Three years ago, I wrote a post titled, “Own What You Know“. In it, I described how there were things I wasn’t taught as a kid. As my kids were growing up, I came to realize parents do the best they can based on what they know.
“Based on what they know”
About my own childhood and not being taught certain things, I said,
What I lack doesn’t define me. I learned. I’m a learner. I’m still learning. Never be afraid to try something new is my mantra.
Owning what you know is about a mindset. It’s about recognizing what you have and know and being thankful for it. It’s easy to focus on what we lack, or in my case – what I wasn’t taught, and in so doing we can lose sight of the blessings of what we do have or know, big or small.
Over the past few months, however, I’ve been meditating on a variation of that statement. This time, it’s a mindset of “Own Your Story”.
Several time over the past few weeks, I’ve typed or said, “Own your story, but don’t let it own you.” Seems innocuous at first glance, but when you let it ruminate in your psyche for a bit, oh my.
Even as I sit here, I am in awe of that statement. My mind begins thinking of posts past that remind me of ‘owning my story’.
In January 2018, I wrote “Where Do You Dwell?”, saying,
When I’m frustrated or angry, sad or confused, and the reasons for those reactions don’t make any sense, I need to step back and ask myself where am I dwelling, what am I dwelling upon.
Don’t Let the Pain Win from May of that same year brought,
As evidenced by my tears today, the pain is still there. Even after 40 years, it’s still deep in my soul.
2018 was a good year. From July’s “Happiness Is…“
Whatever you may be going through, it won’t last. It won’t always stay that way. You will get THROUGH it. Though the process may feel long, eventually it will end.
One of the most important posts I’ve written was just last year, “Scrolling through the Heart-line“.
Our mouths may not be literally speaking as much during this pandemic, but our timelines sure are. And, what we say (or share) says a lot about the condition of our hearts.
Looking back at some of these old posts, I see a work in progress. I see myself working through the process of “owning my story”. I thought I had already ‘owned it’, but these posts say otherwise.
But, what does it mean to “own your story”?
Owning your story is like giving your testimony in church.
Testimony time was something they used to do in churches here in America. Folks would get up – think open mic night – take the microphone and tell the audience a testimony. It could be about how God saved them or delivered them from an addiction or just a simple story of how God made a way, an answered prayer.
I knew there had to be a song about it and thankfully I found one (above). Part of the lyrics go like this:
Giving your testimony is telling someone YOUR STORY. No one else can tell it like you because it’s YOUR STORY. Nobody can describe it the way you do because it’s YOUR STORY. No one knows it because you’re the one who lived it.
It’s our story so why don’t we tell anyone about it? (Side note: I think churches need to bring that practice back of giving a testimony. Just saying!)
Maybe it’s because instead of us owning the story, the story owns us.
Ouch! That one hurt, Sunny.
I am continually learning about my story. Parts of it used to own me. Now, I own them. I share it here or in conversations, when appropriate. Before, I would be too afraid or ashamed to share those parts of me.
And that’s the crux of it all right there. We don’t talk about things because of fear or shame.
We can’t tell someone because they might hurt us like so-and-so did. We aren’t walking in victory over addictions because we’ve given in to them now & then or we’re still tempted. We aren’t telling someone how we overcame challenges because we aren’t exactly sure how we made it through so we’re afraid to say it was God. We aren’t giving our testimony of healing because the doctors or medicine healed us not God, right? We don’t tell someone about our salvation story because they might not understand what God ‘saved’ us from or they don’t believe in God in the first place.
We’re afraid or ashamed to tell, therefore the story owns us.
Each day, week or month, I am having to confront this in me. I struggle with belief and doubt. I’m hyper-critical of myself and that critical spirit (mindset) can carry over toward others. I can easily begin to lose trust in what I think and, ultimately, in God.
I could sit here and tell you about people or stories from throughout my life that contributed to these thoughts and actions. It would be me pointing the finger of blame at others instead of pointing others to God with my testimony.
When my story owns me it means I am dwelling in pain and hurt, fear and shame. When I own my story, I am filled with faith and conviction, unafraid and confident in my God.
This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long .
“Blessed Assurance” is the name of the song and it’s all about Jesus. We have the blessing of being able to know Jesus. I am His and He is mine. We are in a relationship. When we come to know Him as our Savior, we have the assurance that we will live forever WITH Him in heaven.
There will be no more fear or shame in heaven where Jesus is. There will be no more pain or hurt. It won’t feel like “hell on earth” like it sometimes does here. But, until that day comes, I don’t want to just exist while I wait for either His return or He calls me home.
Existing is letting the story own you. It dictates how you live your life. Don’t let your story dictate how you live this life on earth. Own the pain. Own the hurt. Own the fear. Own the shame.
And tell somebody about it. I tell a little of my story here in “Standing Up As I Am“. Otherwise, in nearly every post I write, I’m telling my story.
Own your story…
but don’t let it own you.