The Bashful Believer

If you read my testimony, you know that I became a Christian when I turned 16.  Of course, as I go on to explain, within two years of my decision, I abandoned my faith at the first major challenge I was presented with.  I spent the next 24 years pretty much doing my own thing.  Not well, mind you…  Stupid choices.  Bad decisions.  You know…  the stuff that years later, when you finally wise up, make you wonder, “How could I have ever been that stupid?”

Even later, when I started going to church again, talking about God was something I was very shy about doing.  I was always afraid to do what the Bible commands us to do:

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.  ~Exodus 9:16

Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.  ~Psalm 96:3

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  ~Mark 16:15

Why was I afraid?  Now, I’m at the point in my life, where I’m now asking myself not only, “How could I have been that stupid?,” but “How could I be that selfish!”  Selfish in my fear of sharing the greatest gift the world has ever received — Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We are told… no… COMMANDED, to share God with others…over and over again through scripture.  That’s because He loves the world so much, He wants everyone to have the same opportunity to hear about His greatness and plan for salvation!

Many Christians feel the same way I have felt…  and I admit, I still struggle with it.  Let me tell you a recent story:

A few weeks ago, my 18-year-old son had a panic attack to the point that I had to rush him to the emergency room.  His dad and I have been divorced since our son was 4, and for the most part – we just stay in our respective corners and rarely interact.  However, I called him to tell him what was going on.  He met us at the hospital and the three of us sat in the back, talking, waiting on someone to come talk to us.  During the course of the conversation, I had the opportunity to tell my ex-husband that I had recommitted my life to Jesus.  But as I was telling him, I felt awkward and embarrassed.  I wasn’t ashamed of my faith and re-commitment, but I felt (and still very much do feel) totally inadequate to share anything about the Gospel.

The subject was changed and we went on our way.

In the couple of weeks since that discussion, I have felt this overwhelming burden to pray for my ex-husband.  I don’t know why I feel like I need to, but after a couple of weeks of consistent prodding by the Holy Spirit on the matter, I finally added my ex-husband to my prayer list.

Because the truth is — He needs prayers.  All of us do.  He needs Christ.  All of us do.

And if I am going to call myself a Christian, I have to get over myself and realize that God wants me to love others more than protecting myself from “embarrassment.”  2 Timothy 1:7-8 says:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear.  I LOVE that.  But Satan will do everything he can to convince us otherwise.  But we are to overcome those lies that are whispered to us and not be ashamed to share about God’s love!

We are not called to be lukewarm Christians!  It’s utterly distasteful to God for us to be lukewarm…

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  ~Revelation 3:16

As disturbing as that scripture is, even more so disturbing is the words of Jesus spoken in Matthew 10:33:

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

I think, for me, my Ah-Ha moment about sharing my faith in a public way was two-fold.  First, as a writer, I express myself better on paper (or on a computer screen as the case may be).  It’s more comfortable for me than an actual conversation.  Sure, I can talk, of course, but usually, after the conversation is over, I think of 50 things I wish I’d said…  So, by writing out my messages, I can organize my thoughts, and I am praying that God will use these words to reach others…  This is the spiritual gift He gave me and as I shared in an earlier post, I feel compelled to write this way.

The second thing that helped me get over my fear of talking about my faith was actually this year’s political season.  In the past, I have avoided talking politics with the same kind of vehemency I’ve had for avoiding religious discussions.  When I was growing up, I was taught, you NEVER talk about politics in public.  Apparently, though, no one else seems to have learned that lesson.  I’m sure it largely has more to do with being behind a computer screen, our bravado is much more so than it would be face-to-face.  However, I have watched the Facebook mud slinging between the Pro-Donald and Pro-Hillary camps and it occurred to me…  these people aren’t afraid to share their opinions and beliefs.  Why should I be afraid?

I’m still not going to share my political opinions, but my Christian faith — THAT’S what I HAVE to share.  I can no longer sit on the sidelines and be passive.  I don’t want to be lukewarm and I’m not going to deny Jesus.  God has put a tremendous burden on my heart that it’s time to grow up and stop being bashful.  As I approach my 42nd birthday in a few weeks, I have decided that going forward, I want to be like the apostle Paul, bold in my faith.

and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. ~Ephesians 6:19-20

And when I’m scared, I’ll cling to this promise from Isaiah:

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  ~Isaiah 41:10

Join me.  Our world needs a revival.  A revival of faith.  A renewing of our appreciation for Jesus as the Light of the World.  As Americans, whose country was founded on the faith of the one, true God, we need to relight our candles, and let our love for God shine brightly.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  ~Matthew 5:14-15

I may still feel completely inadequate to talk about God and the Bible, like I felt a few weeks ago when I talked to my ex-husband.  However, I’m determined.  God’s with me.  And with God, I cannot fail.

Join me.  Let’s not be bashful.  Let’s be bold together.

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