Your Story Matters

I once had coffee with a lady who told me that she struggled to believe that her story mattered. In the busy pace of raising kids and trying to be a good Christian, she had been beaten down by the lie that none of it mattered. And the truth is, I’ve had that conversation way too many times. Not only with countless people over coffee, but with myself.

But what I’m learning more than anything else is that someone else’s hope rests on your response to your story. Your story, even the ugly parts, can shine light into someone’s darkness.

Although our stories are cracked by periods of interruption, I believe that everyone’s story matters. There’s meaning in the minor inconveniences of flat tires, head colds, and parking tickets, and there’s meaning in the more impactful, life altering tragedies.

When our loved ones die from cancer, when high school football coaches are intentionally run over and crippled for life, when homeless children live in garbage dumps, and when parents have to bury their children, it still matters.

No matter what you’ve been through or what you’re going through, someone else needs your story.

Story Living and Story Telling

The first thing you and I need to remember is that we’re never promised a story free of disruption. However, we are all given the freedom to choose how we will respond to those disruptions. Our response is what brings our stories to life.

Sometimes our response brings about hope and encouragement and inspiration while other times, it brings about despair and destruction and darkness. Curiously, the same story can have a polarizing effect based on the perspective with which we choose to respond.

If you gain nothing else form this article today, I hope you gain this:

You have the power to dictate the story your life tells.
Once you embrace that power, you begin to own your story.

However, a unique tension exists. We blast our stories across social media letting ambition drive our efforts. Or, we fall into the trap of faux humility, becoming too worried about what others will think.

So how do we become a better steward of our stories?

Your Part in the Story

In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul, whose story is remarkable in itself, tells us a truth that beautifully weaves all of our stories together for a greater purpose. Paul writes, “All things work for the good of those who love the Lord.”

He continues by saying:

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Friends, God is at work within your story. That realization allows you to transcend yourself and see that you are part of the bigger picture. It is in Him where your story finds its meaning. In Him, you are conquerors. In Him, you will overcome.

Now, it’s not my place to tell every story, and that’s where you come in. I challenge you to join us, purpose your story for good, and share it through the lens of His love.

My invitation to you is to take the RICH Life Challenge. This is a free, 7-day devotional that I have created for us to begin living on purpose so that we can begin living with purpose. Currently, more than 350 people have taken the challenge and the feedback has been incredible.

If you’re looking to awaken your story, I hope you would consider joining us. You can sign up below:

My hope is that you would begin to own your story by surrendering it to God. I believe that He will speak into your life and He will show you His purpose. He works all things for good.

MH

If you love stories and are looking for inspiration and encouragement, check out my book, Redefine Rich, on Amazon. This book is at the heart of this movement and message and it is my hope that it will give life to your own story.

Redefine Rich

Redefine Rich

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  • Thanks for this post, Matt. Until very recently, I thought my story was not that outstanding. I know now that there is more to it than I thought and through what I have experienced and overcome, I can inspire others to live a fulfilling life. Keep on sharing and building stories and changing lives!

    • I love seeing your passion after Life Plan. I can tell it has brought so much purpose and focus for you. So very cool! And, yes, you are inspiring!

  • Wow, that was a great post I needed to read Matt! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Paul – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share.

  • Great post, Matt. We take our words and stories for granted, yet they are so powerful, especially when joined with the Word Himself.

    • In the beginning was the Word! Love John’s Gospel and the imagery there about Jesus being the Word. Thanks for stopping by Deuce! Keep using those words for good, brother!

  • Two reasons more people don’t share their stories…

    1. The “noise.” While it isn’t all stories, it is noise. Some people don’t know how to break through the noise and be able to allow their story to have impact. Because they don’t their story “will” have an impact, due to too much “noise,” they don’t share it. (and that is actually disappointing, because I’ve heard some stories that are more touching than you can imagine)

    2. We don’t do a good enough job of listening, of finding the “story” everyone and everything has to share. I think this is more important than, but sort of related to #1.

    If we all listened for the story better, found the story in everything better … there would be more stories shared as a result.

    Good post Matt. Hurry up with your book, would you? 🙂

    • Joseph – Yes! Yes! Yes!

      On the first, I think it is a byproduct of fear; afraid they don’t matter. As you’ve said, that is so far from the truth. On the second, you hit the nail on the head. I wrote a post about listening last year. http://mattham.com/2013/12/a-simple-practice-to-be-courageous/

      And on the book, we’re getting there! 🙂

  • Beth

    Great encouragement. I’ve had a few days of doubting whether my story matters so your post was rather timely. Thank you!

    • My friend April said it best when she said, “Satan wins when we are quiet.”

      I’d add that he also wins when we share out of pain, selfishness, or pride. Thus, our need to filter our story through God’s grace.

      I look forward to hearing your story Beth!

  • i so love this matt! and totally agree. sometimes our stories of shame set people free. sometimes our stories of fear make people brave. sometimes our stories of victory inspire others. God is so writing all of our stories, weaving redemption and rescue into what can seem so ordinary. but in His hands our lives are extraordinary because they’re part of His Story.

    • Thank you Claire! The more I consider God’s story, it is full of faithful people in the face of hopeless situations. Not perfection, but redemption.

  • Great post Matt. I love how our testimony can truly change the lives of others and bring them to Christ as well. To be good stewards we have to share the good, bad, and the ugly so that someone can say “Hey, I’ve been there…I thought I was the only one.” I know, because I was that “terrible” person that I thought God just couldn’t love because of the horrible person I had become. However, I found a great group of people that loved Christ and had been in the same situation and led me to the Cross. Keep sharing your stories brother!

    • Man, Scott, so much power in that short testimony! Love what you’re doing! Keep up the good work and stay covered in His grace!

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  • Caleb

    Great thoughts Matt. Sharing life stories are powerful – like Scott mentioned, because people can sympathize with where you are/where. It encourages others who are going through similar things to keep going on.

    • That’s the key Caleb, mutual encouragement! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  • I absolutely love this post. No matter how small or insignificant a person may feel that their story is, it may mean a restoration of hope or faith to someone else. It may bring someone to the cross and give their lives to Christ. It may cause a change or heart or a shift in perspective that causes them to see the world around them differently, for the better. No story is too small. For myself, I know that God has been with us, but I personally have felt very alone in our experience here on earth. I can’t help but think that there have got to be so many others out there who I could not possibly physically reach who might at the very least know that they are not alone in what they are going through. Sharing our stories makes the world a little bit smaller when we can be open with our experiences and encourage each other on our journeys.

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