Telling our story and listening to others’ stories transforms us

It was an invitation to be part of a new devotional project, writing personal stories about faith. Well, I sure can’t do that, I thought. Not anymore. God is my co-author of my life now.

Telling our story—and listening to others’ stories—transforms us.

By Jen Oyama Murphy of

Revelation 12:11 says “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die (added)

How many of us have joined a small group looking for authentic and transformational community only to leave frustrated or disappointed? Even if we’ve been together for months—or years—we wonder if we really know anyone in our group and if anyone truly knows us. As small-group leaders and directors, we believe our relationships, with Jesus and others, deepen when we share our lives with one another. Too often, though, our small group “sharing” is limited to answering Bible Study questions or offering prayer requests. We make space for snippets rather than stories.

But stories are important. We can experience healing as we share our story and listen to others’ stories. Have you considered that over 70 percent of Scripture is narrative? That means the primary way God chose to reveal himself is through story. God knows that stories engage us on all levels: intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical. He created us not just to have a story, but to be a revelation of the good story of the gospel. Every life is meant to uniquely reflect something of the character and kingdom of God that no other story can.

Author and counselor Dan Allender states, “If we come to know our story and then give it away, we will discover the deepest meaning of our lives. We will discover the Author who is embedded in our story, and we will know the glory he has designed for each one of us to reveal.” The experiences of our lives affect how we relate to ourselves, others, and God. Our story shapes our relationships, spirituality, calling, and purpose. When we have questions like, “Why am I like this?” or “Why do I believe God is that way?” or “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” …