I knew early on in life that God was calling me to share Jesus and His Word with others. The problem was that I was a very shy little girl who lacked confidence in herself and trust in Him. I faithfully attended Sunday School, church services and activities, Vacation Bible School, and lived my life in obedience to my parents and God. I strived for perfection and knew that I often fell short in obeying.
I was baptized as a two-week old baby in my home town church. My three first cousins stood beside me as my sponsors. My Mom taught me a lot about Jesus as did my Sunday School teachers. I loved to learn and soaked in all I could. My parents even have a home movie of me telling my Sunday School story after church to my baby sister when I was 3 years old. I was quite dramatic in pointing out to her the pictures on my handout.
Yet as I went to public school, I was shy and did not speak up very often except to answer my teachers’ questions. I wrestled with how other kids disobeyed their teachers and parents, as I was trying my best to be the good Christian girl. I wanted others to obey Jesus too.
In Junior High, I took Confirmation classes at my church and loved all that I learned about God and church doctrine. We were required to memorize Bible verses and the Small Catechism. Although I was resistant at times to memorizing all those Bible verses, I am so very grateful that I did because today I can still easily recall them when the Holy Spirit prompts me to share them with others in need.
At my Confirmation service, my Pastor chose the following Bible passage for me:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”” Matthew 28:19-20 RSV
Little did I know how prophetic this passage of scripture would be in my life.
In High School I would carry my little Gideon’s New Testament in my book bag in hopes of sharing the Good News with my classmates. But I was too afraid of being rejected and made fun of by them. So I would go home and beat myself up inside; seeing myself as a failure to Jesus’ commission to “go and tell others.”
I was also too afraid to visit with my parents or pastor about my inability to share the Gospel with others. Many nights I would read the underlined Bible verses about telling others about Jesus Christ, praying desperately for the courage to do as God commanded, and then cry myself to sleep.
In college, my faith was challenged and I came to the realization that I had put my faith in the book, the Bible, following all it said I had to do, yet I was lacking in trusting Jesus as my Lord, Savior, and best friend. I was focused on the rules and not on a personal relationship with Jesus and His gift of grace. In my discouragement, Oswald Chambers writes, “Discouragement is disillusioned self-love, and self-love may be love for my devotion to Jesus— not love for Jesus Himself.” From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition
The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I took time to visit with my home town pastor and he helped me to realize that how I lived my life in obedience to God was just as much a testimony to others as was sharing the Gospel. He helped me realize that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for me and that I am accepted and loved by him in spite of my shyness and inability to speak up.
A weight fell off my shoulders as I cried in relief. I was able to relax around others, knowing that my life was a living sacrifice to Jesus, and others would see him through how I lived my life. Later I came to hear the following quote, and made it my own.
“Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”
Yet this quote is lacking a Biblical base. We are to boldly speak up and tell people about Jesus and His Good News.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14 NIV
As an adult I knew I needed to continue to pursue being more bold in sharing with others the Good News of Jesus Christ. I was hoping people would ask me about what did I have that they might want, but it wasn’t that easy. Stay tuned for part 2 in how God continued to help me grow in trust and boldness for him!