My Struggle with My Testimony
How is one to explain a testimony that seems, well, boring to one who has endured much? I remember growing up and almost wishing I had gone through a "bad stage" where I could further exemplify God's goodness by my conversion. I remember being embarrassed of my testimony, because I saw the gap of relativity that it did not hold. Until I came to a realization of truth about my testimony, I was held in a bondage of not sharing it. I've been blessed with a different testimony. My testimony isn't one that enthralls an audience with thoughts of how miraculous my conversion was. My testimony isn't one that is easily relatable, and is one that can be reflected as one that has been incredibly lonely. I remember dreading a high school bible assignment to where we would go up in front of class and share our testimonies. Terrified couldn't begin to scratch the surface of the thoughts I was battling with. After one student after the next filed up to the platform sharing their deepest, internal struggles, the tragedies they experienced, and the heartache thrown their way, my heart continued to dread what was to come. When my name was finally called, a sense of urgency to run out of the room came, as well as one to be confident in proclaiming the truth I had come to know. The truth in my testimony.
I stood in front of the class, and proclaimed firmly, "I have always known Christ."
I'll explain to those who may not just "get it" why this is a hard thing to introduce into a testimony. First, the doubts that follow of, "What if they think I am legalistic, a "goody-too-shoes" or inexperienced?" comes to mind. You fear that those hearing that think you are filled with pride. You wonder if it eliminates any possibility of someone newly choosing Christ fully hearing your story. It was a dangerous proclamation to make, but I chose it anyways.
I continued to explain different circumstances that molded me and shaped me. I explained the times I was five, praying for God to send me to the ends of the earth, and preaching to anyone who would listen. I explained the times and periods of my life that were filled with anxiety, depressing mindsets, deep hurts, but how they never were my testimony. They were simply only a part of it, because from a young age, I always held on to my Christ. In truth, they were no where near the level of hurt others have experienced. Though there had been many hard seasons, I was completely blessed, because I had known the Lord my whole life. Though there were many times where I fell short of the glory of God and lived in sin, I always chose Christ as my Savior, knowing that He could rescue me of my uncleanliness. I knew I needed Him more than anything. As I began to explain my love for my Jesus through every season of hurt and joy, I began to see the audience engaged. They were intrigued even in a simple story of loving Jesus. They saw the areas I fell short in, and saw how the Lord redeemed it. They saw the areas where I chose Christ, and saw the beauty of His grace.
I began to realize that God was not only glorified in a testimony of one enduring so much pain, but also glorified in a testimony of a girl blessed with knowing Christ her whole life. The circumstances of my life did not affect the magnitude of my testimony- and it certainly does not yours.
The power of a testimony comes when you allow God to work through it. When you examine the circumstances involved in a testimony, the power of it lessens. When you are a living testimony of the fruitfulness of the Lord, He is given a platform to where His glory can be shown. Less of us, more of Him. I hope to convict you that whether your testimony is one filled with a life of distance from the Lord or a life always with the Lord, it still is used in powerful ways. Whether it is to inspire or to help you learn, it is used for the glory of God.
God created a whole bunch of sold-out crazy, passionate, people who adore Him. He loves our spirits, and I think He chuckles when He sees our immediate instinct to dramatize or compare our testimonies. However, we do enter into a realm we aren't suppose to when we start comparing our testimonies. I was in an incredibly selfish mindset when I began to doubt if God could use my testimony as one to glorify Him. I plead with you to not do the same.
Also understand that your testimony is constantly growing, broadening, and becoming more and more powerful-the more you choose Christ. Our testimony is one of the most powerful tools the Lord gives us, and my prayer is that it isn't wasted with thoughts of comparison or doubt.
Though it doesn't directly reflect the gift of a testimony, this verse is a wise one when thinking anything. Including your testimony.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:7)
Let your testimony be one filled with God's peace, resting assured of its power and promise. Let your testimony not only be yours, but God's. Relish in the fact that the circumstances of your testimony does not define its magnitude, but how God was glorified does.