So You Think You Have A Boring Testimony?

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We were finally sitting around a camp fire after several miles of hiking on a women’s backpacking trip I was leading in the Weminuche mountains of Colorado. The tents were pitched, the dehydrated meals had been reconstituted and we had nothing but a sunset to gaze at and time to kill. Someone suggested that everyone one should take turns giving their testimony during our peaceful evening. My mouth suddenly became dry, I felt sweaty and was full of dread. “I have no testimony…It’ll take about a minute to share…People are going to think it’s lame,” the discouraging thoughts filled my mind.

I didn’t like sharing my testimony because it was well…so…boring. It goes a little something like this:

As a 4-year old little girl sitting on my daddy’s lap in a tattered old rocking chair, I nodded my head when he asked, “Do you want Jesus to come into your heart to save you from your sins and live in heaven eternally when you die?” At the time, I didn’t know everything yet about my faith, but I knew I believed that I needed a Savior and I wanted him to save me. Simple as that, my child-like faith accepted Jesus and I jumped in full force.

As a youth, I recited my AWANA verses with devotion on a weekly basis, Dared to Share, attended youth group and church camp, did a summer stint with Teen Missions International, and Saw (a random few) at the Pole for prayer. I even waited for my true love. (Catch any 90’s Christian sub-culture references in there?) Basically, I was kind of a goody-two-shoes church kid that did all the “right” things.

As I pondered what I’d say to my camping group, I kept wishing I had more to add. Something juicy. Something sordid. Something to make a good story. But there were no drugs. No ex-cult. No nightclubs. Not even a shiny church tent revival. Boring, boring, boring.

How did I arrive at the point where I felt shame about my testimony? Well, I’d listened to plenty of others and it seemed the more dramatic the tale, the more amazing it was to everyone. I knew mine didn’t have all that drama. As a culture, we love the juxtaposition of a sensational before and after. We are addicted to pre and post reveals– like the newly sculpted bodies of the contestants on The Biggest Loser or the considerably less cluttered, better-decorated and more usable spaces of HGTV shows like Love it or List It. We shudder at the posters hanging in the post office of methamphatimine users before and after drugs. (Oh, those teeth).

So I (and maybe you) are left with a seed of doubt when it comes to giving a testimony.

What if our conversion stories don’t measure up to this expectation we have for sensation?

What if our stories fails to offer some dramatic outward life turn-around?

Is my story worth being told?

The truth is that no testimony is a boring testimony because we’re telling it not to entertain, but to encourage others and to glorify God.

Though the details of how we came to know the God of the Bible matter, the dramatic part of every story is always about HIS miraculous work in our lives and how He continues to work in us through his Holy Spirit. And the fact is, that we all did have a sordid “before.” Our hearts were full of sin and we had no way to come before a perfect and holy God. No matter how innocent or good we seemed on the outside.

My five-year old accepted Christ as her Savior this past year. A couple nights ago, we talked about heaven (where she postulates sugar will be good for you) and eternity (which doesn’t make sense- I agreed) and hell (where they probably won’t have food) and I saw her faith at work. And I became encouraged about my own story.

She found Jesus early and I found Jesus early. A big part of my story is that He has been a faithful Father and has “kept me” from a lot of that drama I wish my story had.  The checklist of goody-two-shoes things I have from my past aren’t evidence of anything other than that. I don’t remember which details  I shared that night around the campfire. I remember I cried (like I usually do when I’m talking about Jesus) and I pray God was glorified despite the fact that I was ashamed.

When I find myself getting to  give my testimony again, I’m going to share the reason for my hope and not worry about the fact that my testimony wouldn’t make for good reality T.V.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15

Maybe you can relate to my conversion story. Or maybe you have an extremely different life in Christ now than you did before Him. No matter what the case, TELL ON with joy!