Theology, Writing & Publishing

For the Christian whose testimony is “different”

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There are a lot of articles out there for Christians whose testimonies are too “bland.” For the person who grew up in a Christian home and answered an altar call at the age of four, who can’t remember a time in their lives when they weren’t Christian, they often wonder: how can I make an impact when my life has been so…boring?

I can’t relate to that. I’m the person who actually wishes her faith story was a little less exciting, a little more bland. As an introvert, I’m not fond of stealing the spotlight at Bible studies when talking about my background. I don’t intentionally try to do this, but given how unusual it is, it tends to just…happen. People are intrigued by the Reform Jewish girl who fell in love with the Episcopal church, and they ask a bunch of questions.

You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m not. I still have yet to narrow down an “elevator version” that I can say in 30 seconds or less. At the risk of drawing more attention to myself, I’ve considered just handing people business cards with links to my blog and book so they can read up for themselves, and I won’t have to talk at all.

Maybe you don’t have a faith story like mine (it’s okay, few people do). Maybe yours stands out for other reasons: maybe you met Jesus at rock-bottom from drug addiction or a stint in prison. Maybe you know what it’s like to be the person that people suddenly view differently when you share your story, and you, too, wish you could blend in a little bit better.

This post is for those people.

In some Christian social settings, the question “How did you come to know the Lord?” is as frequent as “What do you do for work?” Lest you think I’m exaggerating, this happened just last week at my husband’s evangelical church (which I stopped attending several months ago, but they happened to be having a talk about finances that seemed relevant to us — and there was free chili).

A gentleman at my table went around asking each person that very question. Most people gave short answers, and I felt my palms get sweaty as I realized, I don’t know how to condense all this into a short answer.

What I ended up saying was this: “Well, it’s kind of a long story (literally, almost 300 pages), but I’d rather talk about what God is doing in my life currently.”

It just so happened that the gentleman had to leave the table at that moment, because the talk was about to begin, and he was on the discussion panel. Whew.

But seriously though: whether you’re uncomfortable saying “I found Jesus while working in prostitution” in front of a group of strangers (or something equally as scandalous), or you don’t like the fact that your testimony is “boring,” just say that — “I’d rather talk about what God is doing in my life right now.”

That’s still a “testimony.” You’re just jumping through time.

You aren’t obligated to share personal things about your life with people you don’t know. And if you don’t feel like sharing at all, it’s also okay to say, “It’s a long story, maybe another time,” or “I’m not comfortable sharing that right now.”

Your real friends will understand.

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