As Christians, we have this whole set of practices embedded in our culture that seem pretty bizarre if we step back and look at them. Things like… fake cussing. “Holy Toledo,” “Mother of Pearl,” “No effing way,” and, worst of all, “Bless Her Heart.”
We sing in groups. In what other area of your life to adults get together once a week and sing? Don’t get me wrong- I love it, but, outside the church (and community chorus) it’s not a normal activity.
Then there are the essential parts of our faith. Things sacred and beautiful to us, but probably seem bizarre to outsiders. Baptism (dumping cold water on babies). Communion (eating bread and juice and talking about eating the Body and Blood of Christ). Confession (telling our deepest darkest secrets to our friends).
As part of my job, I recruit one person from my church to share their faith story with the high schoolers monthly. I am always surprised to hear how many people don’t feel as if they have a story to tell. I hear over and over that their story is boring. That they never really did anything ‘worth’ giving a testimony about.
We seem to have a misunderstanding in the church. We believe that unless you have some horrid history to share, that you don’t have a story to tell. If you weren’t a former alcoholic, scam artist, or motorcycle gang member, then you don’t have a testimony others want to hear.
In terms of testimonies, my story is pretty basic. Sure, I made some boneheaded decisions as a teenager. I got my heart broken a few times. I wrestled with forgiveness. But all in all, my story is pretty vanilla. But here is the thing- it is my story, which makes it precious. As I tell my high schoolers each month, the reason we tell our faith stories is to remind ourselves that God is doing something in the lives of everyone we see, including our own. The more of other’s stories we hear, the better we are able to recognize the love story God is telling in our own lives.
Here is the truth. No matter how boring our story may seem to us, it is actually epic. Here is how your story goes:
You were lost. Unredeemed. Guilty and sentenced to death. Living a life utterly without hope.
And a hero came.
He swept you off your feet. Loved you without fear. Delighted in the things that make you utterly unique. Reminded you of your worth and your beauty. And then, this lover of yours did the unthinkable.
He dove in front of the train. He sacrificed his life, without a second thought, took your punishment upon himself, so that you were rescued. Because of His sacrifice, you have a second chance at life.
Your faith story is SO much less about you, and MORE about Jesus, than you could ever imagine. And because of that, we all have a story to tell. One of the greatest love stories of all time. One that includes drama, suspense, tragedy and triumph. And your story is yours alone.
So you don’t have a shameful, dark past to tell? So what? You still have so much to share. And your testimony can be told forwards as well as backwards. What adventures are you living now, as you walk hand in hand with your Savior? If you think your story is boring, stir it up! See what adventures you can live today, next week, in your next decade!