I love stories. I make a living out of telling them. They are useful communication tools, great for illustrating ideas. I use them for that purpose every day. Stories are indeed powerful, and they serve an important purpose in human interaction.
Another truth is that we all have a story. We have all seen things, and lived life. We were not born into our present circumstances. It took a journey to get you where you are today, and that journey is your story.For some of us, our story is a rags-to-riches tale. For others, it’s a survival story. For some, it’s a romance story, for others, a tragedy. For many of us, our story is a comedy, but for some, it’s a cautionary tale, to warn others not to make the mistakes we made.
Now, we have already established that stories serve a purpose, so I guess the question is: what are you doing with your story?
Very often, we believe the experiences we have been through – especially the negative ones – are to be kept secret, and never shared with a soul. What would the neighbours think of you in your range rover if they knew you once scrubbed toilets in a mental hospital?How mortifying would it be if anyone at work discovered that you once had hole-in-heart surgery? Wouldn’t you just die if someone discovered that you once went bankrupt? I bet the ground would just have to open up and swallow you if it ever came out that you’ve been to jail, right?
My friends, your private business is your private business, and you ultimately choose what to share and what to keep secret. What I would like to suggest for your consideration is that your story happened for a reason. You have beaten the odds and become the success that you are today. You have triumphed over adversity and left your past far behind you. But is that where it belongs?
When you bump into young people who are going through the exact circumstances you survived all those years ago, you just look at them with a glint of wisdom in your eye and smile on silently, while they fumble and blunder their way through problems that you could solve in your sleep. All because you think your history must remain a mystery.
I was reading the new testament the other evening, and in one of Paul’s letters, he was talking about the importance of evangelism. Going out and spreading the word of God. Many Christians – myself included – find that the hardest thing to do. Memorizing scripture and cross-referencing themes and all those clever things preachers do? I mean how? But the more I think about it, the simpler it seems. All I’m required to do is tell others how I’ve been blessed, right? I don’t need to memorize the whole Bible – I just need to tell my story.
True, my story is my business, and I must protect my privacy… but then, is it really MY story? Is your glory really YOUR story? Do you own the copyright to the events by which God blessed you? Does God want His blessings in your life to be a secret? Does He want you to hide His glory under a bushel? Did He not bring you out of the valley and place you on high ground for all to see? Did He not drag you out of sickness, out of poverty, out of bondage to your present position of prosperity? Is this how we wish to thank Him? By pretending it never happened?
My friends, your story happened for a reason. Your story has a purpose. It’s up to you, what you want to do with it, but I urge you to use it to bless others.
Yesterday, on the show, we spoke to an official of the GDA. In seeking to illustrate a point, he asked my permission to make reference to the fact that I am diabetic. He was being polite, because he wasn’t sure whether I’d want it mentioned or not. The truth is, I take every opportunity to talk about the fact that I have diabetes – especially the story of how I became diabetic. It’s a personal story. I don’t have to share it. But I always want to. If even one person hears it and is moved enough to change their unhealthy lifestyle, then it will be worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fear of judgement and embarrassment when people discover your past, but let me remind you that whatever your story, you’re in good company. Multi-billionaire Oprah Winfrey once scrubbed toilets in a mental home, Bill Clinton had Quadruple Bypass heart surgery, Richard Branson has been bankrupt four times, and Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Do you still feel embarrassed?
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I’ll tell you my story, because it just might be to your glory.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO