Thursday, April 17, 2014

Your Story Matters… or Does It?

If I could, I would've titled this "Your  Only His Story Matters". This post has been brewing in my heart lately and I've talked to other women about it- bloggers and non bloggers. I've looked to scripture for the answer. And I've prayed about it. I keep thinking about the "Your Story Matters" thing that has been going around the blogging world since… well, since I started blogging.  It is usually specifically directed at Christian bloggers; those of us using our influence to spread the gospel and truth. Which, side note.. I totally believe in (obviously) But there's this new trend I've been seeing online lately. Its the combination of the selfie and the your story matters and the gospel...and honestly it makes me feel a little weird. 

It is the cry of our generation, isn't it? YOUR STORY MATTERS! At any given time I can scroll through my newsfeed on any platform and see some "selfie" or a "halfie" or random "cozy little corner" us and our buzzwords, huh? of a woman's house with some inspirational post below it, written entirely in christianese, that has absolutely nothing to do with the picture and honestly does nothing to further the kingdom. But we all do it and we all like and retweet them because YOUR STORY MATTERS. And I sit here and truthfully I participate and all I can think is NO.

Does your story really matter?  No. It doesn't. 
Halfies can get real awkward, real quick
Now, I know God knows us intimately as individuals. He loves us for sure. And He wants us to be in community with one another but does our story really matter? I think no. Only HIS story matters. When we post these pictures or write out our story or "inspire" other women are we really glorifying the Lord or are we glorifying ourselves.. in selfies with scripture quotes that are nothing more than idolized images of our self and have little to do with the actual gospel? 


We are all putting so much emphasis on our part in His story when in reality, He doesn't need us for His story at all.  You are valuable to Him and you are known to him, but you being known to the world isn't. Let's look at the absolute hands down most important person in the world: Jesus. Fully God and fully man. God's only son with whom He was well pleased. The one who bore the sins of the world on the cross and died for us so that we may have eternal life. The sacrificial lamb. Did HIS story matter? Only as it related to the Father and his kingdom work it felt a little heretical to just say NO there.. but, no, his story didn't matter. How do I know this? Because we don't know Jesus' story. We read his birth, then jump to one day in his life at age 12, then nothing until he is baptized at age 30.

If we don't hear all the details of Jesus' story, who am I to think that all the details of my story matter?

Ouch, right? I know. Stay with me here. We want to be an influence for God, right? I know I do. But what we want is for the whole of our lives to inspire others for HIS glory. "So that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" Matthew 5:16  So what do we do? Actually point to Him, not point to ourselves pointing to Him.



This weekend I was listening to my friend Ali's husband preach and I was furiously taking notes so I'm not sure how much of this next part is what I was thinking or what he was saying Nicolai please still be my friend if I straight up plagiarize you. He was talking about John the baptist who came here to prepare the way for Christ. We were in John 3:25-30 where John's disciples are seeing people leaving and they really don't want to lose the opportunity to influence for The Lord but John isn't bothered because John isn't Christ. He uses gospel mathematics: in order for Jesus to increase my being known must decrease. He must be made prominent and I must disappear. The verse at the end about the friend of the bridegroom? Well.. google it because its kinda inappropriate but basically the friend of the bridegroom is like the best man. And everything that happens before the wedding and after as this verse is discussing has nothing to do with the friend of the bridegroom. But it is his actual joy to stand unknown for the good of the bridegroom. If nobody remembers the bridegrooms name, that's a problem. If no one remembers the friends name... Eh.. it doesn't matter. 

And so it is with us and Jesus. If no one remembers you but they remember Jesus, you can count it all as joy. 

Can you use parts of your story to glorify the Lord? Obviously. Can you reach out via your voice online or your actual voice and use parts of your story to tell people the good news?  Of course. Does God know and love you and see fully your whole story? Truly. But does your story matter? Nope.  It's like what we say in The Influence Network all the time- there are no rockstars among us. The sweat may be ours but the Glory is all His.  Maybe God is using pieces of your story for His glory, but I assure you His story is all that matters. 

55 comments:

  1. Amen and so good. The pastor at a church we used to attend reminded us all the time that God invites us to get in on His work, but if we don't say yes, He can always use someone else. It's not about us AT ALL. It's always about Him and what He is doing. We are just so blessed to be called and invited. What an honor, because seriously, who am I??

    And selfies in general, make me a little uncomfortable. But seriously girl, you nailed it with this one. Thank you for speaking up and typing it and posting. I pray the Holy Spirit uses your words to convict those of us who need it (I'm definitely one of them!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen and so good. The pastor at a church we used to attend reminded us all the time that God invites us to get in on His work, but if we don't say yes, He can always use someone else. It's not about us AT ALL. It's always about Him and what He is doing. We are just so blessed to be called and invited. What an honor, because seriously, who am I??

