I have no interest in giving you an account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. – Romans 15:18 (The Message)
I have been uncomfortable with trying to tell my story. I honestly still have pride and selfishness as character flaws that haven’t gone away. I know these exist in me and therefore add to my hesitancy to tell my story. Basically, I don’t trust my own motivations for telling my story. I don’t want to make it about me. I want it to be like the Bob Marley work of my youth: a “Redemption Song.”
I took this to my counselor and my sponsor to get some guidance on this. My sponsor as I believe I have previously stated has cautioned me about not being willing to share my story. That by not doing so, I am not allowing God to use it for His glory. So I am not sure what to do here. They gave me good advice and straightened out my warped thinking. So here goes.
First, I should tell my story if I need to tell it to get more out of me. Will it benefit me in my own recovery to tell my story in the situation I am in. Is there a purpose for me to share it to aid in where I am in working the steps. Like I did in step five when I shared it with a friend who isn’t in recovery, as an act of admission of my wrong doings. I should consider the situation and see if there is a need for me to share based upon my own recovery.
Second, I should tell my story if the other person will benefit from hearing it. Recently, I had this opportunity come up when speaking with someone new in one of our recovery meetings. I saw that he was struggling in starting to work through the steps and in maintaining any long periods of sobriety. So I prayed about it and really felt the need to share my own difficulties in entering recovery and staying here. I was able to share my experience, strength and hope with him. I was able to talk to him about the need for counseling, accountability, recovery meetings, checking in with other guys, and having a sponsor in my own recovery. I told him to take what you like and leave the rest. And he did.
Finally, my story has to be relevant. In other words, I don’t need to share it just to hear myself talk, to bring attention to myself for no purpose. There has to be a reason and a purpose to share it. In step nine while making amends, I have shared my story with a couple of people who had the right to know my story. It was relevant to me making amends with them. So I did. It was uncomfortable and difficult and definitely relevant. I didn’t share my story to make excuses for my actions and the damage I caused them. I shared my story because my story was relevant in the context of making amends.
Three guidelines to sharing my story:
- Do I need to tell it to get more out of me
- Will the other person benefit from hearing it
- Is it relevant
I can live with those. Otherwise, as my sponsor told me before, anything else is probably wasting my story, my “redemption” story.