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Sharing Your Life Story

What if you had to share your entire life story in 7 minutes or less? What would you share? What details would you leave out? Who would be included in your supporting cast? Who wouldn’t make the cut? A few weeks ago, I joined a small group at my church that’s designed for those who want to explore faith and experience community. It’s specifically targeted towards those who are curious about Christianity, just beginning their spiritual journeys, or returning to the church after some time away. In some ways, I fit into all 3 of those categories, so I knew that this group would be a good fit (and God made sure that I joined by giving me a little nudge in the right direction). As part of the group, each participant is encouraged to share his or her story at some point during the 8 weeks, and this past Sunday, 6 weeks in, I finally worked up the nerve to share mine.

I am always sharing bits and pieces of my life story textually here on LiveLifeWell and on my Instagram page, but rarely am I called upon to share verbally. Let me tell you, it’s SO easy to hide behind a computer screen in this day and age. There’s almost nothing that I’m afraid to type and have others read, but saying things out loud is a whole ‘nother ball game and I was nervous that I would skip important parts and leave people confused or just be downright boring and leave people yawning in disinterest. Of course, neither of those things happened and sharing my life story verbally was both liberating and therapeutic. It left me feeling empowered and excited for what’s to come.

To prepare for my opportunity to share, I spent my Saturday morning jotting down a make-shift outline of my life, highlighting the “must-mentions” so I could be concise without leaving anything out. With Andy Stanley’s Starting Point: A Conversation about Faith as my guide, I thought back to the junctures that have made me me and those who surrounded me as I matured into the woman that I am today. It dawned on me that life really is a series of moments – good, bad, beautiful, and ugly that shape us and mold us. These moments and the people who are by our sides during them determine who we are, what we believe, and why we believe it.

Key People:

The key people in my life are my mom (because she was my first example of unconditional love and is still to this day my very best friend), my dad (because he was the first person that I loved and lost), my husband (because he showed me what grace meant before I got to know God and his grace), my beautifully blended family (because we’re so unique but provide so much support to one another), and my Bible’s and Basketball small group (because they let me know that I wasn’t alone in my feelings about the ups and down of this lifestyle).

When I think of the key people in my life, I think of those who I can’t imagine my life without. These are the people who have impacted me in major ways, most for the better, and a few for the worst. They have made me feel loved, made me feel unique, and, at times, made me feel uncomfortable. They’ve been monumental in my life and I realize that I wouldn’t be me without their presence.

Key Places:

The phrase key places is one that I think is both figurative and literal. Some of the key places in my life story are actually locations while others are more like time frames. Paideia, the school that I attended from the time I was 5 years old to the time I graduated high school, and Miami, the city where I attended college, are definitely key places. Another key “place” in my life, although it’s really made up of a few different places and a lack of a solid stable “home” is the ever-changing place that my husband and I reside each basketball season depending on where he’s playing. This “place” and the uncertainty regarding where it would be from one year to the next contributed largely to my anxiety, and therefore cannot be left off the list. When I think of key places like these, I think of the scenes that were in the background as I grew and changed over the years – the sets, if you will, for the important moments in my life’s movie.

Key Events:

While the key people and key places in your life can be hard to narrow down, the key events are usually easier. Most of us know the situations that have been monumental in our lives because for a lot of us, many of those have been painful or scary. While a lot of the key events in my life involve either a key person, a key place, or both, a few of them have occurred in moments of solitude and introspection. Either way, they are the things that have happened to me or around me that have caused growth.

The key events in my life include meeting my now husband and going off to college, losing my dad in 2011 and going through a long period of young adult grief characterized by quite a few unhealthy coping behaviors, getting married, battling anxiety and learning to better handle my circumstances through faith in God, and being diagnosed with and overcoming a brain tumor. Each and every one of these experiences taught me something, and thus shaped me in a major way.

Your life story boils down to the people that matter, the places that you grow, and the events that impact you the most. So, I’ll ask you again, if you had to share your entire life story in 7 minutes or less, what key moments would you share? Give it some thought – you just might be surprised like I was as to how much certain people, places, and events have impacted you. I encourage you to outline your story. Be as detailed as you want and write it out. Then, take it a step further and share it verbally. Tell it out loud to come person or a group of people, if you have the opportunity, then relish in the beauty of a life that is yours – the beauty of a life that has been shaped by resilience and growth.

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