Being Ordinary for Jesus
Some years ago while attending university, I was faced with a routine question asked of many theology students. What story do you have? What’s your personal testimony? My instant reaction was to tell all the bad and crazy things I had ever done, to share the deep, or not so deep, secrets of my life.
Then it dawned on me: I don’t have a story. I don’t have an earth-shattering experience where God finally got my attention after laboring to set me straight. There isn’t a time in my life where I turned my back on God like that. There isn’t some crazy period where I lived a worldly life. This triggered a rather in-depth look at the life I had lived to that point, a point-by-point analysis of what my story might be.
Why do we feel the need to have left God in order to come back? What is it about us humans that makes us want something exciting to share, some horrible thing in our past to report? Is it not enough to be ordinary?
In our world today it isn’t enough to just be ordinary. In fact being different is much more praised and glamorized than just being an ordinary person. But is that right?
I would argue no. What society says isn’t always going to line up with what Scripture and God say. In fact throughout history there have been many times when the thoughts and actions of societies haven’t matched with God and His ideals for humanity. Fortunately, that has never stopped ordinary, yet amazing, Christians from standing out in their own ways.
Can we be ordinary Christians and still have a story? YES.
After sitting down and examining my life, I realized I didn't have a glamorous story of leaving God and following the ways of the world. I couldn't think of a time where I hadn’t loved Jesus, where I didn't want to follow His leading in my life, and this left me saddened and feeling terribly unneeded.
So I spoke with one of my theology professors who I truly appreciate and value. I asked him, “What do I have to share since I don’t have a dramatic conversion story?” I told him I felt unneeded and I feared having nothing to share with future parishioners, students, children, etc. I felt tears well in my eyes as I began to think I wouldn't be a good pastor if I didn’t have a truly revolutionary story to tell.
My professor looked me square in the eyes and said, “Natashia, you have a story!” I figured he hadn’t heard what I had previously said and began to repeat my very boring life, when he interrupted me: “Natashia, you have a story!” I just looked at him. He told me that my life, my continued dedication to Jesus, was an amazing story. A story of true love for my Savior. A story that would help others, who like me had never left Jesus behind. Not that I was perfect, but that I continued with Jesus. My professor spoke gently to me, working through my rather ordinary life with Jesus and helped me to see that ordinary was perfectly wonderful to Christ.
There is nothing wrong with a great story. In fact, many of the great evangelists, theologians, professors and preachers of our time have amazing stories of how Jesus saved them. I look up to them for that. However, it isn’t necessary to have an extraordinary story in order to be used by God. He wants us no matter where we have been or where we stayed. He wants us whether our story takes two minutes or two years to share. He wants us because He loves us!
I am an ordinary follower of Jesus, and I am proud that Jesus has always been my first love. I no longer feel shame at the fact I don't have a crazy story to share because I do have a story. I have a story of continuing in Jesus since I was a child, of struggling with Him through the many challenges of growing up and maturing, of walking with Him in dark and bright times, of crying and rejoicing with Him by my side.
It isn’t often we praise what’s ordinary. I hope all those who, like me, have struggled with feeling they don't have a story to share about Jesus will read this and realize you are so loved by Jesus. In His eyes we are all extraordinary!