- By Alisa Clark
- Published 04/11/2011
When life gets hard, we lose touch with the power of our own story. We forget to expect more from our lives and the impact our lives can have on others. Expecting more is hard when the everyday ups and downs of life cause us to lose touch with God’s purpose and plan for our lives. One way we can stay connected with God’s plan for our lives is by writing and sharing our Spiritual Autobiography. So many of us want to share our journey but are overwhelmed by how to get our story told. Questions such as these daunt us: “What, exactly, should I share? What parts of my story should be left unsaid? What mistakes should I avoid as I tell my story? Do I need to be an accomplished writer to take on the task of the Spiritual Autobiographer?” With a little direction, the steps you need to take to share your Spiritual Memoir can become a lot clearer and a lot less intimidating. Changing lives with your story begins with an understanding of your mission. What is the primary encouragement that your life experience offers others? By identifying challenges you have overcome, or are overcoming, you can find the answers to this question. Make a list of these challenges and summarize the ways they can become an encouragement for others. See if you can organize this list into a short summary that highlights the ways you believe your story offers hope and encouragement to others. This is a great way to formulate a mission statement that will help guide you as you share your journey. Now that you have outlined your reasons for sharing, you might describe more fully the nature of the challenges you have faced or are still facing. Here is where you let others know that your spiritual story is not so different from theirs. Be specific about what obstacles you have faced and the ways God has lead you through, over or around them. Don’t be afraid to be honest about the ups and downs. They won’t scare people away. In fact, the truth about your life is what will let others know that they are not alone.
other element you can add to your Spiritual Autobiography is the life lessons you have learned. For each challenge we face, God offers a lesson filled with wisdom. Let others know what your “obstacles” have taught you. This is the place where lives are really changed. Others will learn from your life lessons! They will also find hope as they discover that God was present in your most difficult places: the greatest encouragement our Spiritual Autobiographies offer others. Also consider letting your story reach towards the future. People can relate to an unfinished journey because they are still on theirs too. Let others know that you are a work in progress who still makes mistakes and still has a lot to learn. A Spiritual Memoir is an organism that is alive, changing, growing and healing just as you are! Consider allowing your story be messy, broken and imperfect. Allow yourself permission to make mistakes and don’t be afraid to let those mistakes be seen. Blunders you have made, bad decisions and “failures” make you a real person. Grammatical errors do not stop others from seeing what God has done in your life. This is not an English essay you are writing: it’s OK if everything doesn’t make perfect sense. If a sentence is really a fragment God can still work. If we wait for the perfect people to encourage the world with their stories we will find ourselves awfully alone. Perfectionism is a trap that keeps you from helping others with the encouragements your life has for others. Get out of that trap by allowing yourself permission to make mistakes, and you’ll discover that your story is not a mistake at all!
Finally, remember that your story is big even when it feels small. Don’t live in a small place where you accept the lie that your life can’t change the lives of others. Don’t be afraid to pick up your pen and begin to write your testimony. Expect more from your life. Expect more from God. He’s big enough to use your journey to encourage others. He’s powerful enough to use your story to powerfully change the lives of those around you. Expect big things from your Spiritual Autobiography. Expect big things from your journey shared with others and then share it!
Alisa E. Clark believes in the power of spiritual autobiography. Her website invites viewers to create and share one’s own spiritual memoir and allows readers to learn more about Alisa’s own spiritual autobiography: Dancing in the Doghouse. You can learn more by visiting http://www.journeyoncanvas.com.
by Alisa Clark