You have a story. And, your story holds power.
Once you unlock the truth written in your story, you could unlock yourself from cycles of bad habits, bad relationships, and more. If this idea feels overwhelming, listen in as we take the process one line at a time, one chapter at a time.
So, what is your story? Grab a pen and paper. Take a deep breath.
And, let’s begin.
“One of the bravest things we can do is tell our stories, own our stories and love ourselves through it.” – Brené Brown
Emotionally, spiritually, it’s really unhealthy for us to be living disconnected from what’s true and real about our past and our present.
One of the beautiful things that happens in those places that God reveals to us is they become strengths. When God gets involved with what wounded us and hurt us, He begins to heal us. He also makes it a strength that we can pay forward and impart to others. That’s such a beautiful thing He does.
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher
When you consider spiritual coaching, journaling, or a conversation with a friend, your words feel limited; what a gift to be able to sit with somebody who might have another word to offer you to add to your story, or to build on it or unpack it a little bit more. And to ask good questions. Questions that give you freedom to answer with more than just yes or no, that encourage you to be curious and encourage you to feel safe being curious.
When you get in touch with loving that younger self, you have a current, present love for yourself too.
Powerful Principle: What we fill our minds with creates our thoughts, our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings determine our behavior.
Story Work Ideas for You:
Ask God to be with you as you reflect on things that you believe about your story.
What are some things that you might believe that are not true about yourself?
Think back on being a little child, things that happened that you might have adapted a belief about.
You might even believe you have a bad story or no story.
You might believe that you’re not acceptable if you don’t always get things right or that you’re not lovable if you don’t please people all the time.
Just ask God,
“What am I believing?”
“God, what is true?”
Take some deep breaths and listen.
Take time to write down a couple of things that God wants you to know are true.
Work with a small, close circle of friends in this exercise.
Begin to write out what feels logical, significant seasons of your life by age? By school?
Remember Key events, memories, people
Then tell your friends and listen to their stories.
Use the microphone in your Notes app and record yourself telling a story or memory. Play it back and listen for what you needed, for what you believe to be true about yourself because of that reflection.
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This Episode’s Transcription
Story work is so valuable. Understanding how you operate can really come from understanding your story. So on this episode of sacred by design, we are asking, what is your story? Yeah, we’ll explore the power of owning our stories. And for some of you, this may be very new. For us, it is not we both love stories and and love the power of stories. But why does it matter to our sacred design? For us to own our story?
Yeah. Going through life being disconnected from our stories have is a very different experience than if you connect. So it’s interesting. A lot of times, when I meet with a new client, I say, I’d love to hear your story. And they go, What do you mean? What do you mean, I don’t have a story. But we have a story. We just don’t know what it is. And actually, we’re attached to a story. Even if we’re not aware of it, we’re attached to our story. And so, you know, there are certain things that happen to us factual things. But what’s important is how we interpret that, how we interpret what has happened to us, and how we carry that with us. And so both of these things are important to explore, especially, especially when we realize that we are living a life that could be based on what’s not true. Oh, right. Something happens, we interpret it, we determine something is true, and it’s actually not true. And it influences our life creates a lot of anxiety. And so knowing our story, exploring our story helps alleviate some of that.
Wow. Yeah. Because that really influences our patterns and behaviors, our likes and interests. Absolutely. But how do we even get in touch with our stories?
Well, one thing I want to say for sure is, there’s not one right way to do this. Like, I don’t want people to be like, Oh, what’s the formula, let me write it down. That’s great. And it was, it’s so interesting, because just the other day, I was talking to a client that I’ve worked with for years. And I know her story. And we’ve been working together on it for a long time. But there were primarily in the beginning, we were dealing with crisis crisis, parts of her story. But there were parts of her story that she was afraid to go into, or that she wasn’t even aware of. But she was becoming aware of it during our time together. And so just the other day, we began to process some of those things. And it was challenging. I know, it was, you know, I had, I had to literally like, you know, patiently encourage her and walk her through it. But some of what came to light was so powerful. And she has some really difficult memories from her family of origin, and lots and lots of shame, lots of lots of shame. But when she started to get some insight and invite God into it, and trust him, she tasted freedom for the first time about some of these things. And so, you know, today, it’s going to be great to talk about how someone can do this on their own, and how you can also do it with a spiritual quote, coach with a friend with a mentor. But, you know, it’s exciting for me to think about all the ways that we don’t know how to do that, and how we can learn to do that.
Okay, so what are the ways how do we do this? Yeah.
