Why Your Story Matters

blue door tacomaSome friends and I were having lunch the other day, discussing various challenges to find the time to write—caring for children, caring for our homes, talking with spouses, all manner of delights and duties. Then there was the other ‘D’—distractions.

In between bites of fish and chips I lamented the ease with which I am sucked into all sorts of social media vortexes. That particular morning it was Instagram; I decried the slippery decline away from what I actually set out to do—write an original thought or two, unhindered by all those other virtual voices.

My friend Holly told us about what she called a ‘download’ earlier that week straight from God’s heart to hers—a message that everyone’s story matters, especially the stories of those who feel they have no voice. After this divine inspiration she drafted a six-week workshop on just that very thing.

Each one of us chimed in with our individual roadblocks to writing and the ways we fall into listening to all the other noisy gongs out there. Then we circled back to the truth–we each have a story to tell that is uniquely our own. Adoptive mom, recovered trauma victim, heart transplant survivor, grandparent and over-60 author….a vastly diverse group.

When I sat with our iced tea and lunchtime conversation running through my head the next morning, I heard the Holy Spirit remind me what we writers do: tell the world what we know from where we are in our own way. But the white noise of other voices—actual flesh & blood ones, or virtual via Facebook, Instagram, other bloggers or tweeters—can drown out the voice of our Shepherd Jesus.

The words that Jesus spoke in John 10:3 came to mind, “…and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls out his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Verse 4 “…and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

I find I’m often battling not only the subtle shouts of other people’s words but the shoulds.

“I should write about this,” “I should sound like this,” and so on.  But that’s a way of being pushed, not led. Jesus leads us by a gentle hand, the enemy of our soul prods and pokes and pushes. I want my words to take me where God leads. I don’t want to make up content or manufacture an idea—I have all I need with the life I live to write from what I already have. My life experience is different from your life experience and the way I flesh out my walk with God may be an encouragement to you. I want to write about that.

Another thing about sheep and shepherds, sheep are confined; they know their boundaries. They only go somewhere else when the Shepherd moves them. I often want to be in a different pasture than my own, different circumstances, a better place. But the problem with looking over fences at other peoples’ ‘property’, real or imagined, is I’m left dissatisfied and there it is again, distracted, from the words God has given me to share.

There is only one voice, one vision and one view from where I stand. That’s all I can tell you about. As I stay where I am, nibbling on this ‘grass’ from God, I want to hear Him the way Holly did that day, to get a regular ‘download’ of ideas and words to share.

When we belong to God we can all hear from Him if we are open to listening. I want to keep tuning into His voice.

What about you?

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6 thoughts on “Why Your Story Matters

  1. Jody, Oh, how I needed this today! Thank you again and again for your encouragement, unselfish care, sharing of your time and expertise, laughter and patience!

  2. Just read this. You are amazing. I need to tattoo these words on myself: ” I have all I need with the life I live to write from what I already have.” Our conversations on that lovely day by the river were so full of truth! You integrate real life into ancient wisdom, in real time, in a way that inspires me greatly! Thank you for this.

  3. Yey! Amen and high five Jody, I love this! It’s so true, we each have a story and I would go so far as to say what we have journeyed through in our lives shapes our story. I find that father figures feature a lot in the books I write, either wonderful ones or absent ones, or ones gone too soon. Truly, this is a message the Holy Spirit weaves through me in to what I write, it is never conscious, but I can write it because of my own fatherless journey. So He weaves who I am and what I’ve walked through in to what I write. Imagine if we never wrote from that place, we would never truly touch the lives of those He called us to touch. I loved what you shared – bless you dear friend! Aliyah

  4. Appreciate your affirmation, Jody, to “tell the world what we know from where we are in our own way.” Yes, indeed! Also agree with this statement: “I want my words to take me where God leads.” Expecting my fingers to dance on the keyboard this afternoon, energized by your encouraging words!

  5. This strikes me: “being led, not pushed,” and “writing from what [we] already have.”

    Long may you nibble, friend, shepherded in His fields, helping us digest the sweetness and truth you’ve discovered.

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