Last week we kicked off The Best Hidden Skill That Can Change Your Relationships Series with the importance of knowing the Lord. This week we’re discussing embracing your story. This also could be called your testimony. We each have a special story to tell. Some chapters we share freely, because they are lovely and full of triumph. Others we choose not to read aloud, because they’re packed with hurt, grief, and regret. No matter what your story looks like, choose to accept it. Acknowledging our past (good and bad) can help us become more self-aware and it may also set someone else’s truth free.
Dig Deep (Reflect On Your Past)
We all come out the womb with a clean slate. Nothing has shaped who we are or tainted our perception. As we grow older and gain experiences we create a personality or what some call our masks. Unfortunately, we can allow the wonders and the woes of this world to tell us who we are and how we should react. The events that have shaped us, (for better and for worse) become our baggage. Self-discovery comes when we unpack those bags because our past plays a huge part in who we become.
I have put together an “Unpacking Exercise” that will help you get to the heart of who you are right now. Below are some questions to ask yourself about your past experiences (childhood, middle school, high school, college, marriage, etc).Write down your responses and try to connect the dots. After you’ve completed the exercise, write a condensed list of your experiences without all the details. We’ll use it below.
- Did you make any questionable decisions that affected you in a positive or negative way?
- Did you find yourself in the middle of situations that changed your perception of the world?
- Were there external circumstances that arose like divorce, death, sickness of a loved one, or other traumatic events that were out of your control?
- How did all this affect you in your near future?
- How did you change as a result of this time/situation/event in your life?
**Note: I am not a professional counselor, therapist, or life coach. However, you may find it helpful to seek professional expertise if you’re finding this exercise difficult. Be led by the Lord, and seek wise counsel if necessary.
Be Positive and Grateful
Once you’ve done a little digging and have begun to unpack the why of who you are, I encourage you to switch gears. How can we go from being reflective of our past to being grateful for it? Thinking back on everything that you’ve gone through and how it has shaped your life is eye-opening and possibly painful. I know that reliving the ugly chapters can be emotional and even uncomfortable. But rest assured, all chapters of your story can be glorifying to God, even the unglamorous ones. It’s both healing and beautiful to know that we can always look back on what He has brought us through. We can rejoice in the joyful seasons and have faith that any bad situation can be turned in our favor.All chapters of your story can be glorifying to God, even the unglamorous ones. Click To Tweet
After you have created your condensed list of experiences take some time to write down all the blessings God has given you. Once you have both lists, I encourage you to praise the Lord with all your heart! I think you cannot truly be self-aware without acknowledging God, His people, and the circumstances that have made you into who you are today. Review all that God has done for you, brought you out of, and protected you from in your life. We can delight in all of who God is, and be joyful of this beautiful life He has given us. I encourage you to be grateful in all areas of your life!
Once you have praised Him, you can then praise those around you. Gratefulness improves and helps us cultivate relationships. I cannot think of one person who doesn’t appreciate being thanked. Walking in gratitude daily should including showing and telling the people in your life how much you love and appreciate them. Another great way to walk in gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. You can write in it daily, weekly, or even monthly but the point of the exercise is to remind you of your blessings. Choosing to be thankful for God’s love, His children, and everything in between will improve all aspects of your life. Furthermore, being grateful for our testimony gives us the courage to share our stories with others.Gratefulness improves and helps us cultivate relationships. Click To Tweet
Share Wisely with Others
So far you’ve embraced your story and thanked God for it. Now it’s time to share. Contrary to popular belief, our testimony isn’t for us, it’s for others. However, I do think giving your testimony can also be healing. When we choose to be vulnerable and share, we create opportunities for God to be glorified and for relationships to flourish.
One of our main goals in life is to use our gifts, stories, and personality to expand the Lord’s Kingdom. We can do this by testifying about God’s goodness. Share what God brought you out of and what He is currently doing in your life. Speak honestly, stay humble, and acknowledge your need for the Lord every day. We can also use our testimony to help and empathize with others. Sharing a story on the other end of heartbreak can be comforting. Giving advice on a situation you’ve been through can encourage someone to push through in faith. Vulnerability is quite beautiful, but it takes knowledge of self to be able to open up.
Be mindful that not everyone has kindhearted motives. Ask the Holy Spirit who you should and should not share with. If you find yourself sharing with the wrong person, don’t fret. God fights our battles.
Walk in Your Truth
A major key to self-awareness is accepting who you are and all that it entails. The good, the bad, the ugly…it all makes you, you. God created you for a purpose and knew what you would do in this life before you could even imagine it. There is no need to worry, regret, or dwell on your past. When we do that we hinder our growth and put our future on hold. Knowledge of self comes when we embrace our story, wholeheartedly thank God for it, and then strengthen relationships with His people by sharing. Next week we’ll find ways to learn more about ourselves.
With lots of love,