If you feel compelled to share your story, it’s always important to pause and first ask yourself why. There are numerous good and even great reasons to share your story . . . but there are also some bad reasons to share your story that may sneak into your heart and mind without you even realizing it right away. At least, that’s what happened to me.


The following is an excerpt from the book, Share Your Story: The Transforming Power of Telling Others What God Has Done:

share your story

Before my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging, released, I sincerely believed I wrote the book in hopes that it would help someone else. I wrote it because that was the story I had been given, and I wanted to do my best to steward it well.

But soon after the book became available to readers, I realized how much I liked the idea of being a published author. While I may not have written the book to make money, after it was published, I started concocting ways to try to sell more copies to earn more cash. My ego inflated when I read positive reviews from readers, and I felt important and valued when I was asked to speak at events following the release of the book. Though I thought I started the endeavor with good intentions, I quickly and easily slipped into a worldly, status-seeking mindset.

In an interview with the Hope*Writers community, author and speaker Michele Cushatt pointed out that some people share their stories out of compulsion, while others share out of compassion. She explained, “There is a difference between compulsion and compassion. Compulsion means we can’t help ourselves. We just have to get it out. When we just have to get it out, we’re not serving our reader, we’re serving ourselves. We’re trying to make ourselves feel better, not the other person. Compassion means I want to connect with somebody else, and I’m going to use my story, my pain point, in order to create that connection.”

What about you? Why do you want to tell your story? What purpose are you trying to achieve?

Deep in your heart of hearts, what’s the motivation behind you wanting your story to go public?

If you truly and sincerely believe that sharing your story might help, bless, or benefit someone else, you’re in a good place. The trouble is, sometimes we have mixed or hidden motives that go beyond wanting to serve others. Sadly, some of us may secretly want to tell our stories for the wrong reasons, like revenge or vindication from someone who has hurt us.

Maybe we just really like the idea of getting attention or being praised for what we’ve done. Perhaps we have a strong urge to get it out in order to make ourselves feel better. This is why it’s important for each one of us to search our hearts and ask the Lord to show us any sinful motives that need to be addressed.

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul depicts the internal battle that so many of us face on a daily (or perhaps hourly) basis:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do . . . For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing . . . So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” —Romans 7:15, 18b–19, 21, NIV

Even when we want to do good, we still struggle with sin. As long as we’re in these earthly bodies, we will continue to wrestle with conflicting, mixed motives—a combination of good and bad, selfless and selfish. But we shouldn’t let the fear of potential sin keep us from doing any good at all.

As Trillia Newbell points out, “The danger in concentrating on our sin . . . is that we can be drawn into becoming too introspective, focusing so much on our sin that this focus paralyzes us from doing good. Don’t let the fear of sin overpower you; do and pursue good anyway.” [i]

In Philippians 1:15–17, the Apostle Paul acknowledges two conflicting motives that led people to share the gospel while he was imprisoned:

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

The good news is that even though our motives will never be entirely pure, the Lord can still work with our feeble offerings and use our stories for His glory.

As you seek to honor the Lord with your motives, the following Scripture passages may be helpful to use as prayers:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” —Psalm 139:23–24, NIV

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” —Psalm 19:14, NIV

May the Lord protect our hearts, reveal any sinful, selfish in-tentions, and help us share our stories for the right reasons.


Want to read more, including some good reasons to share your story?

Check out the book, Share Your Story: The Transforming Power of Telling Others What God Has Done


share your story





[i] Newbell, Trillia. If God Is for Us: The Everlasting Truth of Our Great Salvation. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2019. p. 43.