We’re unique. Your background is different from mine. Even the similarities have a twist to them. All our talents, skills, and roles progressing towards something. What is it?
Know Your Role
What parts are you playing in life? Look at the roles you have in other’s lives. I’m a follower of Christ, husband, author, supervisor, and involved in ministries at church. Make a list.
Did you always do these?
What Led Up To Them?
There is a learning curve to everything. A writer just starting out doesn’t have his own voice yet. The voice is a blend of his influences and from it a unique voice emerges. The learning never stops though as time passes.
That’s only speaking of the good times. Our storms in life play a role as well. The learning curve is in them, too. Pastor Rod taught a principle on how we can best serve others; the storm you survived is a clue to God’s plan for your ministry. Your ministry will be born in your storm.
Time For A Trip
Where do you place the most credibility? In someone who’s classroom educated, on-the-job trained, or gone through both? It’s the experience that comforts people. Someone who’s trained can tell you why something is happening. The one who’s been there can empathize and walk with you.
Look back at your life. Start with where you are now and work backwards. I teach and mentor others. What experiences, education, and people helped me get to this point?
Going through, and later serving in GriefShare is one experience. Watching my own mentors, Pastors Jaime and Rod, and Daisy (the most encouraging person I know). Coupled with intensive personal Bible Study to figure things out.
This was after my redemption. What about before?
After my godson’s death, I was broken. Pastor Jaime was there through it all then as well. Striving to understand, I threw myself into research. I studied human behavior and trauma. Read books on what violence does to the mind. Studied our natural coping mechanisms. Looked into and applied the Stoic Philosophy as a personal coping mechanism.
Telling Your Story has the background from before this. A divorce that led to a broken home and custody battle, one home filled with abusive behavior, and bullies at school. This was a brief summer storm compared to the hurricane that was approaching years in the future.
It prepared me in some way. Haven’t pinned down exactly how yet. I can confidently tell you this, the hard times give you the battle-tested experience to help others.
“Adversity doesn’t build character. It reveals it.” That’s deterministic if you leave it at that. A big enough storm will also level all but the sturdiest of things.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matthew 7:24-27 NIV
If nothing is left, consider rebuilding on better ground. If it remains standing, then only the weakness is blown away. James and Paul taught how you grow in storms.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 NIV
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4 NIV
If you’re using your experiences to help others now, you’ll get better at it. If not, then you’re on the way to finding it, and it may be unexpected. I once thought I would be a political pundit. Never envisioned this. Take your experiences, the good and the bad, and use them to help others.