Confession: I believe every one has a unique life story.
Recently I have been thinking about the power of your testimony. Certainly in a religious sense, that word is used to reflect how your life story has validated your faith. Even from a non-religious perspective, I think sharing your story has tremendous value. What struggles have you faced and conquered? What failures have you experienced that have taught you a lesson? What random occurrences have shaped your life? These all lead into your story. And any stranger you meet could potentially benefit from your story.
Let me first address my non-religious readers: Your story is important no matter your beliefs. The failures and the triumphs in your life are worth sharing. Share with your family, your friends, your class mates, and anyone who you think would benefit from that shared experience. What poor choices have you made that you could share with someone you see making those same choices? What great choices have you made that you could encourage others to make? Let your story be evident to anyone who wants to learn from it.
To my religious readers: How has your faith interacted with your life’s story? Does it match up? If not, I would suggest you reevaluate your faith. To believe in something and to live out that faith means your story will be intertwined with it. Someone could not ask you to tell them your story without you involving your faith. If you claim any faith, it should be at the center of your story.
To my Christian readers: your life is rooted in Jesus, the anointed one of God the Creator of the universe. When you tell your story, the redemptive work of Jesus has to be at play. The grace you received along the way transforms your story. Every heartbreak, every storm you have weathered, every tragedy takes new meaning when Jesus is Lord. Your story is filled with sin and with forgiveness, hatred and love, despair and victory. And while that theme is involved in every story, your personal stories of those themes is a testimony to the God you worship.
My heart is in love with Jesus, but my worldly self has called that heart away towards sin. My spirit longs to serve God in all I do, but my flesh refuses to cooperate and pride, lust, hate, greed, and gossip war against me. I love my fiance, but my words do not always reflect that. I love my parents, but my disrespect at times seem to say otherwise. I love my friends, but my gossip will make you think that untrue. I love the church, but my apathy towards her does not always reflect that. If I did not have the grace of Jesus, I do not know what my story would end up looking like.
But praise be to God who gave us his son who died to provide hope for the world. No matter what sin encompasses your story, Jesus has the power to take it and bury it in the grave that he left empty. I recognize that my story is a story of a young man who wanted to be famous and rich and loved by all, but instead I fell in love with Jesus who makes me famous before the Father and rich in blessings and loved by the saints. My 14 year old dreams were turned upside down as God took hold of my life. And it was not an easy process, and I have disobeyed God more times than I could count, but He leads me ever onward, and he blesses me more richly than I deserve. I have a loving family, a beautiful, intelligent, and loving soon-to-be wife, and it would take me hours upon hours to just list my current blessings. From church to school to work, I am blessed. And the joy I experience I credit back to God. And it is through that story that I want to tell the world about Jesus the Son of God who has redeemed those who put their lives in his death and resurrection.
Our testimonies are the dragons that teach not only those who come after us, but every other person we encounter. Testimonies are incredibly powerful, and I encourage you to spend time meditating on your testimony so that when someone asks you why you live the way you live, or what brought you to this point in life, you can have an answer ready for them.
May your testimony be a dragon that teaches all that encounter it. May you be richly blessed by God throughout your life, and may you be comforted in the knowledge that your story uniquely interacts with the stories of others.