Thursday, November 29, 2012

That Time I Gave My Testimony

This is a post that got "lost in the archives". I saved it as a draft sometime last fall, when I was enrolled in an evangelism and discipleship class at Moody. This was a class that challenged the way I looked at the Gospel and shared my own story. 

For one of my class assignments, I had to write out my testimony.

Now, I consider myself something of a pro in writing out my testimony. How I came to know Jesus, how I've grown, and what God's doing now. I've written this out a lot and had the assignment done in about five minutes.

Then I got to class.

"Who wants to be the first one?" the professor queries.

"The first for what?" we ask, checking our syllabus.

The first to give our testimonies in front of the class, of course. OF COURSE.

Anytime this happens in a class, be it give a speech, make a presentation or sometimes even answering a question out loud in class, I want to leave. Or throw up. Or quit school.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten this far just to quit over a three minute testimony. Eventually I spoke (I was not the first, but I wasn't the last either - someone told me once that people always remember the first and the last so I try to go somewhere in the middle since I really stink at speaking). I took long awkward pauses to figure out what I would say, my face was hot and probably red. I giggled and said "um". I am every speech teacher's nightmare, but thankfully, I wasn't being graded on my presentation. I hope.

It occurred to me after I had finished that there has never been a time when I've been good at speaking. More often than not, I can write something in five minutes that sounds rather put together. In contrast, I could get up and say that very same thing and sound like a babbling idiot.

And that's when I realized that my days of speaking in public are not over the moment I receive my diploma. I will be enduring this humiliation until the day I die.

God has used this thing more than any other to make me trust Him. I nearly blacked out the first time I gave my testimony in Ukraine. I have read stories of other poor speakers in the Bible over and over for encouragement. I've memorized Philippians 4:6-7 unintentionally, just by reading it so many times in one day. God has used this thing in my life to do things that are small for others but huge for me - I've led crafts in Ukraine, shared in many churches, passed a speech class with an A, passed a preaching class with an A, led Bible studies, taught Sunday School, and given a toast at a wedding. Yes, these are normal things. Small things. To you.

To me, this is evidence that God has worked in this area. Kicking and screaming (figuratively), I have opened my mouth in front of others for my own edification if not for theirs. This thing is something that God continually uses to grow me and to remind me of how far I've come. Baby steps, if not leaps and bounds.

It's going to be in my life for quite some time. I don't think I'll be addressing the world or on live television... but who knows? All I know is that now I realize that this is something that God has used to remind me that He is Lord of my life. It has shown me that I need Him and that without Him, I'd be blacking out in classrooms everywhere. And failing speech. And most importantly not experiencing the growth that He can give when we rely on the Lord.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  
II Corinthians 12:9

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