    And selfies in general, make me a little uncomfortable. But seriously girl, you nailed it with this one. Thank you for speaking up and typing it and posting. I pray the Holy Spirit uses your words to convict those of us who need it (I'm definitely one of them!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. yes yes yes. I've come close to posting inspirational selfies before, but ended up deleting them -- they just don't sit right with me. even if the heart of the person posting it is completely Jesus-focused, it still comes off the teensiest bit self-serving or boastful to me. maybe that's something in my own heart? but I just can't bring myself to do it. Talking about what I'm learning, where Jesus is leading me or transforming me? different story. selfies really aren't my thing in general, but I've actually made fun of friends [to their faces, in a loving-your-instagram-feed-is-full-of-your-feet way] who post majority inspirational selfies. [that's probably also something in my heart. ahem.]

    ReplyDelete
  4. amen & amen. This is so good...something I really struggle with and you clearly brought it back to what it's legitimately all about. I think as moms, we struggle with finding our identity, so we put it out there on IG or in our blogs because it's safe. But you're right...then we're making it about us, and not about Him. This puts it all into perspective! Thanks for sharing from your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  5. YES! YES! I'm always trying to think "more of Him, less of me" but do I actually live like that via social media/real life? good word, friend!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for posting this. We all struggle in today's world to be less of us and more of Him. It is especially hard on social media where everyone wants to post about what they have, what they've been blessed with. So many times (and I am just as guilty as everyone else) we post a picture or a post saying we are grateful for what we have, but we fail to thank the heavenly Father, without whom we would have nothing. Instead of using that post as an opportunity to further the kingdom, we make it about us. In a world obsessed with selfies, imagine if we took a week or a month and all Chrisitan users of social media posted nothing but images and words glorifying our King. How many lives we could reach.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree. Mostly at least :). I believe that If we're living our lives for God, then telling "our story" matters. Because it shows people what God can do with a messed up person (Since we're all messed up). Is "our story" most important? HECK NO, but it does matter. God wrote our story. He made it the way that it is for a reason. It's important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also kind of agree with you. It is cool to hear what God does with messed up people. But I think to share all the details of how messed up you are even can distract from what God is actually doing now. With social media we can all be such creepers (myself being the biggest offender) we can focus on the interesting parts of a story and not necessarily the godliest parts.

      Delete
    2. I used to work with a youth pastor that would remind us to not give satan too much credit. As in, we don't need to share all the junk of how bad we were. That just glorifies the enemy. We should focus on what God did.

      Delete
  8. I agree. Mostly at least :). I believe that If we're living our lives for God, then telling "our story" matters. Because it shows people what God can do with a messed up person (Since we're all messed up). Is "our story" most important? HECK NO, but it does matter. God wrote our story. He made it the way that it is for a reason. It's important.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree that our story isn't what ultimately matters. Definitely! But I also kinda don't have a problem with the "Christian selfie" situation. Because since we are made in the image of the Creator, we all have creativity in us that we should use and celebrate! So I think if we have used our creativity to make a little corner of our home inspirational and pretty, or put together a fun outfit on that day, that posting it with the Bible verse we are reading isn't a bad thing. Celebrating what's in us isn't necessarily pointing to us pointing to Christ...if that makes sense? I think just praising God and making sure people know that our joy and creativity come from him and are for him DO point to him, as long as it isnt excessive like "look at me" all the time. So I guess I kinda agree and kinda don't :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely agree that God makes us creative and that that stuff is awesome to share. I think it is more the forced side of it. When I see the 48th "cozy corner" that weekend it starts to feel more about conformity and doing the cool thing and less about what the Lord is doing. Not even that every post needs to be so "holy" either. Just more of the "see me? do you see me pointing to Him?" is the thing i struggle with.

      Delete
  10. I agree that our story isn't what ultimately matters. Definitely! But I also kinda don't have a problem with the "Christian selfie" situation. Because since we are made in the image of the Creator, we all have creativity in us that we should use and celebrate! So I think if we have used our creativity to make a little corner of our home inspirational and pretty, or put together a fun outfit on that day, that posting it with the Bible verse we are reading isn't a bad thing. Celebrating what's in us isn't necessarily pointing to us pointing to Christ...if that makes sense? I think just praising God and making sure people know that our joy and creativity come from him and are for him DO point to him, as long as it isnt excessive like "look at me" all the time. So I guess I kinda agree and kinda don't :).

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ashley, THIS. It's like you took what the Lord has places on my heart (I actually wrote about being disposable today) and made it even more tangible in an every day way. My eyes jumped to the extreme and you brought me back to show me the little ways I'm not being disposable as well. Good good stuff. And I've been studying that part of John (with John the Baptist and his disciples being all, "wait! Jesus is doing what we're doing!" and John being like, "duh. He's Christ. That's the point.") and just yeah, God's obviously speaking. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with the heart behind what I hear you saying, Ashley. It's all about Jesus - He is the star of this show and we're the extras, the stage hands. We're here to point people to Him. But how do we tell His story if no one is connecting with us first and wants to hear what we have to say? How do we point to Him if no one is looking at us, building trust w/us, having a relationship with us? Jesus has chosen to partner with us to bring His kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. By His design, our story is woven into His story. But what I think I hear you saying is that what God is teaching you about himself is convicting you to make choices about how you live, and I love that. But the way He convicts you is going to be different than the way He convicts me. Perhaps you feel like you should never post a selfie again (but I would miss seeing your pretty face in my feed!), and maybe I will continue to post the occasional selfie with some text about what Jesus is teaching me. And that's okay too. I read this quote by Bill Johnson today and I think it really speaks to this conversation: "If I mention I'm a servant of God, some will say they aren't servants, they're friends. If I say I'm a friend of God, some will say they're not friends, they're sons. If I say I'm a son of God, some will say they are not sons, they are part of the bride of Christ. If I say I'm a part of the bride of Christ, some will say they are not, they are a part of the body of Christ on earth. Each point can be successfully argued from scripture. The error is not theological. It is in the heart - it's the inability to recognize and value the lesson another is learning in Christ. The insecure often find their security in having an opinion that differs from others." So with that being said, I really value the lesson you are learning in Christ. Thank you for sharing it so boldly and with such conviction. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see what you're saying Heather, but I kind of disagree. I would say the idea of "how can people hear about Him if they don't connect with me first? How do i point people to Him if no one is looking at me?" is kind of what I'm talking about. Does the Lord use your story? YES! Does He put you in a position to lead other women? YES! But that has NOTHING to do with the kingdom YOU are building. It is the platform HE has given you.

