Tell Me Your Story

Your Story Adds Beauty to the World

Tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine. This past summer, I went to the Eastern Congo to discover and film stories of beauty and hope coming out of a desperate and war-torn land. There’s a whole lot of pain and brokenness in the Eastern Congo, a place the United Nations has called, “the rape capital of the world.”

In my travels, I heard gut-wrenching stories and met the victims of atrocities so horrific that I won’t repeat them to certain family and friends. Truly terrible and horrific stories.

But that’s not the end of the story. There’s more to it, you see…

A new narrative is being written and filmed—stories of beauty, hope, and healing– about the Eastern Congo. Tell Me Your Story is a short video I created about the many stories I had the privilege of filming in the Eastern Congo. It’s an unfolding story I’m caught up in and quite an adventure. The Congo has become part of my story. But for now, let’s turn the page and talk about your story.

The world needs your story. You may not like to talk about yourself, but your story is essential to bringing beauty to this world.

The story of your life really matters.

It’s how I get to know the real you and how you get to know the real me.

You may love your story or hate your story. For a whole lot of darn good reasons, you may not want anyone to know your story. I know some people who would drop their clothes in public or get dragged across broken glass before telling their story. Some stories aren’t just painful, but pain-filled.

Telling your story may scare the hell out of you and that’s just the point.

Stories that stay in the dark fester in our heart and lead to soul rot.

I’ve experienced courageous people tell their stories in public that have absolutely wrecked me. And I thanked them for making me cry like a baby. In public.

Some of the most inspiring stories take the most courageous risks to tell.

Which is why we all need people who know our story. Not everyone, mind you. What your story needs are foxhole friends who know the beautiful and the bad stuffed deep in your bag of stories. Someone who cares, but is surprisingly indifferent because they love all of you—the whole book—and not just one badly written sentence, a typo here and there, or a misplaced comma in your story.

That means all of you. The sidesplitting fails and faux pas. The victory laps and embarrassing crash-test dummy decisions. The real and raw gritty choices we wish had been different. The highlight reels and wonderful memories you’re so excited to share. Telling the truth—all of it–is the only path to authenticity.

But please, don’t try to tell your story to everyone you know. That would be pathological. For your safety, you don’t want to get dragged back across all that broken glass. And no, everyone does not want to see hours of your Maui vacation videos. The only people who need to know your story are those committed to walking with you in your journey towards wholeness.

Beauty thrives in a well-told story.

Your story, if you let it, makes the world more beautiful.

Questions: In your experience, what keeps people from telling their story? How have you experiencing life-giving freedom by telling your story to a friend?

I’d love to hear a story or two…

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  • Sarah

    “But please, don’t try to tell your story to everyone you know. That would be pathological. For your safety, you don’t want to get dragged back across all that broken glass.” That’s powerful…. Not all need the details as most can’t or don’t want to understand them; but I have to believe each story brings a message and a piece of the human puzzle ALL do need. Thanks for sharing your words! 🌞

    • http://www.joeyo.org/ Joey O’Connor

      Thank you for your kind words Sarah. I learned a long time ago that the only people who should be speaking into our life are those who are committed to walking alongside us as deep friends, spouses, mentors and counselors. There’s a big difference between being vulnerable “Yes, I can relate to your struggle” and being transparent “Here’s a look inside my heart.”

      Authentic community holds those two realities in tension as we all seek to add our part of the puzzle. Blessings to you!