I was reading blogs today, like I typically do and a question popped into my head. "When was the first time I was asked to LEAD a devotional/prayer time/Bible Study" Thinking about this question still makes me crazy nervous and embarrassed at what actually happened when I presented my "devo" to a group of people before school one morning. We prayed, saying words we've all been taught to say during our prayers and then the Teacher asked me to share what I had planned.
That morning went as usual with me knowing I'd have to give a devo, but without ever preparing for one, having NO books on Christianity at the time, no computer in the house(I'm old!), and just me and a little devotional book my mum has given me a year earlier on my birthday. I didn't turn to the Bible and prayer to direct me in leading a group of students in God's Word before school. My own talents, my own abilities, my own nervous energy brought forth the shortest, most nerve-wracking time in my life. Failure.
Looking back now, some realizations come to my mind. When do we teach others how to share their stories, the Bible, their God with others? When do we teach and instruct and disciple them to lead others in worship, in tithing, in prayer life as well as other spiritual disciplines ? Growing up isn't that what all those Sermons, Vacation Bible School Lessons, Sunday School Classes, Youth group lessons are for? Apparently no one gave me the memo.
Back to that little room in my AP government class trying to give a devotional about stress (which I never knew as a child or teenager but had heard about) created a sense of irrational fear about sharing my testimony and my Jesus with people. I was the only Baptist representative in this before school Bible Study and I felt like my devo failed the entire belief of the Baptist church in those who attended that day. A sinking feeling grew in my stomach and my face was probably bright red as the leader asked "is that it?" What else could I say? My heart wasn't in it, my head knowledge was lacking, and my "training" was certainly displaced as well.
I didn't share my testimony for the next TWELVE years. Twelve! That's how old Jesus was when He first started teaching. That's how I let Satan trap me into his bondage in thinking that what I had to say wasn't good enough, wasn't worth people's time and attention. And I even taught some classes, youth, and elementary children during this time. And I never realized this was a part of my history until that question popped into my head.
Technically, I've never shared my Testimony with people I haven't gone to church with. Yes, there are non-Christian members and people in attendance on any given Sunday, but I haven't gone out of my way to tell people near and around me what Jesus has done in my life. The Youth at my past church, they heard ALL the good, the bad, and the VERY ugly of my life living without Christ. I shared so that they can share, too. (and that works by the way, when you trust youth enough to lay your dirty junky sin-life out there for them to see along with the grace, mercy, and redemption that brought me back in, allows the students to see you as human and no longer on some weird Christian pedestal) Honesty trumps lies every.single.time.
So, the Marine and I shared our very short testimonies this past Sunday. It's still shocking people as I don't ever speak much and public speaking doesn't really scare me. I did look at the floor more often than people, though because I'd be all like "squirrel" ooh look, "something shiny". Yeah, that's totally me!!
And so sharing and giving are what really connect people. And as I remember that silly devo time I did in High School, I am reminded that God smiled upon it because I said yes and kept my word. He wants us to say YES and mean it and not back down and that is why my testimony was under lock and key: almost banished. I loved telling God "no". Yet, this new life I have been given by Jesus, I find myself saying YES a lot and not always knowing what's in store, but knowing that He has my best interests at hand. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the Called.
Will you say Yes?