Don’t Edit Your Story
Soon after I started following Jesus, at the age of 20, I joined a Christian group on my college campus. It wasn’t long before I was asked to tell my story at an outreach event. But there were two stipulations: it had to be no longer than three minutes, and I had to write it out ahead of time so that it could be pre-approved by a staff member.
So I wrote down what happened to me.
I wrote about how a friend had challenged me to pray and ask God if I needed Jesus.
I wrote about the night when I was lying in bed and I heard the voice of Jesus, not audibly but unmistakably, saying, “Greg, you’ve been running away from Me long enough. Now, turn around and follow Me.”
I wrote about what happened next. I had a vision that lasted no more than a split second, and yet it seemed like it happened in slow motion. A white dove came down from a blue night sky toward me, leaving a trail of misty white light. Somehow I knew, from that moment, that I was going to live forever.
Then I wrote about the doubts I had the next day. Was it really a vision, or was it just my imagination? There was only one way to know for sure. I asked God to do it again. That night, I saw a light several times, but it came from the headlights of cars driving past my window. I was devastated after a sleepless night, but before I crawled out of bed, I saw a book on my nightstand that had been given to me by a friend months earlier. I picked it up and started reading, and in the first chapter there was a story about a man who had had an experience like mine, in which Jesus had appeared to him in the form of a light. Like me, he doubted the experience—until a friend said to him, “What happened to you is very special. It doesn’t happen to many people. But now you are just going to have to walk by faith.” Reading that word faith made me realize that it didn’t matter if I had a vision or not. What saved me was my faith in Jesus.
That’s my story. When I showed it to the staff member, he told me that I needed to take the story about my vision out of my testimony because it was a little too, you know, weird. Some people might think I was a nut. So I edited my testimony to make it more palatable. And I stood up in front of a group of people and told them, in three minutes, part of my story.
Afterward I was so convicted that I decided that I would never again leave out of my story all that God did. I know that some people may find it a little strange, but it’s the truth—and I believe that just telling the unedited truth gives people glimpses of the living God.
You can do that, can’t you? Whether you became a Christian because of godly parents or a persistent friend or a personal need or a life-changing experience, you have a unique story that can touch people in a way that no other story can. Just tell people the truth—the whole truth—about how you found your way home.