free from shame because you know God loves you and yet his work in you has not been completed.
You can be authentically who you are, brokenness and all. You can cast a vision of the person you one day hope to be. All this is because Jesus has placed you on display for his grace and for others to witness.
This is different than trying to convince others of the worth of a life with Jesus. It is showing them what a life with him actually looks like. Telling your story is like a signpost of the work Jesus is doing in you. It inevitably draws others in and leads to curiosity.
I think the best way to tell your story is by offering a picture of your current reality and sharing your preferred future of the kind of person you believe Jesus has asked you to be.
Sharing where I’m at has inevitably led me to share Jesus with others. Once I shared my story with someone at our local gym. I mentioned simply why I started going to the gym. I had no intention of getting into shape, but rather I wanted to grow in my emotional health.
I told him that I started working out in order to more closely connect with Jesus. I even told them how emotionally removed I was at home and in my workplace and how this impacted my confidence. I mentioned how I envisioned working out would help me to gain a level of confidence that would allow me to be more present and engaged.
It wasn’t too long after that initial conversation that he started to confide in me about some of his own struggles in his home life and his spirituality. He became even more curious about the life I have in Jesus and started showing up to church and was eventually baptized. Today we still get together to share our stories with one another and his friendship has been one of the most endearing of my life.
Here’s a formula I’ve used and I hope it’ll help give you an edge in telling your own story.
Share Your Current Reality
First, consider your current reality. Yes, right now. Look at your life.
Is it perfect? Do you notice any areas that could be different? Do you want to be a better spouse or parent or coworker? Are there some ways you’d like to change how you follow Jesus?
Acknowledge what’s not working in your life and consider why it isn’t working the way you’d like. For instance, you might begin to notice your emotions. Scan over them for a moment and decide if there are negative emotions that may be the reason why life seems to not to be working the way it should.
You can also try to examine your behavior and how you’re showing up in front of others. Are you showing up as cold, passive, distant, aloof, sarcastic, cynical, or aggressive? What behaviors in your life least exemplify the person of Jesus?
Consider the Impact
Identifying negative emotions or behaviors is one part. Next, consider the impact this negativity has on your life. What impact does a negative emotion or behavior have on your spouse, kids, or co-workers? If you don’t know, try asking the people in your life how they experience you.
Then, examine the impact these negative emotions or behaviors have on you. For example, how do you feel after you’ve shown up angry? Are you angrier or maybe saddened because you don’t know how to be otherwise?
The goal here is to gain clarity and add details that describe more of how you show up in your current reality.
Envision a Preferred Future
Next, dream of a preferred future. Try to imagine what could be possible. What kind of person do you want to be?
If you say that you want to be a certain way, then describe what this means for you. Share what your preferred future might look like for someone of your personality.
Suppose you continued to engage in spiritual disciplines consistently over time, what would this help you to look like? Would you be kinder or more generous?
Share with Passion
Like all formulas, these steps will only go so far. If I share with dullness, then you can bet the people around me will not be moved, inspired, or touched by my vision of a preferred future.
I encourage you to speak passionately about the kind of person you want to be. Speak with excitement about being more kind, generous, or loving.
Engaging both your current reality and your preferred future will take time and practice, but the results will give you a sense of freedom that you can share more and more of who you are in Jesus.
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Chris Knudsen serves as the Lead Coordinator for Faithwalking in the Vineyard, a spiritual formation process that helps participants to experience ongoing transformation and develop effective practices for missional living. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, and a graduate of The Ohio State University, Chris moved to Colorado in 2005 with his wife Becca to pursue education and ministry. Prior to moving to Colorado, he was involved in the Grove City Vineyard and served as a Young Life Leader for five years in Columbus, Ohio. Chris and his wife Becca, whom he met in middle school, were married in 2004. They have two children, Eloise and Soren.