We all have stories to share. And someone out there is just waiting for your story that could potentially save or change their lives forever. Are you willing to share it?
Today, I want to encourage you to be bold in sharing your story…because it matters.
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Power of Your Story
I already did a previous podcast, a previous training on this topic, but I felt like it was so important that we could do another podcast, another training on it.
I was recently reminded of the movie Freedom Writers. If you’re watching me live, on YouTube, or reading on my blog, and you’ve watched the movie Freedom Writers, say, “Yes, I’ve watched it” in the comments section.
It’s a great movie. If you haven’t watched it yet or haven’t watched it for a long time, I recommend that you re-watch it. You can watch it for free on Amazon Prime Video if you’re an Amazon Prime user.
I saw someone on an airplane as I was headed out to Ashville for an artist mentorship weekend, watching the movie. It’s the person sitting next to me. You know how sometimes you look out of the corner of your eye?
I saw them watching that movie, and I was like, “Oh! I got to watch that movie!”
God put it in my spirit to watch the movie again. So, on the way home from the Master Mind, on the airplane, I downloaded the movie from Amazon Prime, and I watched it the way home. Oh my goodness, I was so inspired.
So in the story, there is a teacher, and she is teaching in a rough school, I think in Los Angeles. The kids that she’s teaching are pretty much meant to be dropouts. There is no hope for them pretty much, and it’s almost like she’s just babysitting.
But she was determined to teach them, and that she was going to teach them to write. What she did was, she bought them individual, simple composition notebooks and gave them one assignment. That assignment was to write something in that notebook every day.
It could be something about their life, something that happened in the past, something that’s happening today – just something. They just had to write something in there. She said, “You don’t have to show it to me. I just need you to flip through so that I can see that you did it. If you want me to read it, put it on this shelf over here in the room, and I will read them.”
What happened was, by challenging her students to write on a consistent basis, developing a daily reading habit, and sharing their story, the transformation began to happen. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you but it’s an amazing movie.
Miracles began to happen all because they began to simply write out their stories on a consistent basis in a journal. Those journals ended up getting published, and I think it was a book called The Freedom Writers.
The Importance of Your Testimony
This movie is based on a true story, and it’s so inspiring. You know what? Your story matters. You may think, “Shelley, I don’t have a story. I don’t think anyone would want to hear my story.”
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Revelations 12:11 says, we overcome the enemy by what? The blood of the Lamb – which is the blood of Jesus – and the word of our testimony.
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
When we share our stories, when we share our testimonies, not only can it inspire, encourage, and help someone else going through that time. It also has spiritual ramifications.
One way to get really good at telling your story is to develop a consistent writing habit.
The Writing Week Challenge
This is what I teach inside my writing challenge, Writingweek.com. For those of you that are here right now and are part of this WritingWeek.com challenge, I want to tell you that developing a consistent writing habit is powerful.
What you are doing this week is powerful. What you’re doing this week may change the trajectory of your life forever. I don’t know only God knows.
The kids in that class in the Freedom Writers movie were writing on a consistent basis and sharing their story. And it changed the trajectory of their lives forever.
Most of them went on to make something of their life. To graduate from high school is in and of itself, a miracle. Many of them went to college. It was incredible. And that happened just by developing a consistent writing habit.
Now, there were a lot of other things going on that was happening to really influence these students. But I really believe that the foundation, the core of what made that transformation, was sharing their story and writing it out on a consistent basis.
There is power in hearing someone’s story, being encouraged, and being inspired. I share my story very often. I share it in almost every one of my books. There is some part of my testimony in there.
Many times, people will come up to me, and they will say, “Shelley, I’ve never told anyone this before, but after hearing your story, I feel safe to share my story with you. For the first time, I’m telling somebody this.”
In James, it talks about “confess your sins one to another so that you may be,” what? “So that you may be healed.”
When we share our stories and when we’re vulnerable, that breeds vulnerability. And then people may be sharing stuff with us, and that may lead to healing for them. There are so many things that can happen when we’re willing to share our story.
Now, I’m not saying you have to share all your dirty laundry. I don’t do that. I don’t share all the details and all the stuff. I share enough, so people know what I’ve gone through. Then I focus on the hope and healing that I’ve found in Christ.
I focus on the other side. There is hope, there is healing, and you can get to that other side. Whatever your story is I encourage you to share it.
