If there’s one thing others often notice about my husband and I, it’s the fact that we are very transparent people. We are not only open books when it comes to our individual pasts, but we are real and honest when it comes to our past together as well. My husband doesn’t shy away from the fact that he use to inject his veins with heroine. I could care less if people know that I had my oldest son at a young age and lived a promiscuous lifestyle. Neither of us hold back when it comes to sharing the fact that we had a rocky start to our marriage and it took a while to get to where we are now. We unashamedly share our testimonies, gore and all. And they aren’t just about his former drug addiction and me not knowing the true value of my body. There’s so much more to each of our stories, I’d be here forever if I shared every detail. Oh, and I’m sure some of it would blow your mind.

The point is, we don’t live in the land of regret when it comes to the poor decisions we’ve made in our pasts. We embrace them. Why? Because the more you share, the more opportunities there are to help others overcome their own obstacles. The more you share, the more glory God receives. See, we didn’t just wake up one day and decide we were going to get our lives together. God Himself radically grabbed a hold of our hearts in a way that was so profound, we couldn’t deny Him even if we wanted to. He called us to a higher purpose. However, the level to which we are willing to go in this purpose is largely dependent upon how open and humble we are willing to be – not only with ourselves, but with others. This applies to all of us Christians.

Pride, as the opposite of humility, sometimes rears it’s ugly head and holds people back. It likes to create an image of perfection and sweep things under the rug so others can’t see our mess. But if we want to see God move like never before, we need to practice humility and transparency on a regular basis. When our lives are an open book, it often brings people’s guards down. It also creates a sense of relatability that in turn, opens the door for a deeper dialog with those who are disconnected from God. We should be willing to bare all and share all for the sake of seeing others come to Him too.

The next time you’re sharing your testimony or even listening to someone else’s, keep these things in mind.

1. No one can discredit your testimony
It is your personal experience. If God changed your life or even just an aspect of it, no one can tell you “no, He didn’t” (especially those who knew you best before your heart was transformed). The way we live our lives is the highest form of worship. Be bold and confident when you share what He’s done. Don’t allow yourself to be held back by worry, shame or even fear. You know He deserves the credit for your newfound life and that’s all that matters. If others try to refute it, that’s between Him and them. Dust your feet off and keep it moving.  There is also freedom in being transparent. It’s easy to be fearful of our weaknesses being exposed, but if you openly admit them and successfully overcome them, then what can anyone say? I once posted on Facebook, “If all someone can do is bring up your past to try and hurt you, then you must be doing something right.”

2. Your story brings more hope than you may realize
People are hurting. They are lost, scared, angry, desperate and even confused, but every human heart is crying out for more. The sad thing is, many either don’t realize it or they do but simply choose to ignore it. I mean who really wants to tap into the deep, dark abyss of our souls anyway? In today’s world, it’s more common to just laugh through the phrase “I have daddy issues” than it is to thoroughly explore those feelings and begin a journey to healing. Unfortunately, our culture promotes chasing instant gratification as the way to live. No one wants to deal with an extra few seconds for Facebook to load on slow Wi-Fi let alone take the time to get to the bottom of life issues and discover what it truly means to be whole. But, like I mentioned above, every human heart is crying out for more. Some don’t believe in God, some hate Him and some are just wandering about aimlessly unsure of what to believe, but none of that changes the fact that He is still our Creator and we are still His beloved creation. That connection is there whether or not we are willing to acknowledge it. Therefore, when someone’s listening to your testimony and it sounds an awful lot like their present life, a chord is struck in their heart. A feeling of hope that is oddly familiar, arises and encourages their spirit. They realize if God can do it for them, He can do it for me. And don’t underestimate how often people are watching you and listening (especially in this world of social media. It’s stalker central, am I right? ?).

Your greatest struggles become your most effective weapons. Use them.

3. What you share works as a faith booster for other Christians
There’s a special excitement that comes along with giving your life to Christ. Once you make that decision and get a taste of His love, you want to scream about Him from the rooftops. We eagerly put on our armor of God, shine it up and smile at the thought of battle. But over time, even if you cultivate your relationship with Him, the excitement can decrease.  We begin to take Him and all He’s done for us, for granted. Hearing the testimonies of other Christians is like fanning the flame that already exists within us. You get pumped up all over again. When I hear others share about the work and miracles He’s done in their life, my eyes usually fill up with tears.  I love all stories that point to Him, but I especially love the testimonies of former Atheists.  That’s when my tear-filled eyes usually become full blown cries.  Even though we are already familiar with God’s character, it does the heart a world of good to be reminded of His power, love and faithfulness through others.

I pray this post encourages you to think more about the bigger picture. If there’s anything left under your rug, let God help you clean it out and then go testify to someone!  There is so much power in being transparent about your transformation.

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory.”

Please see the scriptures below and feel free to share your testimony in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

The bible is rich in powerful wisdom, beautiful analogies and inspiring stories that help us to better understand God’s character and successfully grow in the midst of life’s ups and downs. There are so many more scriptures that tie into what I shared today, but I will leave you with these for now.
“I will praise you to all my brothers; I will stand up before the congregation and testify of the wonderful things you have done.” – Psalm 22:22
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” – 1 Peter 3:15
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” – Revelation 12:11
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I encourage you to mediate on them throughout your week. Study the context. In addition, pray for God to show you exactly how you can apply them to your life now. Nothing is too small for Him to use; you just never know what He’s up to! And as always, I am on this journey with you so let’s do this!