Why You Should Show Your Work

Students typically don’t like to show their work.

Often when I asked students to explain HOW? their explanation sounded a bit like the cartoon. “I did this…then a miracle occurs…and I got the right answer! Cool, huh?”

Sounds silly, but I think we often do a similar thing when we share our stories. I think not-showing-our-work leads to much of the disappointment I wrote about yesterday, disappointment that happens when we cling to self-created hopes based on someone else’s story.

Not-showing-our-work leads to the sanitized version, the one where disaster in Scene 1 leads to instant resolution is Scene 2. The “work” is the gritty, messy stuff, the pain, grief, and mistakes that don’t fit into the Hallmark Films script. The “work” is wandering into places and thoughts you’re not proud of. It’s the Prodigal Son consorting with prostitutes and wallowing in a filthy pig sty.

We want to tell our story without the gory details because we think it’ll sound more Godly, more miraculous. But everyone knows real life isn’t a Hallmark movie. Telling your story and pretending the “work” didn’t happen might feel safer, but you’re encouraging listeners to create and latch onto the false hope of an easy, quick solution.

When we tell our story transparently – when we show our work – we encourage others to see past us, past our efforts, and past even the result. The “work” shines the light on the process, on Jesus’ long-term presence and faithfulness within – and despite – our struggle.

Showing your work points to the true source of hope.

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So I’d like to tell you how fun and easy it is to do a bike tour. I’d like to show you all the mountain-top pics and pretend it’s all easy-breezy.

But a bike tour is worthwhile because it’s hard, because there’s shared sacrifice, because we do our best and trust God for the results. I hope you’ll join us, not because it seems easy, but because the process involves sweat and surrender to support kids who need us.

I want you to join us because, well, it’s a journey of hope. http://frontrangefreedomtour.org/

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