arrow-left-s arrow-left arrow-right-s arrow-right arrowhead-downarrowhead-upchurch couple facebook instagram logo-icon payment searchtwitter white-chevron-upyoutube

Is It a Secret?

October 14, 2021 | Katie Zeigler

two friends sitting and talking at sunrise on the beach
“The person who gains the most when I share stories about my relationship with God is me!”

Two people holding handsGoing into a retreat day I helped lead for a parish a few months ago, I knew what our team had planned for the participants. I had no idea what God had planned for me! As we facilitated the day, our team was able to enter into the experience in a way that we felt we lived the retreat alongside the participants.

Throughout the day God led me on a trip down memory lane, reminding me of various moments in my relationship with God. Most of the memories were things I hadn’t thought about in year. A few times I even found myself saying, “Wow! I had forgotten all about that!” As I shared some of the stories with the others on the retreat team, it felt as though I was sharing about things that had just happened. I didn’t know why God was bringing these memories up for me, but there was no doubt I was immersed in an abundance of grace.

Since that day, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the importance of remembering and sharing stories of our lived relationship with God. We Catholics don’t tend to be very comfortable talking about our relationship with God. We might be willing to do so during a retreat, or if we’re asked to give a witness talk to inspire others about their own faith. But how often do we talk about our own personal relationship with Jesus in less formal settings? I’m not suggesting we should share everything with everybody, but there are times we choose to share other personal stories with people. So why not these?

The more I’ve thought about this, the more I believe that the person who gains the most when I share stories about my relationship with God is me! When I share one of these stories with someone, I am not merely recalling and recounting an encounter with God that happened sometime in the past. Rather, that past encounter is somehow brought into the present in a way that renews and deepens the original experience as well as the graces I received from the experience. Giving voice to these stories affirms to myself as much as to others that I have experienced God in life-giving, life-transforming ways. It stirs up joy, gratitude, wonder, and awe. It reminds me that God has proven to be trustworthy in the past, and helps deepen my trust in God now. It can also deepen the trust between me and the person with whom I’m sharing the story. Sharing the stories of my past encounters with God also seems to have a unique way of opening me up to some new invitation from God.

There is always a risk in sharing personal stories with others. The risk might seem higher when the personal stories are about our relationship with God and how it has affected our life. But when we take that risk, it opens up an abundance of grace that can flow into our own lives as well as the lives of others. God’s action in your life is good news, and Good News is meant to be shared!