Back To Basics: (Guest post) Tell Your Story

I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Chist Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. – Philippians 3:13 NLT

 

Introducing YOU! (Guest post by Gretchen Robards ) – aka my anchor & arrow soul sistah I met at Refresh Summit 

No matter what has happened in your life, you need to know two major truths. 

You matter. Your story matters.

Every single one of us has a story and it’s up to us to share it with the world.

The question ishow do we do that? How do you share you story in a way that will impact and empower people? I fully believe that each of us can use our stories to spread the hope of Christ and the way in which we tell our stories should echo the redemptive power of Christ in us. Without Him, we would all be dust. It is through Christ that our stories matter, through his blood poured out on the cross that we have value. In thinking about the beauty of the cross, the very best story has already been told. No greater story has happened than that of God sending His Son to die on the cross for us. And with that, we are redeemed. Our lives our redeemed. Our stories are redeemed.

It’s no secret that life is imperfect.

It’s hard, messy, and downright confusing but through the brokenness and the redemption of the cross we are set free to live in Christ. Our messy lives have no hold over us. No matter how ugly or beautiful your story is, you can tell it. Life deserves to be shared but the question is how?

When I think about telling my stories and sharing my life, I am immediately brought to two words: why and how. Lord knows I don’t need to air every piece of dirty laundry but I believe it’s necessary to share our stained piecesI actually really appreciate people who share their struggles because it makes them realit makes them human. We live in a culture caught up in having it together. We glorify a pretty life and value posting it online when in realitywe are all messed up

The beauty lies not in a pretty post but in being vulnerable and honest with one another. We need each other and should lean on each other for strength and wisdom. After all, no one is an expert on anything. The “why” behind telling your story is the heartbeat of your message and the theme of your life. Tell your story to glorify God and bring a change. 

Now the how of storytelling is another ballgame.It may seem scary to share your stories but when you realize that no one has it all figured out, it makes it just a little less terrifying. I’ve spent the better part of the year reflecting on how to be a better storyteller, and I’m by no means even close to being an expert. However, the people at behind Storyline just might be. I attended the Storyline Conference in Chicago last November and man, it blew me away. I sat among some of the best thinkers and storytellers and was so moved at the way God was using these warriors of words.

Writing typewriter

If you want to be a better writer, storyteller, and thinker…consider investing in the conference the resources you’ll get are timeless.

My hat goes off to two men I admire in this space of story telling; Donald Miller & Bob Goff; I want to share some pieces of wisdom that I gathered from the conference and other readings I’ve done this year.

If you want to tell a better story, here are some things to consider. 

1. There is freedom in vulnerability. After looking at some of my favorite writers and storytellers, I started to notice a common theme. It was vulnerability. I felt connected to writers because of their raw, authentic words. They didn’t sugar-coat things but instead were real. Being vulnerable is SCARY. It’s hard and weird and uncomfortable because you are putting yourself out there. But that’s how you connect. When you write from the heart, sharing raw moments, you create an experience that’s relatable to your reader. You open the door of connection and begin to invite people into your life. Think about your favorite book or story, you probably love it because it connected to your life in some way and left an impact. Good storytellers allow themselves to be vulnerable.
2. Know your value. There’s been billions of lives lived and a trillion stories already told. But yours matters too. Know your value. Have confidence that you are important to the work God is doing on this earth and He can use your story if you let Him. Your story has no greater or lesser significance than someone else. We are all valued vessels for the kingdom. 
3. Seek the truth. Root your messages in truth. The best kind of stories involve honest and authenticity. It’s easy to want to embellish or issue tales of grandeur but details will only get you so far. The heart behind your stories should be rooted in truth and aim to flatter the greater good. An honest story is evidence of the way God is working. If we excessively exaggerate we are taking away from his authorship.
4. Have a purpose. This is the most important part of story telling. Your story should serve a purpose and mean something. Of course I could tell you a story about every year in elementary school but what is the point of that? You’d get really bored by second grade. Knowing the purpose behind your story will help you effectively connect to your audience and be able to deliver your story in a powerful way. If you recognize your purpose behind telling your story you can also figure out the appropriate way to tell it. 

I could talk all day about talking, er storytelling 

Storytelling is simple but so incredibly complex at the same time.

It’s more than about saying words.

It’s about knowing your audience, recognizing your purpose, and telling your truth in a way that connects with people.

But…the best way to figure it out is to do it. 

Start by writing things down. Have good stories ready. Create opportunities to share your stories.

Most importantly, don’t let fear determine your value.

You matter. 

Your story matters.

About Gretchn Robards 

Hi there! I’m Gretchen! I’m a photographer and currently have my roots planted in central Indiana. There’s so much goodness in this life and I love exploring it all. A lot of my time is spent seeking Jesus, dreaming up adventures, drinking coffee (or tea!), having dance parties, laughing, and finding new ways to eat healthy and get moving. I love sharing stories through photography and writing and am excited to share my beauty and fashion tips in this corner of the internet. 

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