Thank you for 1000 views on this fine day-after-Thanksgiving!
I write to you, today, about sharing your stories, your testimonies, your "God" experience... and what it means for me to be sharing some of my story.
I have no problem sharing most of my experiences with people, especially if it means helping them get closer to God in their own personal relationship. The kids at youth group love personal sharings, they feel like they can really relate to them! As we go in to planning our senior high retreat, we decided that it'd be good for all of us "adults" (I will never get used to being in that category) know one another's stories so we can know when who's sharing would best reach the kids.
Unfortunately - FOR ME (selfish reason right here!) - the stories I'm not quite ready to share are ones that will definately help the senior high group. They've had some pretty scary things happen amongst their peers over the last year or so, and while I'm not right out of high school, I can definately say, "When I was your age" and "been there, done that, lived to tell the tale and still love God."... but it's just.so.hard.
Before joining a faith-community, I prayed about which church to join, and where to offer my time, talents, and treasures. God's answer was with these teens, and at this particular church. Since college, and since you-know-who denounced our friendship, I've been longing, asking, praying for someone with whom I can share my faith life, someone who will help me to heal where I feel like I've been stuck. It took.... 8 years?... but I'm in that place, and now that God has presented me with a rock-solid group of my own peers, as well as teens ready to relate and grow in their faith through my sharing, I'm absolutely terrified to feel so exposed.
The best way I can describe it is like having a huge, gnarly scab on your knee. You keep it hidden, beneath band-aids and your pants, and when you're not really thinking about it, you sort of rub it or cradle it, keeping it from getting bumped or pulled or exposed. You take care of it, putting neosporin on it and airing it out for a little while, but you just aren't brave enough to let it be fully exposed.
That's how I feel. I share a lil-bit, here and there, hoping that will be enough to keep the wounds protected. I am absolutely terrified to leave myself - my aching bits of heart & soul - exposed to the air, even though I know the air (aka God in this analogy) will bring healing.
The inquiry for sharing stories during this Quest planning is like the person who rips the bandaid off for you... I can't honestly serve where God has guided me if I don't expose myself.
Why am I so afraid to do this? I was asking, begging, pleading, and thought that maybe God wanted me to do it alone. But now I see that I needed to wait until He was ready for me to share... it's just a matter of trusting that His timing is better than my timing....