Sharing Jesus in words has always been a struggle for me, especially in person. Many of us are afraid to tell our Jesus stories because we think our words are not good enough. Or we’re not good enough. SHARE is the word for this week’s Five Minute Five free writing challenge, a creative community that joins forces in a beautiful flash mob of words for five minutes. (The lines indicate where my free write begins and ends.)
He Was Thirsty, but I Withheld the Water
He asked me outright to share. On a plane enroute to Baltimore, I sat next to a U.S. soldier on his way home after a long overseas posting. He was eager to eat a McDonald’s hamburger again and sleep in his own bed. I was on my way to spend two weeks with my college boyfriend.
Shortly into our conversation, he asked me point blank, “Like what else is there? God? Heaven? There’s gotta be. What do you think about all that?” His brown eyes lit up in hope of my answer. The silence hung above us like yellow air masks had just fallen from the ceiling, their tubes dangling awkwardly between us from a sudden change in cabin pressure. I probably reached for my mask, but it wasn’t there.
I don’t know if I’ve met someone so eager to know about God since then. Someone who was completely open to the gospel. Call it spiritual hunger or a deep thirst for God. Whatever it was, he wanted to know how I could help him. Even after I stuttered for about fifteen seconds, he asked me again, “Do you ever think about that?” But I didn’t give him the water.
Shame and Stammering
I’ve never loved putting my beating heart on the table. That is also what keeps me from sharing. The fear of rejection and subjection and objection to the person God made me to be, the me who feels fleshy and boney, completely and frustratingly imperfectly human, the girl who used to dance in her driveway unashamed.
I don’t love putting it out there—my thoughts, feelings, and stories. It’s hard to be honest and sometimes I’m not. I fumble and stumble, mumbling, “What am I doing?”
On that plane with the soldier I stammered instead of sharing. He walked off without knowing a bit of the God I knew. I said nothing about my faith or Christ or heaven. I froze. I can still see his silhouette in camo with his army pack slung over his back, people milling about, as his eyes searched for which route to take, smack dab between Arrivals and Departures.
To this day, if you ask me to share a bit of myself, I hesitate. Because I’ve shared myself before and it’s been either not enough or too much. Never the right amount for this world. Wounds sting, and yet, something in me sings, “Keep sharing.”
Carpe Diem Responsibility
When we don’t share, the truth dies. When we don’t offer who we are and the work of the Lord in our lives, the reshaping, remaking and rewriting of our messy lives, nobody wins. And something passes—a moment, an opportunity, connection, relationship. A soul.
Yes, that much can ride on our sharing. If you’re a Christian, if you make anything that adds beauty or truth to this world, you have a responsibility to share the freedom that sets people free. Because the truth must win. Hearts are hurting. When we stop looking at our ourselves full of hurts and scars and instead, bear them well, share them well, the world doesn’t win anymore. The lies start losing. The pain dies and healing comes to light, shouting.
We find ourselves suddenly willing to go to the dark places with people who need someone to be with them in their suffering and searching. Shame stops when we share that Jesus is real.
Something I’ve noticed about my favorite writers is they tell the same stories over and over. They may tell it in a slightly modified form, shorter or longer, but nonetheless, it is being retold. Each time, the stories grow in clarity and momentum. The same happens with us.
If your work is words, like mine, you know the feeling of your heart beating on the table, raw, open to critique and judgement. Yes. Share it. Risk it. Tell it. Again and again. Each time we bring our shattered story into the light, we fear less, and love more. The world is crying out to hear the work of redemption.
I share this story for the soldier. Despite my silence years ago, I pray he found the destination he sought and the God who loves him. Keep telling your Jesus story until shame and thirst are quenched in your heart and the world’s. Then get up and do it again.