I suppose I do have a pretty dramatic story for a 25 year-old. A lot of people are surprised by it, others have an oh-now-it-makes-sense reaction (that sometimes escapes their mind in awkward word vomit). These days those reactions amuse me, especially the latter. I love the way Jesus has made a fool of what makes sense with my life.
But there is something else my testimony tends to stir up. It’s not unusual for someone to compare their story to mine and label theirs “less effective” or “not as useful” for showing Jesus to others.
Maybe that’s been you at some point. Or perhaps you are the one with a dramatic past. Did you know Satan targets us in the same spots, using the same BS, with the same goal in mind?
And I am sick of it.
Why would they take me seriously if I haven’t been where they are? What if they judge me? Yes, I hear them too. Tomato tomata. You might be scared to share your story because there’s not enough drama while I’m scared to share mine because there’s too much. How can my story be effective to people if they can’t relate? What will they think about me?
You might be scared to share your story because there’s not enough drama while I’m scared to share mine because there’s too much.
Listening to those fears lands us right where the enemy wants us to be. Afraid. Hesitant. Doubtful. Worst of all, quiet.
Satan wants us to discredit God for him. To insult our Creator’s intelligence and water down the life-changing salvation that is available to everyone. He wants to trick us into robbing ourselves of the freedom and power we have been given, simultaneously distracting lost eyes that will only be attracted to the permeating light of Jesus. He hates anything that threatens to reveal the truth about his irreversible defeat that was sealed when Jesus overcame death on the cross.
So he feeds us lies tailored to our specific weaknesses.
I’ve fallen for them. Suddenly I find myself trying to control how God can use me. I put Him in a box sealed with the tape of my understanding. I draw parameters around potential so I can feel like I am aware of everything. I don’t mind sharing if it’s comfortable. It’s easy if I’m sure it will help someone. If I don’t have to risk too much by speaking up, I’m all about it. Check those boxes and I’ll gush with stories of praise.
But when it puts my reputation on the line, requires me to risk relationships, surrender control, and step out of my safety zone? That’s harder.
Can you relate? We are often quick to render our own stories useless. Or too daunting. Perhaps even damaging. So we hide. We mask feelings with inspirational statuses or intentionally crafted captions. We overcompensate for areas where we feel inadequate. We pretend to be people we are not and Lord knows we avoid situations where we might be called out or forced to be vulnerable.
I – we – often try to force a power bigger than death into the limited vision of someone who is only alive because of it.
But how dare we? Where do we get off thinking that it’s up to us to decide what is relevant or evaluate how much our salvation is needed situationally? That logic only makes sense if we are the stars of the show. And if we are the stars of the show, we’re missing the whole point.
If we are the stars of the show, we’re missing the whole point.
This isn’t supposed to be about us. My story is not mine. And yours doesn’t belong you, either. My role and your role are the same: the people in desperate need of a Savior. You and I required, depend on, and will always need the same amount of saving.
You and I required, depend on, and will always need the same amount of saving
Every story’s goal is to show Jesus. No more, no less, just Jesus.
Maybe you haven’t been raped. Maybe you can’t relate to the person whose afraid to have sex on their honeymoon because they’ve never crossed physical boundaries before. You might not have enough crap to start a reality show, or you might make the Kardashians look like drama amateurs. But if you have surrendered your life to Jesus, you have been saved from hell and given eternal life. If you are following Jesus, He has broken chains in your life and given you an impossible amount of freedom that you did not have before. You have a supernatural ability to face life with hope and joy and confidence that only comes from Him.
That sounds pretty dang dramatic to me.
Jesus is always relevant. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His light is just as visible in each of us when we allow it to shine.
The craziest of all stories is the one of Jesus’ love for us. And that story is worth sharing. Always.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord” 2 Timothy 1:8