“Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:3 (NIV)
One by one, each woman walked to the front of the small room, turned to face our little group of beginning speakers. She straightened her notes, took a deep breath and proceeded to give a brief, but moving testimony of how God saved her from a life of misery. Tears flowed in the room, as each listener empathized with the sadness of a broken life without God.
As my turn neared, my heart pounded. Combined with the nervousness over public speaking, was insecurity about my own testimony. No dramatic conversion was in my background, no painful loss, no rejection of God. My story – compared to theirs – seemed tame. In fact, at that moment, I was embarrassed over the ordinary-ness of my life.
After that training exercise, instead of feeling better equipped to speak, I was convinced I’d heard God’s instructions incorrectly. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to tell others about what God had done in my life. After all, it didn’t seem like much compared to everyone else. What can a woman who became a Christian at an early age testify about? That wrong line of thought affected me for years.
God did open doors for me to speak and teach women, but instead of talking about what He had done in my life, I focused on the stories of others. I taught from Scripture and books, but kept distant from my own life experience. In some way I felt disqualified to share my stories. They just didn’t seem dramatic enough, and that’s what I thought people wanted to hear.
The more I compared my own life experiences to others, the more I dismissed God’s work in my life. Then one day, God gently challenged me to take my focus off of what He’d done in the lives of others and be amazed at what He had done in mine! He showed me that it wasn’t ever about me and “my” story, it always was and always will be “His” story – and there was nothing ordinary or boring about that!
I began to see things with new eyes. What I’d written off as “normal,” became miraculous. As I focused on how, over the years, God answered my prayers, took away my fears, taught me things, comforted me in sadness, brought me friends, and healed my emotions and body, my testimony grew. Now, instead of glossing over the everyday experiences, I dissect them looking for God’s fingerprints – and find them everywhere. And, as I’ve been more faithful to tell about God’s work in my life, He has touched the lives of others.
I’ve learned there’s no “one-size-fits-all” testimony – but there’s always a story to tell. I just had to take the focus off me and put it on God. Then I can join the psalmist and “declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all people.”
In His Love,