“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:16-20
I don’t know about you, but as a disciple of Jesus that verse stirs up lots of emotions in me. On one hand it inspires me. It’s a call to a story bigger than my own, and an invitation to share life alongside Jesus.
On the flip side, it also makes me feel guilt and shame. I know I’m not living out this challenge as well as I should.
There’s also some fear mixed in. I’ve been a Christian since I was 10, but I’m still insecure at times about how to share my faith with others. I start thinking things like, “What if I don’t explain Jesus’ gift of salvation the right way?” “What if I can’t answer the hard questions?” And the big one (that rings around and around in my heart even as I audaciously write about sharing our stories), “What if I tell someone about Jesus and then show myself to be a hypocrite by my lack of follow-through or bad behavior?” (I have some wish-I-didn’t-have-this-fish-on-my-car kind of days. How about you?)
I’m also afraid of rejection. As I as get older and sassier, I am less afraid of people rejecting me, but I’m still afraid people will reject Jesus because of me.
Here’s the truth about my biggest fear. Reaching out to people is messy, and I have an old pattern of avoiding messy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got my own messiness going on, but adding to it seems a little overwhelming sometimes. It’s mostly easier to hide in my church where people have to at least pretend to love me :), and where we largely view life in the same way.
Before I launched in to actually talking about how to naturally share our life stories in a way that points to Jesus, I decided I needed to address the elephant in the room. I don’t share God in my stories often enough because of fear–fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of a splatter of messiness. Maybe you feel the same way.
So how do we overcome those obstacles and joyfully start telling our stories?
We turn our eyes on Jesus, our hero and example on all things. Jesus’ entire life had two emphasis. His relationship with His Father was preeminent. Next, He focused on others, and He connected with them everywhere He went. He gathered 12 men that He poured His life into. He touched lepers (talk about messy!). He ate with with people the establishment hated, like tax collectors. He taught women. (Don’t miss this! Rabbis of the day considered women uneducable.) Jesus was a winsome, people magnet. Why? It was because of His great love for them.
So today, I don’t want you to hear me say, “Stop being selfish and just share.” Shame motivation makes me want to rebel not comply, and you probably feel the same way.
Instead, I’m urging you (and myself!) ask God for overflow. Beg Him in your times with Him this week for a love so deep for Him and the people around you that you can’t NOT share. Here’s a prayer for us:
Jesus, you are the most amazing example of how humans can live in the fullness of how God created us. So we turn to You, asking You to change us. Please help us to prioritize time with You not out of a need to check You off our list every day but because we are drawn to Your lavish love for us. When we’re with You, we beg You to fill us with all You are. Fill us with a passionate love for the Father and for those around us. Prepare us to share our stories out of the overflow of Your love. In Your precious name, Jesus. Amen.
I’m going to pray that pray all week with you both for myself and for you. Next week, with our hearts prepared, we’ll launch into the nuts and bolts!
Note: I over-promised when I mentioned including a video each week. I’ll include one at the end, but honestly, I almost gave up on this series entirely when I thought about doing one every week.
Can I ask for your prayers? Many of you probably saw it on Facebook last week when I announced that I’m working on my first book. So exciting!…. So exhausting and hard. 🙂 The working title is Breaking Up with Perfection, and there will be lots of details to come in the coming months.
I’m truly excited, but keeping up with two blogs, devotion writing, etc is tough along with the book writing. So please forgive the absence of a video, but I decided you’d understand. Thank you for grace and your prayers. I need them!