Monday, July 23, 2012
A boxed delivery
Last night I arrived back home from the She Speaks conference. It was an amazing, inspiring and eye opening experience. I was able to hear from faithful and obedient women who were following their "calling" to teach scripture and encourage other sisters in Christ how to more effectively and genuinely share Jesus. During my time there I met some beautiful women who blessed my heart and friended me despite all my feelings of awkwardness. We were challenged to listen for God, to know him more and use the gifts given us to share Him and his truths with others on whatever platform God provides. To minister to my world of influence and trust God to do the rest.
One of the groups I participated in was a speaker evaluation group. My group leaders were Melissa Taylor and Stephanie Clayton. They were sweet, encouraging and gracious. Our mission was to share a 3 minute testimony on Friday and a 5 minute bible verse teaching on Saturday. They conceded right off that it's crazy to expect a 3 minute testimony and 5 minute teaching but it was a lesson in being concise and sharing your heart. I decided that attempting to reduce my life story (not that by worldly standards it's very exciting) to 3 minutes could only be accomplished if I shared a specific meaningful story or shared a theme.. I opted with the theme because it's more fun to make the abstract applicable and profound. I'm not sure that I accomplished either but I did cry, spoke everything I planned to say, said "um" at least a dozen times but I did finish within the 3 minute cut off.
Here is my 3 minute testimony:
A British playwright, Tom Stoppard, is quoted as saying "Life in a box is better than no life at all...".
Life in a box is something I can relate to because, until I met Christ, that's exactly how I was living. I grew up in a family that attended church together. My guides for living and our view of God was confined to a box. In all honesty, I loved it. I knew what was expected of me and had always been an "excellent rule follower". I had no plans to step out of these boundaries, mostly out of fear of failure and being the attention seeking people pleaser, this was a great way to live.
You see, box living has its benefits: you earn the trust of others, you receive praise and you avoid all the really bad consequences. Win, win, win. I was exactly what we want our kids to be. One time I lied to my parents and before they even suspected I came crying and confessed.
But box living has its down side...
Growing up in a church, I must have heard the gospel at least 500 times but it was muted by the box I lived in and it failed to reach my sanctimonious heart. I remember thinking "I don't think i sinned today".
Outwardly, I don't think anyone questioned the destination of my soul. I was even highlighted in a yearbook article about my "faith" and involvement in church.
Phil 1:8 "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice"
Growing up in the church without revelation of the gospel is like performing a choreographed dance you've known your whole life. You know exactly what to do and how to look- kind of like a Stepford Christian, pretty on the outside but dead and hollow on the inside. You know, the lost outside the church are easy to spot, it's the lost inside the church that can be harder to find and reach.
It was during my Senior year of high school when my eyes were opened to see that all my box living didn't earn me Gods attention or earn his favor. That was the day that the gospel penetrated. Thankfully, despite my walls of self righteousness and pride, Christ made a hole of truth. He revealed to me that, I too was a sinner that deserved death and required Christ's sacrifice. My box living had blinded me from seeing my need for His grace . .
Rom 3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one;"
I became aware that it was someone boxed like me who had yelled, "crucify him", it was someone like me who stood right next to truth, yet didn't recognize it. My box living was a delusion of protection that was destined to burn up in hell with me willingly inside.
Since then I get to follow him where he leads and pray He would use my old box and transform it into a billboard of truth that helps me point others to him.