      I would firmly disagree that Jesus has chosen to partner with us. We are in no way his partner! I know you don't believe we are in any way on an equal level as Jesus, so why would we think we would be his partner? Thats actually EXACTLY what the verse in john is about. He is not saying "look at what me and jesus are doing! Lets do this together! We are partners" He is saying "I have to become nothing for him to become everything".

      I do not think there are things wrong with selfies in general. And there is nothing wrong with what God is convicting and doing in each person. Obvi i totally agree with you on this! My main issue is people saying "Look at ME and everything the Lord is doing with MY help!" instead of "look at all the things the lord has done" ya know?

      Love your guts Heather!

      Delete
    2. I see what you're saying Heather, but I kind of disagree. I would say the idea of "how can people hear about Him if they don't connect with me first? How do i point people to Him if no one is looking at me?" is kind of what I'm talking about. Does the Lord use your story? YES! Does He put you in a position to lead other women? YES! But that has NOTHING to do with the kingdom YOU are building. It is the platform HE has given you.

      I would firmly disagree that Jesus has chosen to partner with us. We are in no way his partner! I know you don't believe we are in any way on an equal level as Jesus, so why would we think we would be his partner? Thats actually EXACTLY what the verse in john is about. He is not saying "look at what me and jesus are doing! Lets do this together! We are partners" He is saying "I have to become nothing for him to become everything".

      I do not think there are things wrong with selfies in general. And there is nothing wrong with what God is convicting and doing in each person. Obvi i totally agree with you on this! My main issue is people saying "Look at ME and everything the Lord is doing with MY help!" instead of "look at all the things the lord has done" ya know?

      Love your guts Heather!

      Delete
    3. I forsure am not saying that God needs "our help" to do His work - but the amazing thing is that He has chosen to work with us. We are not slaves or servents but sons and daughters - even brothers and sisters with Christ! It sounds crazy - but it's true (Galatians 4:7). I'm all for giving God ALL the glory - all of it. And I think you and I are totally on the same page on the fact that God gives us position and platform to build His kingdom not our own. But how do we get that position and platform? Often by telling our story. Who are the women, online and offline that you connect with most? The ones that tell their story. When our hearts are for God I think telling our story always points to Him. When are hearts are set on getting glory for ourselves, that same story loses some of it's eternal power. In John 14:12 Jesus Himself says that we will do even greater things than Jesus did while he walked the earth - not becuase of how awesome we are - but because of the power of His Spirit in us. This is what I mean when I say we can partner with Jesus. And I also love your guts. A lot.

      Delete
    4. I forsure am not saying that God needs "our help" to do His work - but the amazing thing is that He has chosen to work with us. We are not slaves or servents but sons and daughters - even brothers and sisters with Christ! It sounds crazy - but it's true (Galatians 4:7). I'm all for giving God ALL the glory - all of it. And I think you and I are totally on the same page on the fact that God gives us position and platform to build His kingdom not our own. But how do we get that position and platform? Often by telling our story. Who are the women, online and offline that you connect with most? The ones that tell their story. When our hearts are for God I think telling our story always points to Him. When are hearts are set on getting glory for ourselves, that same story loses some of it's eternal power. In John 14:12 Jesus Himself says that we will do even greater things than Jesus did while he walked the earth - not becuase of how awesome we are - but because of the power of His Spirit in us. This is what I mean when I say we can partner with Jesus. And I also love your guts. A lot.

      Delete
    5. "When are hearts are set on getting glory for ourselves, that same story loses some of it's eternal power."


      word. and that's all on us, isn't it? that's the weight of telling fluffy things with a selfie. we've wasted room for a meaningful story that really points to jesus.

      Delete
    6. "When are hearts are set on getting glory for ourselves, that same story loses some of it's eternal power."


      word. and that's all on us, isn't it? that's the weight of telling fluffy things with a selfie. we've wasted room for a meaningful story that really points to jesus.

      Delete
    7. heather, your response made me think -- if our stories didn't matter, why are we given spiritual gifts? spiritual gifts are not at all designed for our gain (although they can be used for selfish reasons, but that's sin for ya) - they are for the Kingdom. only His story matters - and we are graciously invited to have a role in advancing his story. our stories matter because they point to a greater story. If it ends with us - we've wasted it. But if we point to Christ, we are making our stories matter and using them well.

