I’ve always been a pretty fantastic storyteller. Although my mother would probably call it “embellisher” or “drama-queen” or something like that, but I prefer storyteller- it sounds more legitimate. Even when I was just a little nugget, I had a knack for making up elaborate stories (I was also a pretty good liar too, although I’m not as proud about that one). I liked the reactions I would get when I told crazy stories, but even when I was telling mundane ones about nothing, I always added a little somethin-somethin to spice it up.

A simple story about going to the store to get a stick of gum would have probably involved some awkward and judgmental-appearing glance from the cashier and me thinking “Step off bro, I just want some gum! You don’t know my life!” Which is easily more interesting than “I went to the store and bought some gum because I wanted to.” I began to think that a story wasn’t a good story if it didn’t have some “pizzaz” or “umph.” And man did I get a little more peeved than I should have when someone told a story that had neither of those things.

My “life story” or testimony was no exception to this.

Blah blah grew up going to church.

Blah blah grew closer to God.

Blah blah now I walk with Him.

That’s how I used to view my story. I actually hated telling my “life story” to people because I felt like it had no value. Like it wasn’t a very good story. I never did drugs, I never drank, and I remained a virgin until marriage. Typical. BORING. I would think to myself, “Who is going to be encouraged by that? Who will even want to listen to that?” I thought there wasn’t anything exciting about my story, not like other people’s stories. Other people would share their stories of addiction and freedom and coming to Christ because he saved them. I heard a story of a young girl who was abused her whole life until one night she had a vision of a man dressed in white that said that she was not alone and would be rescued. Then two weeks later she was rescued by CPS, and now lives her life for Christ.  I thought, “no fair…I want a story like that.”

I want to be rescued!      I want to be saved!                 I want to be freed!

One thing that these stories have in common is thatGod is the hero of their story, not them. God was doing the saving, God was pursuing, and God was the one freeing. I looked back over my story…and guess what? I was the hero. It was all about me, me, me!

You see, the danger in having a “typical, boring testimony” is that you can miss the places God has rescued and saved you, and it can lead you to think that you found God, not the other way around.

I reflected over my story, and graciously, God revealed to me the places that he saved, rescued, and freed me. Turns out they were there all along, but I was too prideful to see them. God has saved me from experiencing the hurt of giving myself fully to another that I will not get to spend the rest of my life with, God has rescued me from going down a dark trail of addiction, lying, stealing, and dependence, and God has freed me from living as a slave to sin for the rest of my life. God had found me and brought me to Him, not the other way around.

My thinking was so contrary to the gospel and who God is. We do not move towards God as if he were a target to reach; our God is not a stagnant God. He constantly moves towards us as humans to show His love for us. Our God saves. Our God rescues. And our God frees! It’s who He is, and it’s in His nature.

One of my favorite examples of this is in Luke 15. Jesus tells a story of a father who has two sons. One is pretty diligent and does whatever he is told, and the other is kind of a chump. He is your typical bad-boy, thinking he is too good for this life and one day asks his father for his inheritance and takes off. (Sorry, that’s the abridged version, but I encourage you to read the whole story for yourself!) Any-who, he ends up partying away all of his inheritance and slinks back to his father’s land hoping to return as one of his servants because he doesn’t feel like he even deserves to be called his son anymore. But the beauty of this story is in the response of the father.

20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Whether you see it or not,God is the hero of your story because he has always run towards you, and I don’t know about you, but I’m still a long, long, LONG ways off, and he sees me and still has compassion on me.

He’s a much better storyteller than I ever will be, as he is the author and perfecter of my faith.

And that, my friends, is the beautiful, and truly exciting story.

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