HOW TO WRITE YOUR OWN STORY
Even when you know God isn't finished with you yet
The following is an excerpt from Instead of Shame…
How to Write Your Own Story
The word testimony is defined as an affidavit or an affirmation. It is a witness or a declaration, a statement of evidence. My own testimony is an account of how God set me free from the bonds of shame and hopelessness. I use my story as a prototype for the freedom process. It’s an example, a model to follow—a prototype.
Broken people often feel isolated and alone. They believe they cannot share how they feel, that no one would understand. An overwhelming sense of detachment prevails with the conviction that they’re the only one who suffers from such confusion.
Hearing my story helps people to relate. It breaks down barriers and brings hope, enabling people to see they are not alone in their affliction. If God can do that for her, then maybe He can do that for me.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. —Revelation 12:11 (KJV)
Here is a promise that believers can and will overcome the enemy. The blood of Jesus is central to our story, as it was the blood that purchased our salvation and provided for our healing and deliverance. Everything we need for corporate and personal victory is provided by the blood of Jesus Christ.
According to this scripture passage, however, there is a second element that is a factor in overcoming: the word of their testimony.
It would appear from this passage that a testimony is a powerful tool, a means to overcome the enemy. Now that’s saying something! And all along, you thought your story wasn’t worth telling . . .
Everyone has a testimony; you have one. Your testimony is your story, the statement of your life, where you’ve been and where you are now, and what God has done for you. It’s not meant to be held a secret but shared. Although your testimony is never a finished work until your days on Earth are done, it’s a valuable commodity at any given point in time. Your story can be used to bless and encourage others even when you know God isn’t finished with you yet. You don’t have to have your act perfectly together to have a testimony of value
How to Write Your Testimony
Condensing your life history into a short story that others can read in a matter of minutes requires a bit of courage, some humility, and a heavy hand on the editing. Keep it simple and honest.
Take your time as you write your story. I don’t suggest that you try to finish this project in one day, one week, or even one month. But allow yourself time for insight and reflection as you record your story, even as it continues to unfold. Your testimony an ongoing effort, subject to updates at any point in time.
Start with your childhood and continue in chronological order of events. In this study, the focus is on childhood concerns. While you will want to touch on all the high points (and low ones too) of your entire life up to now, be sure to include your early years and the events which impacted your emotions, attitudes, and perceptions as a child.
Do not concentrate on feelings. Don’t get hung up on disclosing all the details or expounding excessively on how you felt about an experience. A simple statement about what happened and how you reacted is sufficient.
Try not to throw anyone under the bus. Respect others’ privacy, even if they have caused you tremendous hardship and pain. If you must state facts that put others in a bad light, you may wish to change the abuser’s name or relation to you—or perhaps not. Protect your own privacy as well.
Focus on yourself. For example, aanother way to say, “My father abandoned me when I was in first grade,” might be, “I grew up in a single-parent household.”
Write about what mattered. Give attention to those events and circumstances that made a mark, like turning points in time.
Use discretion concerning delicate situations. You do not need to describe the details of certain traumatic events, such as sexual abuse. You don’t need to explaineverything to the reader. This is just for you and will only be shared if you want to share it.
- Be real. Be as genuine and transparent as you can.
I’m convinced that the best way to write your story is simply to begin. You don’t have to be a great writer to write your testimony. Even if you’re naturally good at writing and journaling, the following list can be used as a starting point to help you write your story. Add all information that you feel is important.
Where were you born?
Tell about your family. Did you have both parents? Were your parents married, divorced? How many brothers and sisters did you have, and what was the birth order? If you didn’t have a family, then tell about that.
Where did you live? City or country, apartment or house? Did you move around a lot?
Describe your home life.
Tell about your mom’s personality. What about your dad’s?
How did you relate to your mom and dad? The rest of your family? How did you feel about your family?
Where did you go to school? What kind of student were you? How did you interact with your classmates? Were you studious? Adventurous?
Tell about the economics in your home growing up. Was your family rich, poor, or somewhere in between? Were your needs met?
Was spirituality part of your childhood? Did you go to church? What kind of relationship with God did you have as a child and teenager?
Tell about your friends. Did you make friends easily, have few friends, were you a loner? Did you have a lot of peer pressure, and how did you respond?
What subjects interested you in school? Did you excel in anything? Sports? Music? Math?
What was important to your family? What did your family do to- gether for fun? What were they known for in the community? If you say “nothing,” that is fine.
What was important to you? What were your dreams growing up?
Was there a traumatic event or adverse childhood experience that changed you? Did it reoccur? (If not a specific event, was there a prevailing condition?) How did you respond?
How did you react when bad things happened to you? Did you expe- rience abuse, neglect, or adverse childhood conditions? How did you cope with situations that were out of your control?
Describe your teen years. Who/what was your most significant influ- ence during that time?
What did you do after high school? What were your plans for your life?
What did you value the most as a young adult? Education, establish- ing a career, travel, romance? Starting a family? Partying? Money? Cars, boats, etc.? Feeling important? Ministry? Helping others?
Describe your relationships throughout your adult life. Did you relate well with others? Were you needy? Did you feel you were being con- trolled or in control? Did you think other people liked you? Were you angry? Afraid? Outgoing? Shy?
Did you develop any habits or destructive behaviors that you could not seem to break? (Chemical dependencies, promiscuous behavior, serving as a doormat for others, chronic lying, criminal behavior, etc.)
What were the major turning points in your life, in your childhood?
What has God done for you so far?
Where are you in your life now? What are your greatest successes? What are your greatest frustrations? What is your greatest hope?
Describe your current relationship with Jesus Christ.
What do you see for your future? How did your past help to create a path for your future?
I suggest creating a separate journal or notebook where you can share your thoughts freely and think about the questions. Ask God to guide you in this journey and you can be assured that He will be with you every step of the way.
Author, The Armor Series and The Freedom Class
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