In only two minutes...
I stood in the middle of his living room, a drink in my hand and several colleagues by my side. I intended only to say a quick hello and thank him for hosting the party, but I was soon surrounded by the friendly chatter of coworkers long separated by a world pandemic and changing job roles. And then, as a lull in the small talk nearly convinced me the conversation was over, a statement I hadn’t anticipated was thrown my way:
“Jen, I didn’t realize you had such a strong faith.”
A statement somehow bigger than the casual conversation it followed.
A statement seemingly more personal than this group setting allowed.
Was this a mere observation? Or was it more? Could this comment possibly veil a heart that was quietly restless?
There had been a time when I saw this colleague regularly. But over the last couple years we’ve seen each other’s social media posts more than each other. In fact, it is my own social media posts that likely led to his statement, because following my faith reversion a few years ago, I encountered Jesus and am forever changed - and this change has flowed into a blog and spilled over onto my social media pages.
I don’t want to hide my Catholic faith. In fact, it is with great intention that I share about it on social media. I strive to present it in a way that is normal and attractive. And I hope each post reveals that a relationship with Jesus is not only possible, but desirable. I want each word I write to become a seed planted in the heart of someone who does not know Christ or who has drifted from their faith. But sharing a finely crafted, well-edited blog or social media post from behind the safety of my screen is very different from speaking face-to-face with someone who knew me before, and with no warning is now commenting on my after.
Before I could acknowledge his statement, though, another guest tapped him on the arm and pulled him away. As abruptly as my mind had raced to find the right response, the conversation was over. It’s memory, however, has lingered. I’m certain the topic of my faith will present again, maybe not with this coworker, but surely with someone else. And when it does, I suspect Jesus hopes I’ll be better prepared.
“Go home to your own people
and tell them how much the Lord has done for you,
and how he has had mercy on you."
Clearly Jesus wants us to speak of the way His presence and love affect us. And I think each person who meets Jesus, and is subsequently changed by Him, wants others to know Him in the same way. By telling others of our personal encounters with Jesus, I believe we can introduce Him to them. And when we make known the personalized way Jesus breaks into our world, the way He meets us wherever we are, time and again, the Spirit can use our words to move someone’s heart while bringing a tear to the eye. But despite their beauty, sometimes there simply isn’t time for all of these details. Sometimes we will be called to share the way Jesus has changed our lives … quickly.
Reflecting on this I’ve wondered how I could possibly share all that Jesus’ love has done for me in only a few minutes. Could each beautiful encounter that I’ve had with Jesus, our ongoing relationship, and the countless ways He has changed my life really be shrunk into a “two minute testimony?” Certainly not.
And yet, I know He wants me to always be ready to speak of the way His love has changed me...
There was a time I prided myself on my ability to take care of everyone and everything. And I must have looked successful because more than one person referred to me as Super Woman. Per the world's standards, and even according to the standards I had created for myself, the old me appeared to have it all together. I was succeeding professionally and personally. Yet despite achieving so much that the world valued, so much that I valued … with certainty I know I have found a better way.
A way that fills me with peace, though I hadn’t realized my level of stress.
A way that gives rest, though I hadn’t realized how hard I was striving.
A way that gives strength, though I hadn’t realized my own weakness.
A way that guarantees approval and acceptance, though I hadn’t realized I was performing.
A way that provides stability, though I hadn’t realized my foundation was so fragile.
A way that grants healing, though I hadn’t realized I was wounded.
A way that grants freedom, though I hadn’t realized I was held hostage.
A way that makes me whole, though I hadn’t realized my own brokenness.
With no doubt the unique details of our individual faith journeys are beautiful and valuable, but I think sometimes, with only a moment’s notice, we must be ready to tell someone how Jesus has changed our life. And then, we must be finished speaking in only a moment’s time. Because these few moments may be the only time we’re given, and they may be the only opportunity the person listening has to hear.
Take a moment.
Reflect on your own faith journey and all that Jesus has done for you.
Ask Him to help you share, in only a few minutes, the way He has changed your life.
And together, let’s give Him permission to use us to change someone else’s.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
And praying, as always, that God breathes life into these words...
(blessed by these words? feel free to share, so you can bless others.)