“Make the words yours. If your eyes could speak, what would they say?” “Words are life, Leisel. All those blanks pages are for you to fill.” Max says this to Leisel in the movie “The Book Thief.”
I love this quote. It reminds me that everyday offers a fresh, blank page to write a new life story on. And I’ve learned that Jesus is the best author around! When I trust him with the pen and let him shape my story, all my past regrets, my sorrows, my ugliness, work out in the best possible way.
I get excited and inspired when I hear people tell their life stories. I am always encouraged when another soul opens up and shares her experiences. Whether they are ugly or profound or lighthearted or silly, they meet me where I’m at or where I’ve been or where I know I will be some day.
I long to do the same, to share my story with confidence and hope that it will encourage someone else.
I have certain people, my safe places, whom I share my ugly or profound life stories with. But I’ve known for a very long time that God wants me to also share my stories with other people – acquaintances and even strangers. I truly believe writing my life story is part of my God-given purpose.
But I’m scared. I’m scared of what others will think of me, of what they will say if I open up about the most recent parts of my story. Not the lighthearted or silly parts, but I’m scared of sharing the ugly and profound. I guess I can stick to the easy-to-share stories, but I know I can’t run from the other stories forever. That knowledge holds me back from sharing anything.
I haven’t always felt this way. There was a point when I shared freely about what was happening in my life whether good or bad. I enjoyed sharing my experiences and seeing how my vulnerability encouraged others.
Then things changed. My marriage, my life turned upside down, and I didn’t want many people to know what was happening. I was hurt. I was angry, embarrassed, disappointed, betrayed, everything in between.
Because of my pain, I lost my desire to help others by sharing my experiences, my hurts, my victories, my story. The only people who know it all are the ones who can help me walk through the process, my safe places as I referred to them earlier.
I’ve shared a little here and there on this blog, on facebook, with my small group, with a few family and friends, but I can’t seem to go any further. I know the Lord hasn’t given me the spirit of fear or timidity(1 Tim 1:7), but I still feel fear and timidity and shame and worry.
Reading books like Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Melton, Angry Conversations with God by Susan Isaacs, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker give me boldness while I’m reading them. But once the books are finished, that boldness disappears. I try to get up early every morning and read the Bible and a devotional because they give me peace, confidence and hope. But as time goes by, the confidence wains.
So I’m trying to trust Jesus with the pen of my story. I know wherever he leads me is the best place for me to be. I just have to lean on him, keeping my trust and hope in him. It may take me a while to be as vulnerable as I know he wants me to be, but taking baby steps will get me there.