      Delete
  13. Okay. I so just read your blog post and it made me get angsty, and I didn't have any desire to write a comment that sounded anything other than gracious.

    I think the core of what you said, that the Gospel is the story that matters - that's true. It's so true that I wish I could bonk everybody on the head with it. It's all we need, the blood of Jesus. All we need.

    And I think that when we think that our story is super important, that it's necessary to the Gospel story, then we're getting into icky heart areas.

    But, as I read it, I felt like it made me question the things that I post on instagram. I often post things unrelated to scripture but share scripture beneath it. It's actually something I've prayed about, and I use hashtags intentionally, so that if somebody happens to click on a hashtag I've used, quite possibly they'll read the Gospel for the first time. I've never liked hashtags, but I'm using them now, because I felt really compelled to do so.

    And story. Again, the heart of what you said, and I think what you were trying to emphasize (His story is the one that matters), it's true. But what do I do with the fact that I feel so compelled to tell my story. That lately I feel like God has been asking me to lay down my story before Him, to start sharing the parts I haven't.

    I guess this is less angsty, and more, what's your thoughts on my thoughts? Are you anti scripture on instagram? I feel like it has to get back to our hearts. Why are we sharing it? For the glory of the Kingdom, or for the glory of double taps? I have to constantly check my heart on all social media - who is it for? Is it pointing to the One I love.

    Anyway. Lots of words and thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Lately I feel like God has been asking me to lay down my story before Him, to start sharing the parts I haven't."

      Yes. Love this, nadine. ((poodle emoji))

      and I agree, (constantly) checking our hearts on social media is so healthy and so good. we can't check other people's hearts for them - so I'm choosing to assume the best and let God work in the dirt.

      Delete
  14. Okay. I so just read your blog post and it made me get angsty, and I didn't have any desire to write a comment that sounded anything other than gracious.

    I think the core of what you said, that the Gospel is the story that matters - that's true. It's so true that I wish I could bonk everybody on the head with it. It's all we need, the blood of Jesus. All we need.

    And I think that when we think that our story is super important, that it's necessary to the Gospel story, then we're getting into icky heart areas.

    But, as I read it, I felt like it made me question the things that I post on instagram. I often post things unrelated to scripture but share scripture beneath it. It's actually something I've prayed about, and I use hashtags intentionally, so that if somebody happens to click on a hashtag I've used, quite possibly they'll read the Gospel for the first time. I've never liked hashtags, but I'm using them now, because I felt really compelled to do so.

    And story. Again, the heart of what you said, and I think what you were trying to emphasize (His story is the one that matters), it's true. But what do I do with the fact that I feel so compelled to tell my story. That lately I feel like God has been asking me to lay down my story before Him, to start sharing the parts I haven't.

    I guess this is less angsty, and more, what's your thoughts on my thoughts? Are you anti scripture on instagram? I feel like it has to get back to our hearts. Why are we sharing it? For the glory of the Kingdom, or for the glory of double taps? I have to constantly check my heart on all social media - who is it for? Is it pointing to the One I love.

    Anyway. Lots of words and thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Lately I feel like God has been asking me to lay down my story before Him, to start sharing the parts I haven't."

      Yes. Love this, nadine. ((poodle emoji))

      and I agree, (constantly) checking our hearts on social media is so healthy and so good. we can't check other people's hearts for them - so I'm choosing to assume the best and let God work in the dirt.

      Delete
  15. THANK YOU! I am obviously not someone that talks about my faith a lot, but there are some people that do. That's great. I do support people passing on Jesus' message. But like you said, a selfie or pictures of flowers with a scripture line attached is not exactly getting the word out there. The ONLY intention there is to bring attention to yourself. Which again is fine, but don't pretend you're spreading The Word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if sharing truth on social media is ONLY poor intentioned, how are we supposed to share? I think I've been pointed to Christ more on social media than I have been in a lot of real life conversations. The Lord is lord of the internet. Our hearts are sinful and we have to seek Him always, but saying that any type of post is only intentioned poorly - that seems like a too strong of a statement.

      Delete
    2. I don't think sharing on social media is only poor intentioned. But there is a big difference between actually sharing things because of the Lord "LOOK at what God has done in this situation! Look at this beautiful creation of His!" or saying "Look at me! See how religious I am? See how much I know about God's word?" The first is sharing His story and the second makes me feel like a pharisee

      Delete
    3. You feeling like a pharisee isn't anyone's else's fault in this situation. I totally know where you're coming from but I am a cynic a LOT of the time and still don't ever read someone's truth filled selfie IG and think, "they are totally boasting about how much they know about God's word." So I guess I'm confused at the heart of this post again - is it a "I'm guilty of this and I choose not to do it anymore" or a "everyone in my feed does this and enough is enough" type thing?

      Delete
    4. I disagree MommyMandy Musings. "the only intention?" How is that our place to decide? I literally JUST posted a photo of tulips with a quote from spurgeon about our resurrected King. I can certainly assure you nothing in it was intended to bring attention to myself. It was a "wow. that is so true. only hope in our King is true joy and since a zoomed in dark shot of my book isn't pretty, I'm going to take a photo of these gorgeous tulips on my table and put the quote below. I hope someone else feels this as deeply as I did today" train of thought.

