Share Away, or No-Way?
Share or not to share, that is the question! Is there ever a time to not? Recently, I found myself in a sticky situation. I faced some tough questions about my past in a less than an optimal situation or location. I always try to make a habit to ask God, from my spirit, if He wants me to share what He lays on my heart; if God says “no,” then I hold back, but if He says “go,” I obey. As a matter of fact, sometimes the urging is so strong (as it was in this particular occurrence) that I would be a fool to strong arm him.
It happens quite often, I receive a prompting or word from God to convey to others. It is not always received well, which prompted the conversation I began with God in the first place. Since He is my authority for all things, I laid the question at His feet, “God, is there any time that it is not okay to reveal my ashes and how you transformed them into something beautiful?” He only whispered “no.”
Beauty for Ashes
Our stories are what make us beautiful. Sure, some of our experiences are downright ugly; I mean, like dirty, nasty rotting garbage left in 100-degree weather stanky. Our life experiences make us who we are, and some of us have a crap ton of garbage to wade through, but it is in these moments that we become lovely. Someone once told me that my scars (visible and non-visible) are beautiful and that they are the evidence of my healing. I love that interpretation, and why God calls us to share those scars with others to examine.
Have you ever heard someone’s story and loved them more because of the adversity they arose from? I know I have every time. I have never walked away with less love or admiration for someone because that is where we find Jesus; in the hard stuff. His fingerprints are all over it. He is glorified when we share how far he has brought us. Sometimes, that means we have to show how far we fell to paint the picture of the distance He carried us. It is our testimony.
Our testimony is proof that Jesus exists. So again, I ask, is there ever a time that Jesus does not want glory by revealing our walk with Him? Is there ever a time he wants His children to hold back what He has done for them? Still, the answer is no, but we must ask ourselves a few questions before proceeding. We must consider a few guardrails before pushing ahead at full steam.
1. Has the person you are sharing with given their permission? Have they opened the discussion or is it clear they are open to hearing?
2. Has God given His permission? Is it your assignment or divine appointment?
3. Is the end goal to bring glory to God, or pity or glory for ourselves?
4. Is the Holy Spirit guiding what and how much is appropriate, or are you going Willy-Nilly rogue spilling details not sanctioned by the Holy Spirit’s prompting?
5. Did you bring it full circle? Did you bring God’s hope and light to the end, or did you leave your listener in a puddle of yuck?
Not sure how to write a testimony? Here are 10 great tips for writing one.
For God Did Not Give Us a Spirit of Fear
When we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing some of the deepest-darkest portions of our hearts, we are offering a piece of ourselves to another. It is a scary and humbling experience to show our ugliness. Do not provide it lightly, nor hold it back because of fear. We clutch it in our outstretched hands as an offering, but they must be willing to accept. If they are not ready, the enemy will twist it into a gnarled mess.
Sometimes we do not understand why God asks us to share, or why someone felt led to share something with us. Perhaps God wants to plant a seed for retrieval at a later date, or someone within hearing range needs it at that very moment. Only God knows the answers to the “why.” Unconditionally trusting His reasons indicates maturity in Christ. Also, mature Christians learn to take everything offered to us to God for interpretation and final judgment. He has his purposes for everything, and God is less concerned with our comfort than He is with our obedience and reliance on Him. If He lays it on your heart to share, be sure not to dilute His message.
Do not Add Water
People only seem to desire the watered down version of everything. No one wants to deal with the hard stuff, let alone hear something that offends his or her sense of utopia. We have to be so careful with our words anymore. It is almost as if we should just never speak to make everyone else happy. The goal is always to be happy, and that life should make people comfortable and always filled with rainbow and butterflies.
If nothing ever makes us uncomfortable, how will we ever grow? Maybe that is the strategy of the enemy. To stunt our growth by always needing to be comfortable and happy. That is not from God! He calls us to step out on the ledge and jump knowing that he holds our tether! That is where we find Jesus; in the hard moments, in the uncomfortable and, at times, offensive. I pray that we are never silent or submissive when God directs our voice, even and especially when faced with disapproval. Also, I pray love accompanies our speech, and that is what sails on the wings of our words. I pray that the enemy does not twist it once it graces the ears of others.
The End – Trust
Ultimately, I shared what I felt the Lord asked me to. In my situation, I had permission from the person in the form of them asking me questions, I had a “go” from God, my goal was not self-focused, I allowed the Holy Spirit to filter my words, and I made sure to show where God had transformed me. The things is revealed were not full of butterflies and rainbows, nor was it the worst of my testimony or in great detail (more like skimming the surface), but I conveyed what He filtered through me. I never ask God why He chooses certain things or situations. I just trust that He has His reasons.