Saturday, March 22, 2014
When you get a chance to share your story
What's funny is that without my seeking them, God has been giving me pep-talks before Hope Spoken. It's like each time I open my Bible, He's got a word in there, something of which I need to be reminded for the upcoming conference. They are pretty killer pointers. (Thanks for that, God.) So I thought I'd share them with you for when you get a chance to share your story one day.
I say 'when', and not 'if' because there is a 99% chance that someday, someone will be placed into your life who needs to hear it. It may not be a room full of people at once. It may be your child. Or your boss. Or it may be an entire stadium full of thousands of people. I don't know. But God does, and He wastes exactly nothing of your pain, your life experiences. Do you know that? He wastes nothing. In God's amazingly awesome economy, every loss, every tear, every single bit of brokenness lines up on the conveyor belt of Redemption. And the output is a huge heap of testimonies. Beautiful, precious accounts of God's mighty hand at work in your life.
Lately, I feel my heart might explode due to how strongly I've come to believe in this truth:
Our stories contain precious testimonies of the Lord, and one day, we will be called to the witness stand of life and be asked to speak them.
Well, I've had a few opportunities in the past, and I'm getting one next week at Hope Spoken. I'm completely humbled to have this opportunity to share my story, and the closer it gets, the more my heart absolutely burns with desire to tell about what God has done in my life. But let's be honest. It's always intimidating to be vulnerable, to speak to a group, and to be around hundreds of ladies dressed to the nines.
Thus, the pep-talks. As I've been reading through I Corinthians, here are a few reminders God has given me:
1. Even Paul was afraid and trembling before he spoke. He decided to ditch trying to deliver a "good" speech, He set aside everything but Jesus, and relied wholly on the Holy Spirit.
When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. (I Cor 2:1-5)
2. God is the one doing the teaching. (I can't reveal ANY spiritual thing to anyone on my own!)
10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (I Cor. 2:10-12)
3. Focusing on popularity is worldly. Focusing on servanthood is godly. (Even the early Christians were worried about numbers of followers!)
4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? 5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. (I Cor. 3:4-9)
4. No matter how many people with whom I share my story, I always, always speak to an audience of One.
As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. (I Cor. 4:3-5)
5. All I have to give is Jesus, and every bit of my story is a gift from Him.
What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? (I Cor. 4:7)
So basically. I just have to remember all those things every second of the weekend and I'll be good.
(Right. Super easy. J/K. I mean. WHY did He pick me for this job again?)
But seriously. God's pep-talks are awesome. HE is shouldering the burden of life-change in people's lives. HE is equipping me in every aspect of my calling. And HE is the only one with the right to evaluate me. Doesn't that free me up to flat out enjoy the conference? Phew.
Thank you, Lord.
P.S. If you're coming to the conference next weekend, puhleeeze let me know then come hunt me down. Promise? K.