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 Anglican 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 church. A gentleman at Bible study went around the table 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, but I’d rather talk about what God is doing in my life currently.”
God meets us in all kinds of places; not all of them are suitable for casual conversation. Maybe your conversation-stopping testimony isn’t about converting from one faith to another. Maybe you found Jesus while working in prostitution or something, and don’t want to say so in front of a group of strangers. Just respond with, “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.