Our uniqueness as individuals is an exciting and empowering idea. We all have special gifts. God sees and loves us exactly as we are. But does the blessing of individuality start and stop with us? Suppose the traits and tendencies that make you unlike anyone else were also intended to create a sort of language others could relate to—a way of talking and being and living that people could translate and use to find more meaning in their own life stories.
Sharing what the writer Brené Brown calls our “faith narratives” enables others to move forward. As I reflect on the power of our stories and how they translate, I especially love this passage from Brown’s 2015 bestseller Rising Strong, where she describes her research on shame and vulnerability—and how people reclaimed their stories:
Over half of the participants who talked about experiencing shame in their faith histories also found resilience and healing through spirituality. The majority of them changed their churches or their beliefs, but spirituality and faith remain important parts of their lives. They believed that the sources of shame arose from the earthly, man-made, human-interpreted rules or regulations and the social/community expectations of religion rather than their personal relationships with God or the divine.
Then Brown gets to the point: Our faith narratives must be protected, and we must remember that no person is ordained to judge our divinity or to write the story of our spiritual worthiness.
Our stories matter. Your story matters. This Sunday we’re blessed to have our own Michelle Hughes preaching about the sacredness of story. We look forward to seeing our Chicago Gatherers in place and ready to rejoice in the power of our diverse narratives—and for those of us unable to be there in person, catching the service later in the week when it’s posted on our YouTube channel. Don’t miss this powerful worship experience!
With much love,