      Delete
    5. Kim- I'd say its not even just the selfie, although I mention this. Its the boasting in self and the saying look at me and what I am doing for Jesus- MY story is what matters. I have been guilty of this and so are many in my feeds. I don't think its bad to post a selfie. I don't think its bad to post scripture. I don't think its bad to post something inspiring. I think its (not bad but for consistency's sake) bad to post things that are glorifying our selves and pretend like it is being posted to glorify Him. There are times when a inspirational post (like your tulip post) is actually inspirational. And there are times when a selfie (like your ice cream selfie) are just selfies. But if you had posted the same post you posted under the tulip on the picture of you with ice cream-- thats the kind of example I'm talking about.

      Delete
  16. THANK YOU! I am obviously not someone that talks about my faith a lot, but there are some people that do. That's great. I do support people passing on Jesus' message. But like you said, a selfie or pictures of flowers with a scripture line attached is not exactly getting the word out there. The ONLY intention there is to bring attention to yourself. Which again is fine, but don't pretend you're spreading The Word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You feeling like a pharisee isn't anyone's else's fault in this situation. I totally know where you're coming from but I am a cynic a LOT of the time and still don't ever read someone's truth filled selfie IG and think, "they are totally boasting about how much they know about God's word." So I guess I'm confused at the heart of this post again - is it a "I'm guilty of this and I choose not to do it anymore" or a "everyone in my feed does this and enough is enough" type thing?

      Delete
    2. I disagree MommyMandy Musings. "the only intention?" How is that our place to decide? I literally JUST posted a photo of tulips with a quote from spurgeon about our resurrected King. I can certainly assure you nothing in it was intended to bring attention to myself. It was a "wow. that is so true. only hope in our King is true joy and since a zoomed in dark shot of my book isn't pretty, I'm going to take a photo of these gorgeous tulips on my table and put the quote below. I hope someone else feels this as deeply as I did today" train of thought.

      Delete
    3. Kim- I'd say its not even just the selfie, although I mention this. Its the boasting in self and the saying look at me and what I am doing for Jesus- MY story is what matters. I have been guilty of this and so are many in my feeds. I don't think its bad to post a selfie. I don't think its bad to post scripture. I don't think its bad to post something inspiring. I think its (not bad but for consistency's sake) bad to post things that are glorifying our selves and pretend like it is being posted to glorify Him. There are times when a inspirational post (like your tulip post) is actually inspirational. And there are times when a selfie (like your ice cream selfie) are just selfies. But if you had posted the same post you posted under the tulip on the picture of you with ice cream-- thats the kind of example I'm talking about.

      Delete
  17. I think I get what you're saying-- you want us to think to consider our heart before the Lord. Why are we posting things-- why are we sharing things? Do these things point to God? Yes-- we should, as Christians, consider these things before we share.

    But... I think it's hard for me to read the line "Your story doesn't matter" because I believe, and have always believed, that our God is relational. The Christ that calls to me, whispers and says: "Your story does matter. I have created your life, I have formed you and the way that you are living matters. Your struggles matter, your personal triumphs and your failures matter so much because they speak to others about Me."

    When I read the Bible, I read stories. I see Christ sharing stories-- not always lists of things to do, but parables-- stories. I read Esther and see her story and see how her story prepared her, "for such a time as this." I see Christ bending down to the woman in the street, who bled, and listening to her story. Jesus to me, at least, loves stories.

    I see my story as one that can prepare others for their time. I relate to others' stories-- I want, desperately, to hear their stories because that is how God speaks to me.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding your point completely. I understand that before we share, we need to be prayerful, but I believe so much that stories matter.

    Pray through your story-- pray that He is glorified -- but I hope that people don't stop sharing. Even if it's a selfie about their hard day at work. Those things, I believe, can be a way to reach others relationally for Christ.

    I don't know if any of this made sense. Thanks for getting my heart and mind working.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful words Erika. I'm church recently they shared about how Jesus stopped to hear the woman's (who had been bleeding) entire story, and how that would have taken time. He cares for every detail of our life.

      Delete
    2. I would agree that the bible is full of stories. But EVERY story points to Jesus. We do not hear every person's full story, only the parts of the story that are pointing toward Jesus. This includes the story of the bleeding woman. As I said, the lord fully knows our stories and fully loves us. But he DOES NOT command us to tell our story. He commands us to tell HIS story. To let God's light shine from us. To be bold in it. To tell of the things he's done. But thats only what matters. The parts of our stories that point to him.

      Delete
  18. I think I get what you're saying-- you want us to think to consider our heart before the Lord. Why are we posting things-- why are we sharing things? Do these things point to God? Yes-- we should, as Christians, consider these things before we share.

    But... I think it's hard for me to read the line "Your story doesn't matter" because I believe, and have always believed, that our God is relational. The Christ that calls to me, whispers and says: "Your story does matter. I have created your life, I have formed you and the way that you are living matters. Your struggles matter, your personal triumphs and your failures matter so much because they speak to others about Me."

