How to tell your life story – and how to make changes to it
Ever wondered how to tell the story of all the ways God has been at work in your life, maybe through many decades? Or have you struggled with your life story, looking to rewrite the narrative and bring a change of direction?
Two British writers – one a professional communicator and journalist, the other a psychologist, actor and priest – have been tackling these issues in newly-published books.
Corporate communicator and blogger Kate Nicholas has written 'Soul's Scribe', a guide to help Christians 'connect their story with God's narrative' and communicate their journey of faith in an authentic, engaging way.
Kate, formerly international communications director for World Vision, firmly believes that every Christian has a 'soul story' to tell. She encourages her readers to explore how they have experienced God in the 'different chapters' of their lives.
The book was prompted by someone hearing Kate speak about her coming to faith and her survival from cancer in 2014, and asking for advice on how they could tell their own story. 'Soul's Scribe' is her response.
Kate is currently writing a blog about her current life experiences, as the cancer has returned.
'Soul's Scribe' is both a helpful guide for any Christian wanting to share their testimony in an engaging, insightful way, and also a tool for reflection, as readers look back over their lives and see where God has been at work.
Kate explained: "We each have a God-given ability to communicate, an inherent drive to express our soul's experience, and a desire to tell our 'soul story.'
"As human beings, we have an instinctive love of story. The way we create narratives to help us make sense of the world is thought by many historians and psychologists to be one of the characteristics that sets us apart from other living creatures on this planet."
She added: "This is a book about the kairos, the critical or opportune moments or seasons in our lives when we are called to make a decision or to act. Those moments in our lives that are pregnant with meaning."
In contrast, André Radmall, a psychologist and trained actor, who is also a Church of England priest, has written 'Get Unstuck: Change the Script, Change your Life' as a way of helping people understand the narrative they tell about their lives – and seek to change it.
André, a ministerial colleague in St Albans, Herts, says: "If life is a performance, it can sometimes feel like we can't even get close to the stage. We're stuck with a script that doesn't work and no idea of how to enact it.
"I'm aiming to give a practical roadmap for people to change the scripts that block their way to freedom and allow them to step into the performance of their lives."
The book, aimed at a broad readership beyond churchgoers, is structured in three 'acts,' and focussed on understanding the current 'story' we tell about ourselves, rehearsing new stories, and then putting them into action.
André uses his experience in psychology and as an actor to give real-life examples and practical exercises to help readers change their lives. He also gives insights from being an Anglican priest. He asks, "Is there a better, truer story that God wants to use your life to tell?"
Two books. Two different perspectives. But both are rooted in the writers' commitment to help people understand their lives, and the stories they have to tell.
God is at work in all our lives. Sometimes we need to stop, take a breath... and see what the Almighty is seeking to do in and through us, in this season of our lives. Maybe even today.
Often, it's by looking back that we can see patterns of blessing – and maybe times of challenge – that help us commit the future into God's hands.
Rev. Peter Crumpler is a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, UK, and the author of 'Responding to Post-truth'