As I ran errands last week, I blasted Mandisa’s “Overcomer” through the stereo in my Suburban. The windows were open as I pulled up to the library’s drop box. Momentarily aware of myself, I wondered what someone would think if they observed me – after all, it was “Christian” music I was blaring.
Later that day, a friend texted me, exasperated with her life. When I asked why she was so upset, she shared that she was stressed about money. It took several exchanges before I worked up the nerve to type, “Have you prayed about that?”
And right before dinner that night, I dropped off a small pot of flowers I had picked up in the supermarket for a friend just because I know she needed to feel loved that particular day. But why did I stop short and not even briefly share about the Source of the love behind the gesture?
Why am I uncomfortable sharing my faith?
It’s not because I’m not convinced God loves every single person I make eye contact with each day.
It’s not because I don’t believe God is able to meet the deepest need anyone could ever have.
It’s not that I don’t think Jesus is worth knowing.
It’s because I’m hung up on one verse. 1 Peter 3:15 admonishes me to be ready to give the reason for the hope that I have to anyone who asks. This verse has always intimidated me because it feels like a pop quiz that will be sprung on me one day, the answers of which will affect the eternal destiny of the person asking.
My faith journey began as a very young child. I don’t remember life without Him. Because I’ve followed God for nearly forty-five years, it would stand to reason that, if I were asked, I should have no trouble “singing His praises.” Instead, for years I’ve been paralyzed to the point of inaction by the fear that I’ll only get one chance to have that all-important conversation and that what I say won’t be convincing.
In other words, why study for a pop quiz I’ll probably fail?
As a person who deeply values relationships, creating trust with both friends and acquaintances is of the utmost importance to me. I expend time and invest intentionally, without an agenda, hoping to earn the opportunity to share about the most important relationship in my life. What I don’t want from that opportunity is to exhaust that trust by making my friend feel as though a bait and switch has occurred and now I’m only interested in “talking religion.”
Does any of this sound familiar? Tell me I’m not the only one!
When will each of us come to realize that rarely does someone come to faith as the result of one interaction? Rather, people are led into a growing realization of God’s activity in their life and hear about His desire for a relationship with them through a series of actions and conversations, not any one perfect answer for the impossible pop quiz.
It is GOD who does the saving, not me.
Friend of Q Place