This week I had the pleasure of speaking to Peachtree Presbyterian’s MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. What a wonderful group of women! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak on the power of our personal stories and what it means to embrace the beautiful and messy parts of our story. When we choose to embrace our stories we are saying I am going to show up and be seen. I am no longer going to hide and play up one part of myself while I play down another. I am going to be brave.
Owning our story takes courage because too often we feel it is easier to stay quiet. We want our story to be different or we hide or ignore the parts we don’t like or regret. Sometimes we remain silent because we don’t know how to make sense of our story. Other times we worry what people will think if they know this or that part of our story. Perhaps we may even suffer from story envy. Why does her story seem so good, interesting, easy? Why does my story always seem so complicated, hard, disappointing?
But hiding or holding onto parts of your story out of shame or bitterness means you are letting those painful chapters continue to injure and harm you. You remain a victim. Not talking about the broken family, the addicted loved one, the neglectful parent, the regrets, the lonely marriage, and the major life disappointments won’t make them go away. Staying busy won’t silence those nagging thoughts for long. Trying to look like you have it all together all the time will eventually wear thin. You eventually have to face and own those troublesome parts. If you don’t, they will continue to own you.
To embrace your story, you have to face your story. You have to dig into the past, uncover the hurts, and rediscover what brings you joy. In going through this process, you discover the theme and purpose for your life. You learn that nothing in your life was pointless or a waste.
Embracing your story means you are choosing to be seen over hidden. It means you are choosing grace over shame, courage over fear. When you learn your story you can learn from your story.
What is your story teaching you today? How can you start bravely embracing all the parts of your story?