    When I read the Bible, I read stories. I see Christ sharing stories-- not always lists of things to do, but parables-- stories. I read Esther and see her story and see how her story prepared her, "for such a time as this." I see Christ bending down to the woman in the street, who bled, and listening to her story. Jesus to me, at least, loves stories.

    I see my story as one that can prepare others for their time. I relate to others' stories-- I want, desperately, to hear their stories because that is how God speaks to me.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding your point completely. I understand that before we share, we need to be prayerful, but I believe so much that stories matter.

    Pray through your story-- pray that He is glorified -- but I hope that people don't stop sharing. Even if it's a selfie about their hard day at work. Those things, I believe, can be a way to reach others relationally for Christ.

    I don't know if any of this made sense. Thanks for getting my heart and mind working.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful words Erika. I'm church recently they shared about how Jesus stopped to hear the woman's (who had been bleeding) entire story, and how that would have taken time. He cares for every detail of our life.

      Delete
  19. Kim, SO well said. I totally agree.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think we can all agree that selfies can be a bit self-serving (who's to say that they are on all occasions, but overall - this selfie culture we live in definitely has strong roots in pride and desperately longing for approval from others). But I disagree though that our stories don't matter. Saying that a selfie/picture of your house/feet/journal/coffee "honestly does nothing to further the kingdom" - that just can't be true. We have no idea the heart behind people's posts, or how people are receiving them. I'm really careful about who I follow on social media for the sake of my own heart and I follow plenty of people who post the types of posts you describe. In most cases - I don't care if they posted it for their own pride or not, if I take the time to read it, almost always I am left encouraged and re-focused on Christ. But that's my heart and how I receive that stuff. I know not everyone responds in that way.

    I firmly believe that our stories matter. Not for our glory, but for His. If my story of faith, trials, struggles, overcoming, _____ fill in the blank - if my story stops there, then absolutely. Not okay. My faith was formed by the stories of others. And to this day, I honor them for their faith, their boldness, the way they lived their life for the Lord so I could learn from them and in turn begin following Jesus. I grew up in the church, went to Christian schools my whole life. You know what I lacked all those years? People's stories. People being vulnerable. People leading the way that I could learn from. I started following Jesus through a couple girls I met after high school - because their stories made Jesus real to me.

    If those same girls had lived with the attitude that it was about them and that yeah they loved God but their lives were overflowing with pride and selfishness - I wouldn't have been impacted and influenced in the way I was. But they lived passionately for the Lord and shared their lives and stories with me in a way I'd never experienced before. Their stories pointed me to Jesus, not to themselves. If they had the mindset that their stories and lives didn't matter, we wouldn't have connected and I wouldn't have been impacted by them.

    I do think you can share your story in a way that points to the Lord and not to yourself. Is it easy? Heck no! We are sinful and prideful and that's always going to be tough. But CAN we? Absolutely.

    Our stories matter because whether we like it or not, people are watching. My high schoolers I lead at church are watching me. Strangers I encounter are watching. WHY they are watching, that's their own heart issue. But because they are watching, I will live my story well, I will make it matter, and I will point to Jesus and not to myself. I'll mess up, but praise the Lord for His grace.

    Our stories don't matter for OUR sake - they matter for His sake. They matter because people will come to know Him through our stories not for our glory but for His. And any glory I receive, it is my responsibility to humbly take that and send it right back to Jesus. "He leads me in paths of righteousness for HIS Name's sake." I can't truly know the heart of anyone except myself. If someone is sharing their story so they'll feel great about themselves - they'll be accountable to that in the end. I can only check my heart (both in what I post and in what I read + how I respond to the posts of others). I don't think it's fair to say that any instagram that has an unrelated photo paired with a "spiritual" post has no value in the Kingdom. We don't know who is reading our posts and if something we write will strike a chord in them and point them to the Father. And I think that's why our stories matter. We're responsible to steward our stories in a way that do point to Jesus - and that makes them matter.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think we can all agree that selfies can be a bit self-serving (who's to say that they are on all occasions, but overall - this selfie culture we live in definitely has strong roots in pride and desperately longing for approval from others). But I disagree though that our stories don't matter. Saying that a selfie/picture of your house/feet/journal/coffee "honestly does nothing to further the kingdom" - that just can't be true. We have no idea the heart behind people's posts, or how people are receiving them. I'm really careful about who I follow on social media for the sake of my own heart and I follow plenty of people who post the types of posts you describe. In most cases - I don't care if they posted it for their own pride or not, if I take the time to read it, almost always I am left encouraged and re-focused on Christ. But that's my heart and how I receive that stuff. I know not everyone responds in that way.

    I firmly believe that our stories matter. Not for our glory, but for His. If my story of faith, trials, struggles, overcoming, _____ fill in the blank - if my story stops there, then absolutely. Not okay. My faith was formed by the stories of others. And to this day, I honor them for their faith, their boldness, the way they lived their life for the Lord so I could learn from them and in turn begin following Jesus. I grew up in the church, went to Christian schools my whole life. You know what I lacked all those years? People's stories. People being vulnerable. People leading the way that I could learn from. I started following Jesus through a couple girls I met after high school - because their stories made Jesus real to me.

