My mom loves to tell the story of my first song. When I was a baby, she would sit and sing “This Little Light of Mine” and teach me to hold my finger up as my little candle. One day, she was telling a friend about how much I loved that song and she looked over to see me holding up my little light while playing blocks with my other hand. I wanted my light to shine.
Just like the song, we need to shine our lights. We cannot hide what He has done. We need to be ready to share.
Your story, the tale God has woven in your life, it is not your own. It has been given to you. And like all of God’s gifts, it is ours to steward, not to hoard.
In the Parable of the Talents, we read about how servants used the talents, or money, they were given by their master. Some invested their talents and grew what they were entrusted with. When the master returned, they were rewarded for their faithfulness. But there was one servant who, out of fear, buried the talent he had been given, to make sure it wasn’t taken away. When the master returned, he became angry at the servant’s poor stewardship. He took away his talent, and gave it to one of the faithful.
When I read this parable, I see my story.
Being quiet has never been a challenge for me but being vulnerable has been. I’ve hidden behind good deeds and a smile, giving only enough “pain” to give off the impression of authenticity. This lifestyle did not build the type of true community I am called to as a believer. How could anyone speak true encouragement into my life if I didn’t tell them my struggles? I bit my tongue in fear of reproach but by doing so, I held back the encouragement my life experience had to offer.
God often meets us in the broken, messy places of our lives. The places that are in raw and painful are the places He heals. To share God’s work, we need to let others into that space.
Our stories are precious. They are not our own, they are gifts. God has entrusted you with a specific part of the tale He is weaving for all mankind. He is doing a good work in your life. You can use this story and share this story for the glory of God and the growth of the Kingdom. It is one of the talents you have been given.
I look back on the heroes of the faith. All throughout the Bible, there are stories of people pouring out their lives and retelling the good, the bad, and the ugly, all to show God’s goodness. Sometimes that is God’s grace and faithfulness despite your failures. Other times, that is God working mightily on your behalf or through your talents. It may simply be pouring out your broken heart but yet, praising God and trusting Him to work as the psalmists did many times.
Stories are vulnerable and they often expose the hurting parts of our life. While we should not cast our pearls before swine, keeping our stories close to our chest does not do justice to the work of God in our life. We need to share, because when we share, we give others a safe space to do the same. As we come forward and support each other, we build deeper relationships and God is glorified.
Sharing can start in simple conversations. When someone asks how you are, answer honestly. Maybe you need prayer? You don’t need to take out a billboard but you could open up to your small group how tell them how your life really is. Invite a friend for coffee, share what is happening and ask about their life. Start somewhere. Vulnerability doesn’t happen accidentally, you must be intentional.
Whatever your story is, share it. Don’t bury your talent. Use it for the Kingdom. Encourage others. Share about God’s faithfulness. Show them how God can heal your hurt, sustain you in pain, and grow glory out of a mess. There will be times when sharing your story hurts, Kingdom work can often be messy and there are always risks. But when stepping out in faith, you can always trust that God will cover your steps in grace and provide a path.