Monday, November 25, 2013

When did you last share your story?

Photo courtesy of Ambro/Freedigitalphotos.net

“It’s time!”

I woke with those two words on my lips. I knew exactly what they meant because I knew who said them.

My life changed in that moment.

I knew then I was being pursued…

That’s typically how I start my story when I share it. No, not the stories I’ve written, but my personal story or to use Christianese, my testimony.

BTW, “It’s time” are also the first two words in my debut novel, Angelguard.

We make ourselves vulnerable when we share our written stories with others whether it’s our critique partners, in competitions or to the masses if we’re fortunate to be published or self-published. Increasingly with the interconnectedness the virtual world avails us, we are likely to reveal more of ourselves than authors of even ten or twenty years ago did.

Such vulnerability can be intimidating particularly for many of us introverts. But it also allows us the opportunity to share our testimony, how important our faith is, both to our writing and in who we are.

The evolution of Angelguard paralleled to some degree with a personal renewal in my faith. When I’m asked to share the inspiration behind the novel I try to share some of my faith. It makes sense to having been handed the opening line by the Lord.

I was reminded of the power of sharing our testimony in a recent message at church. The pastor1 started with this verse from Revelation:

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.’ "(Rev 12:10-11 NIV)

I’d never really seen that verse before. What great encouragement it is to know that our personal stories of God’s hand in our lives have real power in defeating the enemy.

“It’s okay to feel afraid when being brave.”

We should be ready to share our story of how we became a Christian. The pastor suggested a four-step approach to doing just that (the Four P’s):

1.   Prepare it,
2.   Pray about it. Prayer raises our antenna so we’ll be looking for opportunities to share,
3.   Practice it. In front of the mirror, your loved ones, your prayer partner or small group, even cows in a field (this was the pastor’s first audience)
4.   Pursue opportunities when they are put before you.

The pastor’s message was a wonderful reminder to me to dust off my testimony and seek opportunities to share it with grace.

When did you last share your story?

Note: 1. Andrew Kubala, “No-one is you-er than you.” C3 Church Sydney Australia 10 November 2013


Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

12 comments:

  1. A great post Ian. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is to share our stories. I used to struggle with sharing my testimony because I didn't have the clear "before and after" story of how I became a Christian that others seemed to have. For me, it was more of a gradual process that started as a child. I grew up knowing I believed. Certainly there were points where my faith got a jolt and my walk with God deepened, but I still didn't have a clear before and after. Then God showed me that my testimony is broader than that. It's about everything He's done in my life - the answered prayers, the times He's intervened in a situation unexpectedly, the lessons He's taught me through struggles. Writing is a great way to share our varied testimonies. May He continue to bless you richly as you step out into the opportunities He's given you Ian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nola, thank for your generous encouragement. What's wonderful about our individual stories, whether they include a fantastic salvation moment or one of consistent enduring faith like yours, is he will use it for His purposes. There are people who God wants us to share OUR story with. That's exciting, isn't it?

      May God richly bless you to Nola,

      Delete
  2. Thanks, Ian. Sometimes I find I can lose the absolute wonder of the fact that God reached out to me and took hold of my life because I get to tell it quite often when I speak at places, as well as through what I write. So it's important to treasure the unique ways God has impacted our lives and to share that with others with grace, as you say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to that, Jo-Anne. Hoping I get to meet you on Saturday at West Ryde.

      Bless,

      Delete
  3. Good reminder Ian. I'm with Nola on this one as my personal walk with God began before I was five and he was a very real presence in my life for as long as I can remember. There have been times when I've had amazing encounters that have propelled me even deeper into His love, grace and wonder. So with Nola, I think our testimony is not just about the day we met God or gave our lives to him but the ongoing walk we have with him. Even in my darkest hour when God's love seemed so distant, I could not imagine life without him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that, Jeanette. As much as I love listening to a fantastic salvation moment, it's the stories like your's and Nola's that grab me the most. I always like to hear what people do to keep their walk fresh and vibrant.

      Wishing you every blessing,

      Delete
  4. We had one of our pastors share his personal story at church yesterday and we were all totally amazed at where he had come from - so much pain, dysfunction and paths of destruction. It really helped a lot of people connect. We would never have guessed just by looking at him. Power of testimony is a real phenomenon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well there you go. Thank you, Meredith, for providing a current example of a testimony's power. May it also serve to ignite a new season within your church.

      Bless,

      Delete
  5. Thanks, Ian. That's a challenge we should all take to heart.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for that Ian. Loved your 4 P's too. Sharing our stories are so powerful. As Meredith says the power of testimony is phenomenal. Thanks for the reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I thank you too Ian for the reminder that our personal story is very powerful and should be shared as often as possible. I also, cannot remember a time when God wasn't a part of my life. My mother in particular was a great influence bringing my sisters and I up in the Christian faith by her own example . While there was a time when I was far away from the church God still had His hand on me and when He finally laid out His plan for me to write for Him I was gob smacked to say the least. Why? was the question I continually asked Him. Why now, why me, I don't even like writing letters. I have found though, that it is futile to argue with Him - He always wins. After all, He is not going to ask anything of us that He has not already equipped us to do. I have found, through lots of feedback, that my story has helped many people. It is what it's all about really and very humbling indeed to think that the Creator of the universe speaks through the words He gives us to write and speak into their lives. Wouldn't have it any other way and cannot imagine life without Him being the major part of it. Bless you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lesley for sharing. It can be a little daunting (well a lot sometimes) when He asks us to do something that we don't feel equipped to do. What's that old saying: "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." We writers often need to be reminded of that, don't we?

      Grace and peace,

      Delete