Real Voices for February 2013 – Andrew Whitmire

Andrew WhitmireWhen I found out the Freedom Conference theme was “True Story,” my mouth dropped. This past year I have been the most real with people. I have let people much further into my true story–along with all the mess [or beauty]. I find that beauty is a more accurate description of my life and all its “stuff.”

People’s stories are messy—stories that are real—true stories. True in every sense of the word: good, bad, ugly, raw, messy, unedited, painful, but nonetheless real. Sometimes we want to hear people’s stories, but we really do not want to hear everything. “Tell me your story,” we say. Often the response we get is edited and we are careful not to divulge too much information. We tell the bad but not necessarily the ugly. Based on who we are around we sugar coat things or sweep over something that may taint our image. I am not advocating airing your dirty laundry to every random stranger, but you know what I am talking about right?

What I have seen throughout my journey is that sometimes my true story, in every sense of the word, may be crucial to the other person’s life. He or she may be starving for that honesty from someone like myself. Many people need that someone to sit down and take off the mask in front of them and say, “You’re not alone. I know how you feel,” or if not “I have dealt with another issue, so I can relate in this aspect…” In the gospel you will see some very messy stories, but nonetheless true stories—stories of dishonesty, adultery, rampant sexuality of all types, pride, gluttony, murder, and more. Jesus embraced messy during His ministry on earth. He had relationship with the outcasts. He did not have a hidden motive; he simply loved them. That love led these people to fall in love with this person, this human Jesus. Despite the world’s view of them, they were redeemed and their stories changed because of Christ.

Through various trials in my life, I have learned to look at my story and all its baggage and be thankful for it. I no longer feel embarrassment for the things I have been through or the struggles I have faced or still face along the way. Your story has weight; your story has value. “Sometimes honesty can be incredibly messy.”[1] God sees our messiness as beauty because of the picture He can paint with it; the puzzle He can put together; the people He can speak to through your experiences. God loves your story, and He is crazy about you. There’s nothing you have ever done or ever will do to change that—true story. Even when the world would discredit your story, it is true because what humans deem impossible has been made possible by God.

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