A very practical thing I recommend writers to do is to have some sort of list of different stories from your life. Some can be small; some can be big. Some can be funny, humorous stories, and some can be something really unusual that happened to you.
I, personally, have my list in Google Documents which I can access on my phone, my iPad, my computer, and it all syncs. You could use Evernote, Trello, or a simple pen and paper, but start a list of stories.
For instance, I twirled baton when I was little, and I was in a parade. In that parade, I performed flawlessly, except when I dropped my baton one time. The one time I dropped my baton was when the paper took my picture. And they broadcast my one failure, my one mistake, to the entire city. I think I was seven-years-old at that point.
I share that story with authors and writers. I share that in my email autoresponders and blog posts. Then I relate it to people that sometimes we can have defining moments in our lives that lead us to perfectionism, to performance, or to feeling like we never want to fail and mess up again.
Some of your stories can be something like that. And then you relate it to something you’re teaching or sharing. I teach authors, and yet you would think, what do all these stories have to relate to authors? So much.
When you really start thinking you can find so many ways to relate stories.
You can use stories in your books, which I really, highly recommend. Share stories in your books, your blog posts, in your social media, in your videos, and in your emails. Integrate your stories in all these ways, and it draws people in.
Why do you think movies sell so much? Movies sell because they’re a story.
We recently watched the movie I Can Only Imagine. It’s an incredible story. It wasn’t corny nor contrived. It was an authentic, real-life story, and it drew me in. I was crying, and it was like, “Woah!
That taught me a lesson that someone is preaching to me or teaching me probably couldn’t have taught me as significantly.” So, are you getting this? Are you getting that there is power in sharing your story? If you are getting this just comment, “Yes.”
The Power of Gratitude
As you develop a consistent writing habit, writing your story, and coming out from behind the screen, allowing people to get to know you, I want to share one other little thing with you today – the power of gratitude. How much you allow people to get to know you is up to.
If you know the power of gratitude and you’ve seen it in your life just comment, “Gratitude.” Gratitude is powerful.
I wrote an entire book series on it, and it’s one of my best-selling book series, and it really changed my life back in 2012; I think it was. What I did was I did a 21-day gratitude challenge.
You can read my book if you want, “the Gratitude Journal”, about the process that God took me through and what he did. On the other side of that 21 days, I was a different person.
As you’re writing and embarking on sharing your story, as you’re getting ready to share, I encourage you to begin thanking God for the words. Say, “Thank You, God, for the writing I’m going to get done today. Thank You, God, for the writing I’m going to get done tomorrow.”
If you’re part of my Writing Week Challenge, say, “Thank You, God, for the writing that I am going to accomplish by the end of these seven days. Thank You for all that You’re going to say through me. Thank You for using my voice to impact this generation. Thank You, God, for what You’re doing in my heart as I write these things down on paper. Thank You, God, for what You’re doing. Thank You for what You’re going to write through me.”
I was starting to kind of repeat myself, but can you hear the power of, “Thank You for what You’re going to do,” instead of being like, “Oh, what am I going to write? I’m going to sit down and write, and I don’t know. I don’t know if I should say that, I don’t even know if I’m spelling this right. Does this sound dumb? Oh my goodness, did I say that wrong? Oh, um, uh.”
Then you get stuck and paralyzed. I think it’s better if we say, “God, thank You for the creative flow that You’re giving me right now, that’s flowing through me. Thank You, God, for giving me the words to write. Thank You, God, for what I’m going to write tomorrow at 2 o’clock when I sit down to write.” Then you start to sit down and write; schedule it on your calendar.
“Thank You, God, for the words you’re going to give me tomorrow when I sit down to write. Thank You, God, for the creative flow. Thank You, God, for your Holy Spirit that’s with me right now, that You’re writing through me. You are the writer; I’m simply the pen.”
Can you feel the difference between the anxiety, the fear, and the focus on self? Can you see the focus on us versus, the focus on God?
So, as you’re writing, I encourage you that “your story matters”. It matters.
Your story matters to you, it matters to your family, but most of all, it also matters to many other people that God wants to use your story to impact.
There is power in developing a consistent writing habit, and there is power in gratitude. So, I hope that you apply these simple things to your writing, and you see a creative flow come through you.
If you’re interested in learning more about my Writing Week Challenge, you can check it out at WritingWeek.com.
Until next time!
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