Sitting in my apartment I open up the beginning pages of Blue Like Jazz, a book a friend recommended to me before my trip. However I can only get through the first three pages of this guy’s story about his walk with Christ after growing up in a broken home. I feel like every best-selling Christian author grew up with a broken home, an abusive past, or was strung out most of their teen years. Only three pages in I stopped. I just didn’t have the patience or interest to hear about another person with the same story of a broken past slowly finding their way to Christ. This may sound harsh and unchristlike but the truth is, it’s not that I don’t want to listen to people or have sympathy for them. In fact I love hearing about people’s journey through life, and being encouraged by what they have come through, but it’s almost impossible for me to relate to these authors because my life was the complete opposite.
Ever since I was little I have always been ashamed of what I have. My incredible family, my loving church, my great friends, my ability to do well in school, everything I have been blessed with I have felt guilty for having. I don’t understand why I get to have such a rich, full life while millions of people are hurting and suffering in the world. It’s like in school when you and a friend both tryout for a sports team, you run to the gym after school to see if you made it. You did and you are so happy, but quickly hide your excitement when you see the devastation on your friend’s face because she was the only one who didn’t make it. For me, sharing my excitement with people about my awesome life felt like rubbing it in to those who didn’t have as much as I did.
Listening to speakers at church or hearing other students’ testimonies stories after a week at church camp made me feel like I didn’t really have a testimony or story to share at all. It seemed like every evangelist to come through church was just like most Christian authors who came out of a horrible addiction or home life. When I would say something to my counselor at the end of the week I always got the same answer of how I was lucky that I didn’t have to go through what these people went through and I don’t have all of the “baggage” that they have to deal with. Secretly, I wanted some kind of dramatic past. To me it was simple. I would have had a horrible first few years as a kid, get invited to church camp, have God take all of my problems away in five days, and get an awesome life and story by the end of the week. Haha I later learned that’s not how life really works, and was grateful for the life I was given but never wanted to tell anyone about it.
These past few months I’ve had a passion for hearing people’s stories and where they have come from, but recently, I’ve had an even greater desire to share my story with people. Then I stop and think. “Who would want to hear my story? I don’t have a dramatic past or life altering event that brought me to Christ? Who would want to listen to me or who could ever relate to me?”
Sitting in my apartment today I realized something, I have a story to tell, an incredible story. An example of how rich and beautiful life is when Christ is at the center of every part of it. I’m tired of hiding behind my ministry face listening to others, but also secretly hoping they will ask me about my life, my past. I’m tired of always turning conversations and attention back towards others because I feel inadequate or fear rejection. I know that if I had a coffee date with Jesus, he would sit across the table at Starbucks and get even more excited than I am about all that I have and have accomplished.
In the bible, God says that he hates pride, and he rewards the humble. However, just like pride can bring destruction to a person’s life false humility can be even more damaging. One of my favorite songs from kid’s church was “this little light of mine” (but the remix version with the black light puppets). Hiding my light from people doesn’t just mean that I don’t share the story of Christ with them, but it can also mean that I am hiding me from them and all that Christ has done for me.
I don’t know who will read this or if this will encourage anyone else, although I hope it does. But for me, realizing that I have a story to tell and telling it is all that matters.