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Your Spiritual Journey is a Gift

May 25, 2008
It's easy to think that we have to do something, or experience something, remarkable to have a reason to share the story of our lives. We have a way of believing that our ordinary lives are just that, ordinary. The value in reaching out is missed in our poor estimation of what we have to offer. We wait for something big to happen to us before we recognize the importance of our journey. We don't acknowledge the special gift we have to share. It's the gift of our ordinary lives shared with others.

I joined a codependency support group. The people in my group are extraordinary. They're not, although, extraordinary by a worldly definition. None of the people at the table are famous, exceedingly rich or outrageously successful. They are ordinary people living ordinary lives. I learn from their lives. They live simply, and honorably, in the face of great adversity. In fact, adversity transforms them, making them gentler, kinder and more forgiving. I admire their stamina and their confidence in God's plan for their lives. Their journeys encourage me.

For a while, I felt like I had no business taking a spot at the table. I expected to have very little to offer, or receive from, the people sitting around me. Then, it started to happen. As stories were shared I began to connect with people. Some days I discovered that we had the same feelings. Other days I found myself working through the same problem as someone to the left or the right of me. Our lives began to intersect. Common threads connected their journeys to mine. Their stories filled my world with hope. I began to expect that I would have something to receive.

Some days, when the meeting was over, people would thank me for having shared. My journey touched others and encouraged them. They found healing through my expression of the simple, ordinary experiences of my life. My stories filled their world with hope. I began to see that I not only had something to receive, I had something to offer.

I began to see that I desired to share my journey. I knew my story wasn't earth shattering or surprisingly unique. I knew it was an ordinary story about an ordinary life. I knew it had the regular ups, downs and in-betweens much like the lives of others. Yet, with all its ordinariness, I began to desire that my journey could be a gift. I have since prayed that my journey will have common threads that connect the lives of others to mine. God willing, my journey will touch and encourage others. Maybe lives will intersect and healing will be found in the expression of the simple, ordinary experiences of my life? That would be a gift for others and for me too.

I'm sharing my spiritual journey because I believe it is a gift with value. I'm also taking in the spiritual journeys around me. The journeys of others are encouraging my own spiritual growth and spiritual healing at this very time. We, the storytellers, are giving each other the gift of our stories. We can change the world with each retelling, because each retelling is an opportunity to touch someone's life. Some part of our journey, big or small, can speak to those given the opportunity to take it in.

Perhaps you have an ordinary life that's a little like mine? Maybe we should both share our journeys? Together we could reach out to even more people who could reach out as well. Imagine all the people who would realize that they are not alone. Imagine all the people who could be touched, encouraged and healed through the simple truth that a shared journey is a gift with value.

I have begun sharing my journey with those who would like to receive it. I've given my journey to some friends, and I've also begun to make it available to strangers and casual friends. People are being touched. Strangers are hearing my story and finding that their life is not so different from mine. People I know just a little are reaching out because they've discovered, through my story, that they are not alone. I'm not doing anything special to make this all happen. In fact, I don't really make it happen at all. I just tell my story and God does the rest. It's absolutely amazing.

People are walking in your shoes and they don't even know it. Tell them about your own journey, and they'll know the truth that they are not alone. You don't need to be someone extraordinary to give the gift of your story. In fact, the journeys that change lives are often the ones that say, "I've been where you are." An ordinary life has incredible power in the simple truth that it is very ordinary. If you have an ordinary life, you've got something valuable to share.

Maybe you're intimidated by the idea of sharing your journey? I'll give you one piece of advice that helped me get over my own intimidation: trust God. He's big enough to connect your life to the lives of others. If you're faithful to share your life, God is ready, and very able, to honor your desire to reach out to others. He's in the business of touching lives. Let Him use your life to touch others. Tell your story.
About the Author
Alisa E. Sloboda-Clark is a Christian artist and educator. Since receiving her B.F.A. from Pratt Institute, and her M.S. from Long Island University, drawing from her own life experience, and her personal walk with Jesus Christ, Alisa has written her Spiritual Autobiography. Visit her site: JourneyOnCanvas.com.
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