When our LTN Team Members first arrive, we take a few hours each day to have them sit down and share the story of their entire life with their teammates. We literally have them start at their earliest memory and move forward in time. It usually takes about an hour per person to share and then answer questions. Some Team Members find it exciting to share. Others find it scary. But ultimately they all find that if they’re going to do life together they have to know each other.
Why should we share our stories? What’s the point of telling other people the details of our history, heart and lives?
TO FEEL LOVED YOU MUST BE KNOWN
You are completely known by God and at the very same time you are completely loved by God.Daniel MontgomeryDaniel Montgomery says, “You are completely known by God and at the very same time you are completely loved by God.” Being known and being loved go hand in hand. We’re not meant to do life alone. We all need honest and transparent community. Nebulous love doesn’t really feel like love at all. We need people in our lives who ask us what we think, how we feel, what we want and what happened. When someone takes the time to get to know the details of our lives, it tells us, “You matter.” When no one is asking and no one is listening we come to believe that no one cares. To be known, we have to experience life with others. How is someone supposed to understand who you are if they don’t know how you got here? Being known isn’t an exchange of data. Being known is a routine exchange of conversation, experiences and emotions that can only be understood in community. If we want to experience love, we must be known.
TO BE KNOWN YOU MUST TRUST
“We mistrust people. That leads us to isolate ourselves. Then, we numb ourselves to cope with our soul’s need for relationships.”Rich Plass
Rich Plass says, “We mistrust people. That leads us to isolate ourselves. Then, we numb ourselves to cope with our soul’s need for relationships.” The only way for you to ever feel known requires you to make yourself open to others. This means being honest and forthcoming with a small community of people in your life. Who do you share your fears with? Who do you ask for advice? Who do you call when something good or bad happens? We often think that we are alone or that we will be rejected if we share “that” thing about our lives. One of Satan’s most strategic lies is getting you to believe that you are alone and unwanted. This breeds mistrust. When we choose to trust and share our stories we are denouncing that lie.
TO TRUST YOU MUST TAKE RISKS
Every person is afraid. We’re afraid of being wounded.Every person is afraid. We’re afraid of being wounded. (There is a reason that God comforts us with “Fear not!” over and over again throughout scripture.) I’ve often heard it said that the greatest things in life are also the hardest. Great stories require risk. Experiencing a great life requires risk. That’s why Jesus told us to “count the cost”. If lack of pain is the destination, the road is paved with loneliness – because the only way to ensure safety from being hurt is to shut out the world and God himself. God doesn’t want us to be lonely and afraid. He wants us to experience community and love. While the reality is that people WILL hurt us, the risk is worth it… and it begins with sharing our stories.
HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY
Find either a person or a group of people that you can share your story with.Find either a person or a group of people that you can share your story with. Find a private place to talk where you won’t be interrupted. Turn off all phones and distractions. Set aside several nights spread out over days, weeks or months to share each of your stories. Take as long as you need – whether that is 45 minutes or 2 hours – to share your story. Typically, people share the major characters, settings and turning points in their life – both the good and the bad. Make sure you label the emotions you felt at each of the turning points. (This can be very hard for some people but it’s important.) Give a chance for people to ask questions toward the end.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth tool, we recommend Storyline by Donald Miller. If you’re a recovering addict, you might consider checking out the Genesis Process by Michael Dye or Crossroads by Ed Welch.