The very first time I started to get in touch with my story, I just sat down and began to write out what seemed kind of logical. And maybe I even read this somewhere, you know, significant seasons of my life, zero to five, or six to 1010 to 14, you know, like those four to five year spans. And then after I wrote it out, I tried to remember some of those, those timeframes, I tried to remember key events, memories, people, and I just started to write it down. And then I told a couple of very dear friends. And we all we were doing it together. There was a small group of us that decided to do this together. Then later in life, I began working with the spiritual director, and really kind of getting more deeply in touch with some of the powerful memories that were coming up. And, you know, when we do spiritual coaching, that’s one of the first things we always Say, you know is tell us your story. Because it’s such a beautiful way. Like when I was telling my story to a spiritual coach or director I felt, you know, and she was a very good listener, I felt so affirmed. So listen to it made it what was scary, less scary. And so we’re always inviting clients to tell us that. And we listen to them and also to what God’s doing in their life, and is doing in their life currently around their story. So we can reflect back some of that to them. And they can be like, oh, you know, helping them put some of the pieces of the puzzle together.
If I can put a big word in here, because we’re talking about something more. Not simple, but more basic is the idea of story. neuroplasticity. Yes. When you when you talk about writing, or journaling, and actually going through and writing out with words, the things that you remember the key events, the emotions tied to it. If you’re, if your story is stuck in your brain, and it’s hard, the practice of journaling and using your words creates neuroplasticity, it just smooths out makes it a little bit more flexible, and things that maybe you didn’t feel like seeing or remembering all of a sudden become more accessible,
this beautiful thing that God created neuroplasticity.
Like, what a thing? Yeah, but then how, what does it look like to own parts of your story once you are able to access those parts?
Yeah. It’s been so important in my life to do that. And Brene Brown has said something really profound. She says one of the bravest things we can do is tell our stories, own our stories and love ourselves through it. Right? Self Compassion, we talk a lot about that. So I didn’t realize how much I was living out of anxiety and shame. Early in my 20s. By wanting to be successful in my business that I owned at the time, I didn’t know how driven I was. But I was, and I wasn’t making room forgot in my life. And when difficult things started to happen, I began to realize, Oh, I think I need God. And then I started to invite him into my story. And he let me see that I was pushing down so much of that expectation to succeed. Of that you’re only you’re only worth something if you achieve an interesting interestingly, as a new Christian, I wanted to present a certain image. And my past, I was ashamed of my past. I and you know, we can talk a lot more about that. But I did a lot of things as a young person that I was embarrassed about, especially as a new Christian. And so I just shut that all down, called it bad, and presented this new image of I’m successful, I’m fine, everything’s good. And that didn’t work really well, pretending.
And it sounds like really well, it sounds like we can do a lot of pretending
I certainly have. I certainly have. If we don’t like what we think is true about us, you know, that shame, then we’ll create a new image, that’s that false self, you know, and we all do it, but we’re just not even aware of it. We don’t know there’s a true self that we are avoiding. And that there’s this false self that we’ve created, and we’re presenting to the world. But emotionally, spiritually, it’s really unhealthy for us to be living disconnected, mean, obviously, right? To be disconnected from what’s true, and, and real about our past and our present and living out what’s false. So, getting in touch with all of this is so important. And God created us to live out of that true self. So we’re not aware that we’re living out of this false narrative and believing things that aren’t true. So it’s just really important to get in touch with that false narrative.
So let’s talk a little bit more about a false narrative. Can you explain what a false narrative is? And what kind of things we believe that are not true?
Yeah. So a false narrative is those things that we begin to believe about our experience that aren’t true. For example, maybe one of our parents, a key caregiver was distant from us. That happens, we conclude, we’re not lovable. They’re distant from us, because we’re lovable, therefore we have to earn our love. Well, you know, that becomes something we live out of. That’s a very powerful thing. Very, like you said earlier to fix so many things, what we what we think what we do, how we live I’m, I’m unworthy of love. So I have to earn it every step of the way. And this kind of belief can affect so many parts of our life, including our sexual lives. And that was certainly something that happened to me. You know, I felt like I needed to earn a man’s love by giving him my body that created all kinds of problems. Yeah, all kinds of problems. Yeah, that lasted for a long time. Until I got in touch with what was really going on. I didn’t know, I really didn’t know, the complexity of what was going on internally with me. I just felt kind of on automatic pilot.
Oh, that’s good. Yeah. Can I ask what was it that prompted you to even start visiting your own story?
Unknown Speaker 10:31
was. I don’t know why I think it was God knocking on my door saying how you’re living isn’t working. You know, I was really off the rails in terms of giving myself to men and, and thinking that that was, you know, if I could just find a man, if I could just, you know, that would complete me. And, and somehow God was just becoming bringing me to an awareness that that’s not, that’s not good for you. And, you know, I think it was kind of mystical, you know, that how God can sometimes, you know, I knew him as a younger person. And then I kind of forgot about him, but he didn’t forget about me. And so he began to bring some of these things. To my mind.
