Choice 8: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.
“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived” Galatians 6:1, 2 (The Message).
The action items for Week 8 are short and sweet compared to our past 7 weeks. The focus is on your personal story and how to best share it with others in need of encouragement, support, and hope. John Baker jumps right in with very little introduction to this week’s Make The Choice segment.
Ask God to bring someone in to your life to share your story with. Be prepared for what you ask, because He will answer! This isn’t someone who will just hear your story of recovery, but who will also hear His Good News, and how His presence in their life can bring about radical changes, too.
After we’ve prayed for God to lead us to someone to share with, we need to make sure we have prepared our story and how best to share it. For some of you, skipping over some of the nitty-gritty details will be appropriate; while others will need to expose a little more to get their story told. I think of our dear friend, Leslie. I don’t know of many who would openly share the experiences with hospitalization and electro-shock therapies as she has during our study. But for her, this is a crucial point of the desperation she felt and how liberating life has been with God. I’ve kept back some of my personal details because it would bring pain to others, but it doesn’t lessen the impact of my story.
Your story is uniquely yours. The ways God spoke to you, led you to see the need for Him, delivered you from the hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and how you will be used for His glory. Don’t compare your experience with anyone else, but praise the life He has given to YOU!
Take this time to write in your journal, (as Baker points out, page 251), a list of experiences that have significantly impacted your life to this day—both the positive and the negative. Indicate the ones you caused, and the ones caused by others. Remember to use the inventories we’ve created if necessary.
- Write what you have learned about each experience.
- Write about how God helped you through the tough times, but also how He blessed you during the good times.
- Make a list of people who need to hear your story.
- Write out your story. I love Baker’s comment on writing, ‘Remember, thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips to the fingertips. Write it out.” (p 252)
Ok, so you’ve now asked for someone to share with and written out your story. Share it with your accountability partner. This person has been alongside you as your cheerleader and coach during our study. They know where you’ve been, where you are now, and they have hope for your future. Allow your partner to work with you to fill in holes in your story, add details (or pull back on some), and assist in your humble presentation. It’s not about saying “look what I’ve done;” but what HE’s done that is our focus.
One last thought…in addition to sharing your story…consider other ways you can say YES to God.
“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” Hebrews 10:22-25 (The Message).
We’ve made it to the end of this leg of our journey. Note, I didn’t say we’ve completed THE journey, but only a portion of it. I don’t want anyone thinking that the work is done and we can move on to something bigger and better. No, this was just a portion of what God has in store for each of us. Perhaps you will find the need to re-read the book, put more time in to some of the exercises, share more with your accountability partner. Perhaps you’re at a good place now, but will find the need to re-examine some of the deeper issues at a later date. Whatever path you end up taking, remember to always take Him along with you for strength, comfort, wisdom, and unconditional love.
Let’s Pray –
Lord, when we look back to where we started, who we were when we started this study, we stand thankful and amazed by the transformations You have done in our lives. Guide us through the next phase of sharing our experience with others, finding strength in You, courage to open our hearts and lives, and the desire to be lights for Your glory. Thank You for the blessings we’ve seen, the friendships we’ve made, and all of the lessons learned. Amen.
Power Verses for Chapter 8
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
2 Corinthians 3:18
Romans 12: 9, 13
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