God & Story


Story is a big part of my life. I love stories and love to tell stories about people it’s the extraordinary in the ordinary that really peaks my interest. And lately, I have been thinking about storytelling and its relationship to God and to us. More so how baring our personal stories allows us to celebrate God’s story.

I firmly believe God has designed us to share our stories, to live out his story and ultimately God wants us to do is write a good story, yet day after day we write a bad story. We make choices that can have a positive or negative impact on our health and our family. Those choices are great seedlings in our stories. Right or wrong they reveal something about us, something God has created for a purpose. Every great story has to have conflict or the story cannot evolve. But when it comes to our stories we tell, we choose to go with the Hollywood ending and somehow look past the bad thoughts we may battle on a routine basis, our feelings of being rejected, or being terrified of intimacy. The best stories are those of ordinary people who live extraordinary lives; unflitered and organic. Their stories are dirty, off color and not safe. Their stories are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but their stories reveal a level of authenticity that inspires.

Yet what many of us do is once we move from a non-christian view to a saved and christian view we put on heirs that “I’m saved and just because of that life is peachy.” That’s far from the truth. You know it. Yet why on a daily bases do skip to the end of our stories and omit the gritty, not so nice details when we tell our story? The moment we skip to the end of our stories, we fall captive and accommodate to the stories of this world, we loose the uniqueness of our story, and in turn we loose the power of the gospel.

Don’t hide your story. Our stories in there entirety, no matter how ugly or pretty, are transformative and healing.

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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  1. Thanks for the encouragement, Matt. I think “isolation” is a tool of our enemy. He wants us to think that nobody wants the “gritty” details, or even worse… nobody else deals with ________, and that we are alone. (reference the gospel when Jesus was out in the desert, alone, and the devil tried to derail him.)The reality is this: even Jesus lived in community. We need strong brothers that can sharpen our swords, and that we can sharpen theirs. I’ve been blessed, recently, to have a Men’s Bible group. We all are reading the “One Year Bible” every day on our own (personal devotion) and marking it up when Rhema happens (God speaks.) We get together every other Tuesday to talk about the times when God spoke to us over the past few weeks of scripture time…… SO MANY TIMES our conversations end up going much much deeper… into the “gritty” mess. AWESOME. Glory to God, bro.Take care,Rob

    • Thanks man, I’m glad I could off encouragement. Our stories our lives for better, cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When we dish out glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, our story degenerates. These not so perfect narratives of our life or redemption shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society.

  2. Well put, Matt, and reminds me of what Dan Allender said at STORY last week: We must simultaneously show the beauty of the resurrection AND our ongoing scars in a fallen world. The struggles, the dirty parts, the death that marks all of us is very much part of our story, and we can’t gloss over it.

    Anonymous // Reply
    • In darkness there is light. Our stories no matter the flavor help us relate to culture and allow us to connect to a wide variety of audiences through various methods; just like Jesus did. The grit, the dirty parts to us may not seem like the spice of the story, but to the listener they keep people engaged. It all comes back down to connectivity. Heart to hope. Spirit to light. Stories are the way we connect. They are the truth of who we are and who God designed us to be.

  3. Great stuff Matt, I’m digging your perspective on “the story”. I agree, the best stories always have the struggle, grit, and downfalls. The biggest challenge is when we think we’re solely the authors of our stories, instead of recognizing that Christ holds the pen.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Roberto Ortiz // Reply
  4. Thank you for this post, I agree with you 100%. I wish more people would be willing to embrace imperfection not as flaws needing to be covered up, but as motovation to keep trying to do better. It’s through those imperfections that He usually finds the best ways to use us. It jist takes too much effort and time to put on a “show” for the world that doesn’t get you anywhere.

    NoelleNotNoel // Reply
  5. Such a good word. When I look at the stories of my brothers & sisters in the Bible I am reminded of this truth too. So many of them had really ugly, messy stories that I’m so glad were written down & told because they give me life & hope. We as Christians should follow suit & tell our stories no matter how messy & unfinished they are. I went to a conference once where this Christian author spoke & told her story so raw & unfiltered…I was expecting the ending to be the usual…And then I was delivered & am now walking in victory & success, etc. which would’ve been fine & inspiring if that were her story, but instead she said something like, “You know what, I don’t know if I’m all better, just a month ago I checked myself into a place for some needed rest & recovery & I don’t have all of the answers & don’t know where I’ll be in a year and that’s ok.” I think it made alot of people real uncomfortable in the church honestly, but for me & a handful of others it was so life giving & freeing because we felt the same & now we knew we weren’t alone in it. It was like a huge exhale. It was raw & honest & I was oddly so inspired even with the ending being open & unknown. Our stories, every part of them, are so life giving & important.

    SumatraBear // Reply