    If those same girls had lived with the attitude that it was about them and that yeah they loved God but their lives were overflowing with pride and selfishness - I wouldn't have been impacted and influenced in the way I was. But they lived passionately for the Lord and shared their lives and stories with me in a way I'd never experienced before. Their stories pointed me to Jesus, not to themselves. If they had the mindset that their stories and lives didn't matter, we wouldn't have connected and I wouldn't have been impacted by them.

    I do think you can share your story in a way that points to the Lord and not to yourself. Is it easy? Heck no! We are sinful and prideful and that's always going to be tough. But CAN we? Absolutely.

    Our stories matter because whether we like it or not, people are watching. My high schoolers I lead at church are watching me. Strangers I encounter are watching. WHY they are watching, that's their own heart issue. But because they are watching, I will live my story well, I will make it matter, and I will point to Jesus and not to myself. I'll mess up, but praise the Lord for His grace.

    Our stories don't matter for OUR sake - they matter for His sake. They matter because people will come to know Him through our stories not for our glory but for His. And any glory I receive, it is my responsibility to humbly take that and send it right back to Jesus. "He leads me in paths of righteousness for HIS Name's sake." I can't truly know the heart of anyone except myself. If someone is sharing their story so they'll feel great about themselves - they'll be accountable to that in the end. I can only check my heart (both in what I post and in what I read + how I respond to the posts of others). I don't think it's fair to say that any instagram that has an unrelated photo paired with a "spiritual" post has no value in the Kingdom. We don't know who is reading our posts and if something we write will strike a chord in them and point them to the Father. And I think that's why our stories matter. We're responsible to steward our stories in a way that do point to Jesus - and that makes them matter.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Kim-I want to say a million times over that I 100% think your story matters to God. As I said above, He fully knows and loves us. Times infinity. And also, testimonies matter. Things the Lord has done in your life super matter. Sharing testimonies matter. But the "your story matters" thing that is being shared as gospel truth and is spurring on women of our generation to glorify self does not matter. You being known to anyone BUT Him does not matter. You must diminish so He can be everything.

    I see example after example being shared of times when someone's story matters to Jesus. and that is SO so true (woman at the well, bleeding woman healed, etc) but these stories are not known by us. They are not written out explicitly in the bible. We don't hear the nitty gritty of these stories and the people don't come out and say "look at me! I am so healed! Here my story!" No. They say "HE knew me! HE healed me! HE is the messiah!"

    Sharing your faith, your testimony, the word Jesus on a blog are all good things. And yes, let's use cultural things to point people to Jesus. Obvi. But let's not get so puffed up on what WE are doing for God, or build our own idols of self, or point people to worship self (ourself or themselves). Lets point people to Him

    ReplyDelete
  23. Kim-I want to say a million times over that I 100% think your story matters to God. As I said above, He fully knows and loves us. Times infinity. And also, testimonies matter. Things the Lord has done in your life super matter. Sharing testimonies matter. But the "your story matters" thing that is being shared as gospel truth and is spurring on women of our generation to glorify self does not matter. You being known to anyone BUT Him does not matter. You must diminish so He can be everything.

    I see example after example being shared of times when someone's story matters to Jesus. and that is SO so true (woman at the well, bleeding woman healed, etc) but these stories are not known by us. They are not written out explicitly in the bible. We don't hear the nitty gritty of these stories and the people don't come out and say "look at me! I am so healed! Here my story!" No. They say "HE knew me! HE healed me! HE is the messiah!"

    Sharing your faith, your testimony, the word Jesus on a blog are all good things. And yes, let's use cultural things to point people to Jesus. Obvi. But let's not get so puffed up on what WE are doing for God, or build our own idols of self, or point people to worship self (ourself or themselves). Lets point people to Him

    ReplyDelete
  24. Erin- I just wrote out this whole long comment to you and it got deleted. Bleck!

    Basically what I think is that you sound like you half agree with me and half don't. The parts of our story that are about Him, that aren't boastful or prideful, that don't glorify self but instead glorify the Lord are important. I'd totally agree.

    Example: I wasn't a christian until I was 21. I lived a hard life before then and somehow Jesus met me right where I was even using a silly Nick Lachey song. And since then He has used me to lead women even now on the internet via Influence.

    Do you know what is missing from that testimony above? My story. Its a long one and its distracting. If I started to write out I did this wrong thing and that wrong thing it would distract you and pull attention onto my sin and away from Jesus. If I said "I do xyz behind the scenes and work 123 hours on influence and have made connections with this person and that person because of it and I even had coffee with so-and-so! All to host the conference to glorify Him!" I imagine that would leave a bad, boastful, Ashley-thinks-she's-so-important taste in your mouth. Even if those parts of my story are true. Even if those parts of the story were given me by Him. Even if those parts of my story help me to do what I am called to do to further the kingdom. Those parts? My story? Doesn't matter.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Erin- I just wrote out this whole long comment to you and it got deleted. Bleck!

    Basically what I think is that you sound like you half agree with me and half don't. The parts of our story that are about Him, that aren't boastful or prideful, that don't glorify self but instead glorify the Lord are important. I'd totally agree.

