Your story is important. How important? Way back when the Internet first got going, what exploded on the scene was the listserv. Pick a topic, any topic, and there was a group you could join to meet other people who wanted to talk about that thing. The more personal the more likely it flourished.
It was revolutionary: You who felt so alone with your rare disease or your arcane hobby or your intractable problem suddenly discovered, “I’m not the only one!” Being able to hear the stories of other people, and to share your own, is such a significant part of human life that, in one form or another, other than tending to bare survival it’s one of our chief human activities — and we like to do it even while attending to bare survival.
And yet we Catholics can be painfully shy about sharing our stories of the number one most important thing in our lives, our relationship with God. Why are we like this? I think part of it is that we want to protect what is most valuable to us. My relationship with God is the thing that keeps me alive — physically, spiritually, emotionally; I don’t feel like opening that up to attack, thanks. Because it is so vitally important, I don’t want to accidentally say something that will turn someone else away from God. These are serious concerns.
Problem: Other people are curious about God, or want to learn more about God, or just need to find a friend they can trust to share their own story with. When we maintain the code of silence about Jesus, we’re not just isolating ourselves, we’re isolating others.
We aren’t made to live this way.
So there’s a book for that, and it’s available free on Kindle this weekend. Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies is a gentle, encouraging, practical guide for how to get out of the isolation ward and connect with other people who need to hear what you’ve been through. And let me emphasize that your story — your crazy, tortured, imperfect, unimpressive story — matters.
It matters because there is someone out there who doesn’t have it all together either, and that person needs to know that God’s love isn’t a prize we earn for being good enough, it’s a gift He gives because He is good, and He wants to be with you and share His life with you. There’s someone right now who needs to hear your story in particular. It could be a faithful Catholic despairing after falling into the same old sins again and again, and nothing seems to help; maybe someone going through the same horrible experience you went through, or one like it, and asking, “Why has God abandoned me?”; maybe someone who is convinced God can love other people, but it’s impossible for God to love someone as screwed-up as me.
So that’s what the book is about. The author and general editor, Nancy Ward, is one of those Catholics who loves God and doesn’t have any agenda other than helping other people experience the joy and love of a relationship with Jesus. I was honored to be included among the many Catholics invited to share my conversion story in the second half of the book, and I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to sacrifice a weekend of royalties in order to get this message out to as many people as possible.
If you have a book club or parish group who is going to want this book down the line, go ahead and ask folks to pick it up this weekend while it’s available for free. Note you don’t have to belong to Kindle Unlimited to get the $0 price, that’s the sale price for all Kindle purchases of Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies this weekend. The sale runs through Labor Day, so you have a few days to let people know, and if you needed a good encouraging book to unwind with this holiday weekend, there you go.
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