"My Story" is Yours Alone
Tell My Story
Every great story has similar parts, and yours does as well. They mostly begin with something like "once upon a time" or in the case of Madeleine L'Engle "It was a dark and storm night."
Here is one way to lay out your plot - which is your pitch, like a full length animated story line. Used by Pixar for many of their films, originated by Kenn Adams, he calls it "The Story Spine."
1. Once upon a time there was. . . . . . . .
2. And every day. . . . . . . .
3. One day. . . . . . . .
4. Because of that. . . . . . . .
5. And because of that. . . . . . . .
6. Until finally. . . . . .
Now as an exercise in how this works, take the Story of Saul who became Paul in Acts Chapter 9. The original Saul is heading out to arrest everyone story, that got interrupted on his way out of town. Fit it into these headings and see how it flows.
Then compare it with Paul telling his version of My Story in Acts 22 and see how they align.
Now start laying out yours in these steps and see what kind of content begins to develop. One way is to get together with friends who know you, make the list into a handout and give a copy to everyone helping you.
You start it and then have the others pick up the parts in order and go around the group. Guaranteed to be fun and a great learning experience!
Good Ingredients Make Good Stories
Good stories are made of good ingredients. There are many recipes for good stories but the classic structure puts the main character (in this case yourself) in a terrible dilemma.
This character typically has been minding their own daily routine when something upsets that routine.
According to Pixar director Pete Docter: "What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get your audience to have that same feeling.”
Again, the purpose of your story is to communicate in a cultural setting. Pixar has mastered that and we may continue to learn from Pixar.
Why must you tell this story?
What belief in you does your story feed off of?
What greater purpose does telling your story serve?
What does it teach?
There it is - simply put - the heart of great storytelling. Not really difficult, but it does take some practice. In all great stories there is an underdog, and people want to root for the underdog.
Where were you when you met Jesus? Were you in a battle, against all odds, facing some kind of adversity backed into a corner of your own making or one presented by someone else? Rags to riches is an old theme that everyone loves because everyone wants to be a part of that story.
Today, the best stories are those that compel us around our perceptions of reality and challenge or change them in some manner. The core is our humanity - the common experiences of life faced by everyone.
And last but not of least importance - keep it simple and easy to follow.
There you are, storyteller! We call it evangelism but the root word means good news. And who couldn't use a little good news today?
Viewpoint Is Everything
Imagine that the daughter has her hands over her daddy's eyes. They are going to go for a walk on the planks together.
She is going to tell her daddy where they are, where they are going and what to be careful of. He cannot see so she is his eyes. There is a level of trust in that, both ways.
Hold that picture in your mind when telling your story. You can see where you are going and you know what the destination is.
Your hearers are like the daddy. They cannot see the destination, or where the dangers are of going off the boardwalk. But you do.
The lesson in this is the combination of telling and showing. Be their eyes, be their ears and give an accurate picture of where the boardwalk is, where it is going and how you got safely through.
In your case, your eyes that brought you safely through are Jesus. He saw the end from the beginning and knew how to keep you from falling off the pathway.
And he is still doing that today. The today part is like a news update to the original story - another rendition of that wonderful radio broadcast that always added "And now, for the rest of the story!" And the rest of the story is still going on.
A Living Story Is A Living Bridge
In Northeast India the people build bridges from the roots of giant fig trees. They pull the roots across a stream that needs to be navigated, and as those main roots grow and produce other roots they are woven into a living bridge.
At some point in your life you met Jesus, Yeshua, and your life was changed. That is the first root that you will stretch across the great divide between yourself and our Post-Truth culture. Our nation to a large extent has left all connections with truth, and this is manifesting in many areas including the definition of life and the definition of gender. It is no longer who you are in reality - if you are chromosome XY you are male. Pretending to be XX female does not change your biology, it only shows how ultimately lost someone is. Denying your biology does not change reality, it only destroys a God-given identity.
When communicating the Good News of the Life Changer Jesus, we do not have to get caught up in the confusion of our culture. We are told to "no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love," Ephesians 4:14-15a HCSB
When we tell our own story as the bridge for Truth, no one can argue against that story. It is personal, it is a biography of life that speaks to the Power of the Good News of the having come the the earth Son of God who "went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him." Acts 10:38 HCSB
Everything he has done with and for you since that first encounter is like an update to an ongoing story on the news. "Ands now for an update . . .just today. . ." is like a smaller root growing out of that first root and strengthening and growing your bridge.
That story is Your Story - which when you speak it for you is Telling My Story and walking that history across your living bridge. You may hear "Well that is your truth" and in that sense the other person is correct. What Jesus has done in your life is "your Truth" and how it crosses and impacts is in the power and providence of the Holy Spirit. He cannot, however, use that bridge if you are silent.
The "My Story" of the Living Life Changer is you. Uncage the Truth, practice telling it. Write it out first until it feels just right and practice with yourself, in a mirror, with a friend and then begin your outward public bridge as a "living letter written by Christ, not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God—not carved onto stone tablets but on the tablets of tender hearts." 2 Cor 3:3 TPT