OWN Your Story – J Cook

During the later part of 2015, I began to notice a lot of people sharing their story over social media. I didn’t really think much of it at first. However, I kept seeing it occur more and more. I started thinking about my story, and to be honest, I never would finish the thought. I mean, how could i share the dirty skeletons from my closet? What would people think of me if they knew even a portion of my past transgressions.

Furthermore, could I even be honest enough with myself to face those demons from my past? All of these things would begin to race through my head every time I would sit and try to put my story into words. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for me to squash that idea and move on. A few weeks later my pastor began teaching about telling your story. He made such an impact, that my wife took the leap and shared hers. She touched so many people, and beyond that, sharing her story helped her to forgive herself. It was at this point when I started trying again.

However, I still found it difficult. Even though I knew deep down that no one would judge me, and that i could even help others by sharing, the thought of people knowing my personal business kind of made me cringe. I’ve always prided myself with being a private person. I was always careful with not being the type of person that shared their dirty laundry over social media. I knew I needed to do it though. I felt a tugging at my heart. You know, the little voice inside that says, ever so softly, just do it. It will be ok.

Even still, I fought it. About a week after my wife shared her story, I reached out to Sherri Henley to discuss ways to improve my brand as a Christian Musician and ways to get my name out there more. Now keep in mind, Sherri didn’t know about me considering the thought of sharing my story. She just heard my needs and began to work as I asked her to. The first thing she suggested was sharing my story, amongst quite a few other things.

For me, this was the final piece of confirmation I needed. A couple of days later, I sat on my couch, alone in my living room, and went to work. It was hard at first. I fought the process of recollecting painful memories.

However, once I let go, once I accepted that this was happening, the words began to flow. The message that was deep down inside of me, that I had put into song so many times, came out in more than just emotion and feeling. It came out in real words that people could relate to. After I had written the facts of my past, I took it a step further and turned into a sermon of encouragement. It became a declaration of independence, a declaration of victory, and a declaration of redemption. I was no longer bound and enslaved by shame and guilt. I didn’t just own up to my past, but I took away any power the enemy had over me.

For the first time in my life I was 100% transparent. After sharing my story, God immediately began to work. Within 5 minutes i received messages from people telling me me that they had not clue that someone else out their shared in their battles. I shared a story of redemption. I own that! I will continue own my story for years to come, and i will continue to redeem myself until my last breath and my father in heaven takes me home! Amen!

J Cook
Youth Pastor, Spirit Church
Olive Branch, MS

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