Or, at least that’s the vibe I get when I hear someone segue into one with a preface that starts with “It’s no big deal,” “I don’t want to bother you,” or “It’s not as good as <fill in the blank>, but…”.
As is the case with many of my blogs, this one can be traced back to a conversation I had recently with my mother. I’m not ashamed to mention when I am inspired by something my mom has said or done.
Because she is freakin’ awesome.
See, when I am confident in the quality and source of my inspiration, I have no problem sharing it.
And you know what-most people who have heard stories about my mom want to meet her. I’m 27 and my friends ask to meet my mom. They get excited about being invited to hang out with her. Heck, my brother’s girlfriend likes leaving my brother at home and going grocery shopping with her!
I never start a recounting of a “mom” encounter with “If it’s not an inconvenience” or with the intention of stating it in a relatively non-assuming, non-discomforting kind of way. I never worry about what kind of light I’m presenting my mom in or if people will be bothered by hearing about her.
So, why is it easier for me to reference the amazing result of a cool interaction with my mom than it is for me to acknowledge God and what he has done?
You see, I know my mom and I know who she is and what she does speaks for itself.
I’m not worried about running PR for her. I’m just excited to share what I have learned or experienced as a result of my relationship with her. Parents and grandparents are like this with their kids, teens are like that with their boy/girlfriends and everyone is like that when it comes to their celebrity flavor of choice.
This tells me that, as humans, it is natural for us to bear witness to those things that we experience. It’s innately in us, to shine light on things we are impressed/encouraged/excited by.
If that’s the case, then why are our testimonies so ineffective when it comes to God?
You see, my mom was sharing with me about how God has been meeting with her lately. I encouraged her to share it with some others, but she was afraid of sounding ‘holier than thou’ or ‘prideful’ to say how God was meeting with her. Whisky Tango Charlie!
But I do the same thing!
What is the natural response to a story given hesitantly, apologetically or insecurely? The hearer feels hesitant, apprehensive and insecure concerning what they hear. So, if you have experienced this or wondered why people don’t seem to be encouraged by or respond to your testimony when you share it, you may have fallen prey to one (or all) of the 5 reasons your testimony is lame.
1) You apologize for it
Things it is appropriate to apologize for sharing
- Bad News
- A Cold
- Irritation or frustration
I don’t know what God has done in your life, but chances are it doesn’t fall into any of the categories above.
Things you don’t apologize for sharing
- Good News
What God has done in your life is either better than or falls into one of these categories. So stop apologizing.
2) You qualify it
If you start sharing how Awesome God is or has been in your life with “Maybe it’s just me”, then why would I want to listen to it?
That’s like looking at a single person and expecting them to get excited because you’re the one getting married. Chances are, no matter how close, they won’t be as excited as you are. They may be happy for you, but it probably won’t impact their life (unless it makes them really jealous, which is not what you’re going for, right?).
3) You downplay it
I’ve seen so many people afraid to share their testimony because it’s not the silver lining to a story littered with drugs, sex and rock and roll. Heck, I’ve been that person!
It’s a common misconception that a testimony has to be “dramatic” for it to be powerful. This is a grievous misnomer or to put it simple-WRONG.
The biggest difference between the “Jesus saved me from a debauched life” and “I never had to go through that” is simply one person is more grateful than the other.
Maybe if those of us who haven’t had to “go through hell” were just as excited and grateful for the grace we’ve received, others would be too.
This one is a common killer of those “post salvation” testimonies. Just because you’re saved doesn’t mean you stop bearing witness to the greatness of God. His presence, sanctification and sustenance reflect that Salvation isn’t just getting you out of Hell, it’s about complete restoration.
4) You’ve been ‘forgiven’ so you’ve forgotten it
This one is a toughie. How do we walk in victory while holding on to the past? Wait, no, it’s not tough at all.
We’ve just got to realize that your history isn’t about what you’ve done; it’s about what God’s done.
You don’t share it to build up the Old Man, you share it to lift up the Son of Man, so all can be drawn to him. Your testimony isn’t about you, just like mine is not about me!
5) You never get around to making it
The biggest killer of an impacting testimony is simply not allowing God to make your life into one.
A testimony is bearing witness or providing an account of what you know is true. A testimony isn’t just about bad things that have happened, but about the character and life of the one on trial.
And thanks to Jesus, that one isn’t you or me.
He took our place on trial and now our lives are used to give credibility to His Story…or take away from it.
Revelation 12:11 tells us we are saved by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony or as The Message puts it, our bold witness.
If we shrink back, we aren’t allowing God to use our life to build a case for his goodness and the prosecutor (Satan) isn’t slacking in making his to those hearing the evidence.
Don’t hold back—let Christ turn you into the perfect character witness.
So, today I’m challenging myself with this: How can I give voice to the awesomeness of who God is and what he’s done/doing in my life. Because, as much as I love my mom, God is way more awesome than her!
Today, let’s just practice giving voice. Share your testimony in the comments-it may encourage someone