I have had several occasions lately where someone has asked me to share my testimony of how I have found healing and what has led to change on my road to recovery and restoration. Being asked to share it both scary and also exciting. Most exciting to me is the realization that I have changed and my life is different and far better today. I know that the root of that change is due to Christ and that is what I want to testify about.
When asked to share there are several things we should be asking and working through:
1) How can I share my story in healthy ways? Is it okay to share names of individuals and organizations? If so, how can that be done without defaming and slandering others? Are there times to call out those who are walking in sinful and hurtful ways?
2) Why am I sharing my story? Am I doing it for others or for me? Am I hoping to help others, if so will my story on its own help them or do I need to provide advice about how I recovered and changed?Are there times/places to share my story for my recovery and other times/places to share to help others?
3) Is my story about me and what I have accomplished, or is it about Christ? If it is about Christ am I really testifying about him and what he has done, or about me and how I have changed? If the story is about me then I need to go back to question 2 and determine why I are sharing the story and if I am shaping it correctly for the given time/place.
I have been thinking more and more about my story, my past, and why I have talked about it. Recently as I was sharing with someone it became clear to me that I was sharing out of my pain, my past, and my brokenness. I still had areas that needed to heal and where I needed to let go of pain. I was not sharing out of the joy and hope I felt but instead I was sharing about what I had experienced that was so impactful. God is changing my heart, leading me to understand what it means to testify about him and for him, and leading me to a place where I think my testimony can truly benefit, encourage, and give hope to others. I want to help the broken, discouraged, disillusioned, and searching find their way to God. That won’t happen if I am testifying about the pain and brokenness I experienced. Instead I am choosing to learn how to change my testimony so that it is about Christ, a life with God, and the life-changing restoration, healing, and redemption that has occurred in my life. That is what I want to share with others. That is what will change and affect lives.