And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? (1 Cor. 14:8)
The other day at Starbucks, I saw a group of high school girls wearing tee shirts with this message: “Have a voice, not an echo.”
We all have a unique story about how Jesus has found, led, changed, and motivated us. We can’t tell anyone else’s story, and no one else can tell ours.
Even though our God-stories may have much in common, we must not compare our story to others. As soon as we begin to compare we’re prone to think our story is either better or worse than someone else’s—and neither judgment is helpful to our relationship with God.
When we compare we have put our eyes on ourselves or on someone else and have taken them away from the source of all stories—God. The hero in my story is not I. The hero of your story is not you. The hero is the Author of life. The hero is our Savior.
Just like we must not compare our stories, we have no business trying to copy anyone else’s story. We can be inspired by how God has touched someone else, but we must not attempt to impose his or her story upon our own. There’s no copied or second-hand faith. When we try to copy someone else’s story we are saying the ways God has come to us aren’t good enough.
The most powerful and persuasive ways to share our story is from our own experiences. When we share our Jesus-stories, Jesus becomes more real and more present to ourselves and to others.
When I saw the message, “Have a voice, not an echo,” on those girls’ tee shirts, I thought of Paul’s encouragement to play our bugle distinctly. When we tell our story using our own voice, we will not be an imitation or an echo. When we tell our own story about the unique ways God has moved in our lives, we can rally ourselves to face into our own battles and we can inspire others to face into theirs.
- Do you know your own distinct voice? Or, were you never really given permission to have one?
- What are you own Jesus-stories? What are the ways and times when He has been real and present to you? Do you share those stories with others?
- How do you respond when I say, “Have a voice, not an echo; be your own unique self, not an imitation?” Are you excited or intimidated? Empowered or overwhelmed?