    Example: I wasn't a christian until I was 21. I lived a hard life before then and somehow Jesus met me right where I was even using a silly Nick Lachey song. And since then He has used me to lead women even now on the internet via Influence.

    Do you know what is missing from that testimony above? My story. Its a long one and its distracting. If I started to write out I did this wrong thing and that wrong thing it would distract you and pull attention onto my sin and away from Jesus. If I said "I do xyz behind the scenes and work 123 hours on influence and have made connections with this person and that person because of it and I even had coffee with so-and-so! All to host the conference to glorify Him!" I imagine that would leave a bad, boastful, Ashley-thinks-she's-so-important taste in your mouth. Even if those parts of my story are true. Even if those parts of the story were given me by Him. Even if those parts of my story help me to do what I am called to do to further the kingdom. Those parts? My story? Doesn't matter.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Again to everyone I want to say that I LOVE this discussion. All of this Iron sharpening iron is so so good for us. I am learning a lot about what I mean and what words to choose via this discussion with y'all. Thank you all for being so bold as to share and walk through this together.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just want to say again that I loved this post and your bravery to post it. Testimonies can be used to point people to Jesus. Totally. And I think people are mis-reading what you mean by "your story." Tell your testimony, please! That's like evangelism 101. But don't focus on you and your junk. That doesn't matter.

    But really I wanted to encourage you to check out the Secret Church that David Platt did last week. They haven't posted the video yet, but look for it. He began the whole night by talking about how IT'S ALL ABOUT GOD. To the point that he said, "before the cross is for you, the cross was for God." And that just put my heart right in check. Whoa. Like, we're always talking about how because of the cross me, because of the cross I get this, because of the cross I can this. But seriously, it's ALL about God and His glory. That's His motivation for His love for us- not us, HIS GLORY. He desires to be glorified first and foremost.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I just want to say again that I loved this post and your bravery to post it. Testimonies can be used to point people to Jesus. Totally. And I think people are mis-reading what you mean by "your story." Tell your testimony, please! That's like evangelism 101. But don't focus on you and your junk. That doesn't matter.

    But really I wanted to encourage you to check out the Secret Church that David Platt did last week. They haven't posted the video yet, but look for it. He began the whole night by talking about how IT'S ALL ABOUT GOD. To the point that he said, "before the cross is for you, the cross was for God." And that just put my heart right in check. Whoa. Like, we're always talking about how because of the cross me, because of the cross I get this, because of the cross I can this. But seriously, it's ALL about God and His glory. That's His motivation for His love for us- not us, HIS GLORY. He desires to be glorified first and foremost.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hmmmm I think after reading this and thinking about it, I think I agree on the point you're trying to make (correct me if I'm wrong, as it's obvious it's interpreted differently :P)

    Thing is, anyone can be "Team Jesus!" and wear crosses, memorize scripture, and post prayers and all that (holy) jazz but is it because you are that sincere in your faith...or are you just putting up a front? I've come across a lot of "Christian" blogs but it leaves me pondering...are you being real? Are you being sincere or is it just so others can put you on a pedestal? (I'm not saying you as in you personally, just in general)

    I applaud anyone sincere in their faith and wanting to share it. I don't do it personally because I want my actions and my parts of my life I share to reflect my faith.

    My two cents :D

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hmmmm I think after reading this and thinking about it, I think I agree on the point you're trying to make (correct me if I'm wrong, as it's obvious it's interpreted differently :P)

    Thing is, anyone can be "Team Jesus!" and wear crosses, memorize scripture, and post prayers and all that (holy) jazz but is it because you are that sincere in your faith...or are you just putting up a front? I've come across a lot of "Christian" blogs but it leaves me pondering...are you being real? Are you being sincere or is it just so others can put you on a pedestal? (I'm not saying you as in you personally, just in general)

    I applaud anyone sincere in their faith and wanting to share it. I don't do it personally because I want my actions and my parts of my life I share to reflect my faith.

    My two cents :D

    ReplyDelete
  31. In reading the comments and seeing you clarify what exactly you are talking about, I do agree. Posting things that are trying to show how religious or spiritual we are is not positive or glorifying to God. This is not even close to the same thing as sharing our stories with others. What you said in your post (and title) is that your STORY doesn't matter, and I think you are very wrong in that. Sharing our God stories and stories of our struggles make us human- and when God does amazing things through and sometimes in spite of, our humanity that IS glorifying to him. Its saying that, "hey I'm in ministry/missions/a devoted Christian, but you know what? Im human. I struggle and hurt and do things wrong. I'm just like you. But for the Grace of God go I. If I can make it, you can too."

    ReplyDelete
  32. In reading the comments and seeing you clarify what exactly you are talking about, I do agree. Posting things that are trying to show how religious or spiritual we are is not positive or glorifying to God. This is not even close to the same thing as sharing our stories with others. What you said in your post (and title) is that your STORY doesn't matter, and I think you are very wrong in that. Sharing our God stories and stories of our struggles make us human- and when God does amazing things through and sometimes in spite of, our humanity that IS glorifying to him. Its saying that, "hey I'm in ministry/missions/a devoted Christian, but you know what? Im human. I struggle and hurt and do things wrong. I'm just like you. But for the Grace of God go I. If I can make it, you can too."

    ReplyDelete