Finding Hope in the Ordinary
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
“So, wait, have you really never had anything bad happen to you?” my former boss asked, her eyes wide. I had no idea how to respond to that.
“I mean, it’s not like I haven’t had anything bad happen to me. I’ve dealt with hard things before …” I muttered. My heart pounded in my chest.
“But like, nothing really terrible? Nothing worth talking about?”
My heart tripped a beat, and I sucked in a deep breath. There it is again, the lies whispered in my ear. See? You don’t have a story.
“I just can’t believe it. I mean, you’re like a unicorn! I didn’t think there was anyone like you left on the planet, but here you are, telling me you’ve lived a perfectly boring and happy life. It’s no wonder you have a hard time relating with the people here. All of them have had to deal with a lot of hard things and have had to fight for themselves. You’ve just been cared for and have had everything handed to you your whole life.”
“I … I guess so …” I replied quietly, fighting back tears. And who would want to hear a story about that?
This wasn’t the first time someone told me my story “wasn’t worth sharing.”
A few months before, I was discussing faith with friends who started doubting God. I’d been through those same doubts myself and thought maybe I had something to offer them. But even after I shared my fears about not having a story, because I’m just a middle-class, Midwestern girl who grew up in a healthy and loving home, a friend replied:
“Well, maybe you didn’t feel like you had a story because yours is so … typical. Like, I wouldn’t want to have the cliché faith experience you had.”
That comment felt like tripping over a cement block and smacking my head against the pavement. There I was, opening up about doubting my story, and the very concerns I shared were being flung back at me.
Does my story matter? Is it worth sharing? Do I even have a story to tell?
For years, I struggled with the lie that I didn’t have a story. It was easy for me to believe my story could never compare to the person next to me: the one who landed her dream job, or who had an inspiring breakthrough after years of issues, or who really knew how to share about herself on Instagram.
We hear stories daily that make us cry or leave us speechless. And we fight the lies that say: You just have an ordinary life — your story won’t make a difference. You can’t be strong if you’ve never had to go through something hard. Let me say it again: Those are lies.
Here’s the truth: Your story matters.
Ordinary living is not easy. It requires dedication and perseverance, and faithful obedience to God’s call. It requires a hope in the sometimes hard, everyday experience of following Jesus, because carrying a cross like that doesn’t always make for an exciting story.
My favorite verse lately is Hebrews 10:23, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Did you hear that? Unswervingly. That means without getting distracted by drama, glamor, or wishing your story were someone else’s. That means staying true to the perhaps mundane, but important work of being faithful, because He who promised great plans for you is faithful.
Every step in the right direction is a faithful step toward God, and it is good.
No matter what the lies say, that’s a story worth sharing.
Dear God, thank You for giving me a story that matters, and that tells of Your goodness. Help me share it boldly and to always hold on to hope, especially when life is just “ordinary.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
You have a faith story! If you’d like an easy-to-use resource to equip yourself to share your faith story, the GEMS Gospel Treasure Box is for you! It provides access to a three-part Gospel message, including an engaging teaching on “How to Share Your Faith Story.” Plus the box contains a sample script and memorable visuals, for sharing the Gospel with children in large or small group settings or individual conversations. Check it out here!
Serena Ellens is the Managing Editor and Content Manager for GEMS Girls’ Clubs. Serena graduated from Anderson University with an English and Writing degree with a focus in Young Adult Literature. She loves spending time with girls and learning about their interests. Serena was a GEM and is amazed that God brought her to serve at the ministry that blessed her as a girl.
© 2020 by Serena Ellens. All rights reserved.