The bell rang, and I squinted as fuzzy-looking people passed me in the hallway. I had no idea what time it was, because reading the clock meant pulling my glasses out of the depths of my backpack. Those around me were indistinct blurs, which allowed me to keep up my own invisibility shield. If I put the glasses on and those around me came into focus, I was afraid that they would see me in sharper focus, too. Not wanting to be looked at and found lacking, I preferred to keep myself at a distance from my fellow students for that entire school year. My books were allowed to see me in glasses, but no one else was.
I was invisible, and I liked it that way.
Until, that is, I no longer wanted to be invisible, and I found I had trapped myself into a box of my own making. Over the next 15 years, I found myself internally striving to become visible without making it look like I was trying to too hard, but very few people saw through the box.
He knew how I longed to be seen but refused to come out of my safe box. In an hour of intense weeping and prayer, and the following hours of allowing his hearing to pour over me, he opened the door of that box. I was free to breathe the air of effortless living, and He gave me a new name that is a constant reminder to me of life outside the box.
God sees you too.
You, my friend, are seen.
You are visible to God.
You are important in the Kingdom.
You are loved and called and He has a new name for you, too.
A name that proves He has had you on His mind since the beginning of the world.
That is my faith story, at least a part of it. In 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” This has traditionally been understood as needing to have a philosophical or scientific retort for any faith question that might be thrown at you.
But what if my task is simply to share the reason for the hope I have, to share the story of how God has worked in my life?
In our postmodern culture, most people are not looking for philosophical or scientific answers to answer their faith questions. They want to know what God can do in the life of a regular human being. They want to know “what’s in it for me?”
[Tweet “Do you have an answer to give to those who ask you to give the reason for the hope you have? “]
In her book What Happens When Women Say Yes To God, Lysa TerKeurst gives a useful method to help narrow down an entire life into a shareable story, and sometimes that story is found around a mess or MESS. What I have been learning is that even though my mess doesn’t look like the crazy awful mess that Lysa was in, it doesn’t make it any less of a mess in God’s eyes!
Self-sufficiency is just as much a sin (in fact, maybe an aspect of the original sin) as the more “obvious” sins. That said, simply growing in Christ all through childhood, youth, and beyond is an incredible gift and not to be minimized.
I found my faith story through seeing how my “mess” was my invisibility; where do you find your “mess”? Is it the circumstances placed on you as a child, or a direct result of your choices?
Mine was a combination of my personality and choices, causing me to feel as though I were a ghost walking through the world without making an imprint.Your story will be different from mine, but it is no less powerful.
The story doesn’t need to be dramatic because Jesus meets us in any kind of mess, whether or not it makes a viral news story.
At the heart of your faith story is the place where you met Christ for the first time or afresh.
It may not be a singular moment like mine. In fact, your Messiah moment, as Lysa TerKeurst describes, may have taken place over several years. But when you look back and see where God has met you in your mess, write that down as your Messiah moment.
It doesn’t matter how dramatic your messes and Messiah moments are. The fact that Christ has touched your life and made it different is what creates the message.
I encourage you to write down your story today. Then you will be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have! When you have it figured out, please share it in the comments!
To read more of how God is weaving his way though my life story, read this post! You might also want to read Impact Together: Biblical Mentoring Simplified, which will help you see your story in the context of mentoring relationships, and Meet the New You, which will help you embrace the story God is writing throughout your life.