That’s great. I pray that whoever’s listening can feel a prompting on their heart. Yeah. To consider my what might be pretending.
Oh, yeah. And maybe they can even say, Lord, is there something I’m not aware of? Could you help me see it? That’s pretty powerful prayer, you know, show me, let me see what’s going on. And we’ll get, we can even pray about that, at the end, you know,
Oh, that’d be great. I know, for myself, there’s sometimes even just taking a line from your story, not that you’re taking the whole thing at once. But I was mute as a little girl, for about 18 months, I didn’t speak a word over you. Three to just about five. And the story was, the story was that I couldn’t decide on a language I grew up in a multilingual home. And so I was confused. And so and, and so that kind of just was the story. And we just kind of laughed it off and laughed it off.
Unknown Speaker 12:23
then to do story, work revealed. Something that happened when I was little, that took my voice away. And then I didn’t feel safe to use my voice. And just like you’re saying that God doesn’t forget about us. And he pursues us. The fact that I’m sitting here, talking with a microphone in front of my face, to use my voice to invite others to look at their story and consider
Unknown Speaker 12:52
And consider the freedom and that invitation of what is true. It takes a lot of courage, or does, it takes a lot of patience.
And it’s actually one of the beautiful things that happens. Those places that God reveals to us become strengths. Like, just like you’re saying, you know, he helped you put in those pieces of what happened to you. And then when you receive healing from him, somehow there is this kind of natural spiritual desire to pay it forward.
Unknown Speaker 13:26
So that’s so beautiful, what wounded us and hurt us. When God gets involved and begins to heal us. We can actually not only, you know, heal it, but make it a strength that we can pay forward and impart to others. So that’s such a beautiful thing he does
it is. I love that Jesus taught with story. Yeah. I love that. Our lives are the stories that when we tried to invite Him in, sincerely, and intentionally, it just gives a real purpose shift to how you’re looking at your life and to how you’re moving in your life. It’s really powerful. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 14:05
yeah. I just have
to, like, breathe for a moment. It’s, I just really want women to hear how valuable their voices and to really understand that their story holds so much power and purpose, right. That’s why we’re here this matters
does. You know, one of the most beautiful things that can come up so often in spiritual coaching is there’s never been anyone like you ever before in the world. And there never will be again, like you and you are created for this time in this place. For a purpose. And there’s an it’s completely unique, and it’s given to you by God. And so that’s and it’s so affirming, and exciting to think you know, like because it’s free really true of every single person. And we think we have to have some grand story, we have to have some grand accomplishment. But it’s absolutely not true is the simple things that but if we really get in touch with it, it just changes how we see ourselves and other people and how we live every day.
Unknown Speaker 15:17
And it’s so good. Yeah.
So get out your paper and your pencil. Please come in and use it. One other thing Brene had mentioned, I’m going to ruin his name is it Ludvig victim, Stein, Vic Stein. And he said the limit of our words is means the limit of our worlds. And so I think that when when you consider spiritual coach coaching, when you consider journaling, when you consider having a conversation with a friend. And your words feel very limited. What a gift to be able to sit with somebody who’s, who might have another word to offer you to add to your story, or to build on it or to unpack it a little bit more and
to ask good questions, questions that give you freedom to answer with more than just yes or no. And, and encourage you to be curious, and to feel safe being curious.
Yeah, that’s so good. The other thing Jesus did, aside from stories is ask questions. Yeah. Yes, a lot of questions.
He definitely did. And he still is, he still is.
Unknown Speaker 16:30
Story work is good.
And you know, we want to give ourselves time, like, you know, and some people don’t feel comfortable journaling. And so don’t you know, you don’t have to call it journaling, you can just sit down and write down some numbers, you know, like zero to five and then be like, how would I know it? You know, it doesn’t have to have to be like, Oh, I have to enter into this practice of journaling. Give yourself time, do it, how you want to do it?
Unknown Speaker 16:55
What are some other ways?
Well, I like sometimes to talk into my phone and record things, rather than write. So you can do that easily in your note app. You know, you can use a microphone, and you can just talk. I really like to talk and you don’t like to write, you could do that. Yeah.
The words are important. Yeah. Because then you begin to hear if you do it that way, which I really love. You hear what you’re telling yourself, or you hear what you’ve been told. And then you can start if you can, you know, start offering yourself those questions with kindness and with curious patients. That’s the thing. Yeah. So where do we go from here? Where it how do we? What’s the next step for our listeners?
