I thought I didn’t have much of a story to tell.
I grew up in a day when “sharing your testimony” was the norm at church. People would stand in church settings and share their salvation experience. The juicier the details, the more gripping the story. It sometimes seemed that, the “badder” they were before knowing the Lord, the “better” the testimony.
I often compared myself as a young person and thought, “I don’t have a story.” You see, I gave my life to Jesus as a four-year old. The “bad” I was delivered from was pinching my little sister and stealing gum. All sin is sin, but mine didn’t seem much of a story, in my opinion. As I became a teenager, I didn’t fall into throes of rebellion or have evil wrought against me. I loved the Lord with all my heart, but, in my youthful comparisons, that didn’t make much of a story. I rarely “shared my testimony” back then, because, well, I didn’t think there was really much of anything to tell.
Fast forward to being a parent, decades later. Of course, the years have given me more stuff to say, more experiences to share, and more “badder” and “better” to confess. But still, the thought prevails when it comes to discipleship. I get stuck because I think, “I don’t have a story to tell.”
Thing is, this is perhaps one of the enemy’s greatest lies. It’s a classic ploy to silence our stories of salvation. God promised salvation, Jesus delivered it, and the Holy Spirit seals it. Inherent in the word “salvation” is a backstory: this is who I was, this is what happened, this is who I am now.
In discipleship, we have the big picture stories of salvation to share, but we also have the day to day stories of what He is doing in and through us. “This is how God is changing me.” The question is, what stories of this change do I tell those entrusted to me? What should I speak about the depths of my heart, the struggles of my days, the doubts, wrestlings or fears?
What should I share? What should I not?
I believe we often get stuck in the non-answer to these questions. Either we think we don’t have anything to say – or we think we have too much. I’ve noticed that, sometimes, people don’t tell their stories because, well, they think there’s too much to tell. The details of shame, regret and pain are too raw, too personal, too real to openly share with others. So they don’t tell their stories, either.
However, “go tell” is exactly what Jesus has called all of us to do. He challenged all of His followers to share how He has impacted and changed our lives. The underlying theme is not how good or bad our stories are, the “better” or “badder.” The call to speak about Him to others is not contingent on our stories, but on the greatest story: His.
Slowly but surely over time, I realized I DO have a story to tell, and it’s what I call my “Jesus story.”
My “Jesus story” is as unique as my thumbprint. It is my experience of what God has done and is doing in my life. As I look back on my journals since I was about 13, the best part of my story is not me but Jesus. Through the things I’m proud to share with my kids and the things that I’m not, through the mundane and the incredible, the story line of God-with-me is the best part of my story.
“Seek Him Speak Him” means that, as God works in my life, I turn around and share my “Jesus story” with those He’s entrusted to me. The details have to be age and situation appropriate, of course. There’s no need to dump on a two-year old something that is more helpful for a twenty-year old. However, beingempoweredto speak my Jesus story is something that I need when I disciple my kids and all those entrusted to me.
This empowerment is something that we all need. And I challenge you as much as I challenge myself: Go tell!
Jesus called us to do this! He is with us, and He takes our trembling voices of our story and uses them to amplify His story.
And HIS story is definitely a story to tell.