EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article first appeared on lifewayvoices.com

I love a good story. When I have the chance to sneak away with a new book and a cup of coffee, I’m in heaven. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or a personal memoir, I love a good story. And that’s because I believe that stories can change the world.

As followers of Jesus, we have the unique ability to change the world through our own personal stories. Every single believer can share how God has stepped in over and over again to save us from sin, suffering and even from ourselves. When we are vulnerable and let others into our lives, we get the opportunity to use our stories to point people to Jesus.

Time and time again, people tell me that they can’t share their stories, that they don’t know how, or even worse, that they don’t think they have a right to share their stories. We are believing far too many lies that are keeping us from sharing the incredible stories that God has written in our lives.

Lie: People will never think of you the same way if you share your story

Sometimes we are afraid of how our stories will be received. What will people think of us? What if no one believes us? How will it make us look? We are afraid that people won’t think we’re reliable leaders or that we’ll be disqualified from leadership. We are afraid that our stories are too messy, too much, or too small—and yet, God is in the business of using all of our stories to point those around us to Him.

Letting people into our most vulnerable places is difficult. But I am absolutely convinced that when we view our stories through the lens of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, everything changes. When we look at our stories through this new and better lens—when we ask God to use our stories for His glory and His will alone—the pressure is off of us. We can share our stories with Jesus at the center instead of ourselves.

Lie: My story doesn’t really matter

Sometimes we look at those around us and think that her story matters and his story matters and they are doing great things for the Kingdom. Those people are changing the world. We fall into the lie of comparison, believing that our lives and our stories must not matter.

But here’s the truth: every part of the Body matters, which means that every story matters. You matter to the Kingdom of God! And just like a human body, it’s really hard to function well when some of your body parts are missing or aren’t working.

Lie: I’m not important enough to tell my story

Your story is important because of Whose you are. Your identity was changed when you started following Jesus. No longer is everything just about you. Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead you received the Spirit of adoption, by Whom we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’”

This is good news for us all! Your story matters, because your identity is not about what you have done, who you are, what you do for a living, the mistakes you’ve made or the things you have accomplished. Your story matters, because your identity was changed when you began following Jesus. Your identity is that you are a child of the most Holy God!

The Bible, God’s Word, is made up of stories about real people who had real encounters with God, and we get the benefit of learning from and relating to them. We see people make bad choices and run away from God. We see people strive to follow God. We see failures, forgiveness, and faithfulness. Throughout the entirety of Scripture, we see Jesus redeem all things. Jesus has done the very same thing in the story of every single believer.

So when we look at our own stories as God has written them, let’s choose to focus on how He has uniquely crafted us and the events in our lives to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. He chose you to be His child, and He wants to use you to do good works for Him. Share your story! And watch your good Father use it to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and change the lives of the people around you.