Well, one thing that really, really was powerful for me was writing a letter to my younger self. And one of the things that we do too, and in coaching as as, as a practice, you know, as we do some safe place prayer, where we allow people to go to a safe, beautiful place, or a place that they would describe as safe, and then meet with God meet with Jesus. And we have this practice where we invite their younger self in it. And it’s always very interesting. To get to know that younger self to have compassion and understanding. So I had, you know, I started to write that letter, I had thrown that dysfunctional person of my teens and 20s to the curb, like I’m done with her and created this new image, you know, this person that had it together? Hadn’t been through pain. And so you know, if you want me to, I could I could read that letter. I could read that letter. i Okay. Yes. Okay. Let me let me and then, you know, maybe after I read it, you know, I hope that it touches people, I hope that it maybe even stir something up. But we don’t want to leave you there. So we could, we could pray together. I could maybe lead us in a time of how to pray over some of the things that are coming up. So here’s what I wrote.
Unknown Speaker 19:14
Sweet girl, you
were so scared. Never knowing what might happen next. The one early morning your dad came home, something was wrong. Your mom was troubled and off you went again, speeding dangerously down your sleepy small town street. You just stood there staring, feeling lonely, frightened, worried. whenever he’s around, you feel unsafe. And so it began. You would ask yourself, How do I fix things make it better? Help my nervous mother escaped the
Unknown Speaker 19:46
And then came along saying you wondered, does no one see you? Will anyone take care of you? Early on, it was mischief that got you to get into and then tapping on the aquarium until it broke putting butter in your hair, stealing beer and cigarettes at eight. To take your Playhouse surely that will get a rise out of someone. Or maybe it will bring something to what you’re looking for ours at the piano, a lost 12 year old singing songs of loneliness and need. When you walk through the storm, keep your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark. And boys, they seem to see you and you devour their attention. Soon, you’re giving parts of yourself away in hopes they will, they will find a reason to stay to never leave you. And that first boyfriend, the first breakup, and you lose your mind. You throw things and you scream and cry. For years, you continue to look for that one that will fill the hole inside of you and never leave you. And it costs you so much and you didn’t even know it. Oh, dear one. You did the best you could with your young, hurting, wounded.
Unknown Speaker 21:08
Thank you. So I came to care about
her. I was just concerned. You didn’t take kick her to the curb? You sat her across from you and talk to her. Yeah, lovingly. Yeah. Yeah,
I came to really care about her. And as I cared about her, I cared about myself. Now, you know, it’s an interesting thing, how that happens. Of course, there’s that that little girl’s still very much inside of me. You know. So when you love me get in touch with loving that younger self, you have a current present love for yourself, too.
I would love it if we could end with a little reflection prayer time. Yeah. Can you lead us Kitt?
Yeah. So during this time, we’ll really try to dedicate our minds and our thoughts to God. And, you know, the truth is, what we fill our minds with. This is such a principle that’s so powerful, creates our thoughts. Our thoughts create our feelings, and our feelings determine our behavior. So by asking God, what is asking him what’s true is so important.
Unknown Speaker 22:12
And to ask him, How should I think about this? What’s the truth? So how do we
allow God to, you know, weave this truth into our stories? Well, what we’re going to do is just begin by kind of just taking some deep breaths, I actually think it’s really important to if you can, if you’re listening, and you can do this, to put your feet firmly on the ground, you know, get a sense of
Unknown Speaker 22:35
grounding, and get comfortable.
You know, sit sit up, but not rigidly but just in a posture to receive.
Unknown Speaker 22:47
And then take a couple of deep breaths. And ask him, ask God to be with you. As you reflect on things that you believe about your story. What are some things that you might believe that are not true about yourself?
Unknown Speaker 23:16
Think back on being a little child. Things that happened that you might have adopted a belief about you might even believe you have a bad story. Or no story you might believe that
you’re not acceptable if you don’t always get things right.
Unknown Speaker 23:48
Or you’re not lovable. If you don’t please people all the time. So just ask God
Unknown Speaker 23:54
what am i Believing? And asking, God what is true you might hear things like, God is good. I am loved by God. He cares about me and my story is with me
always. He’ll never leave me no matter what I’ve done or will do is for me and wants to help me
Unknown Speaker 24:31
and take care of me. So listen for another minute. Pay attention to what comes up Take time
to write down a couple of things that God wants you to know are
Unknown Speaker 25:04
true. And then take them with you into your day. Lord, help us
to embrace this truth today that you are with us.
You are for us. And you love us without fail. Amen. Amen. Yes, so good.