My testimony stinks

Todd

I have two amazing parents who love me very much. I love my wife and I’m positive she loves me back. I have a job, a house, two cats and a relative amount of security when it comes to keeping those things.

When it comes to church, I’m a lifer. I’ve been attending some form of church since I was a babe. I’ve never been addicted to drugs, alcohol or pornography. I’ve always been a pretty nice, decent person.

When it came time to get baptized, I knew it was something that I needed to do in order to avoid being cast into hell upon my death. My life didn’t radically change from before my baptism. I didn’t become more serious about church or anything like that. I just knew that I had the security of going to paradise rather than suffering for eternity.

And, basically, that’s my testimony.

Unfortunately, I used to not tell it that way. I would attend youth rallies and hear amazing stories of redemption and repentance. Drug dealers coming to know the Lord. Sex addicts being freed from their bondage and finding true, meaningful relationships in Christ. Gang members coming to find family and community outside of their typical paradigm. All of them incredibly dramatic, beautiful pictures of the power of God.

And then there was me. A privileged, boring, Christian kid. When it came time for me to share my story, I would either pass or feel compelled to exaggerate my depravity, telling stories of alcohol abuse and broken relationships due to my lies.

I didn’t know how to have peace or joy in the simple beauty of my story. Because I didn’t know how much bigger the story is than what happens after I, Todd Ramsey, die.

Today, while I still hesitate to offer up my testimony as a compelling evangelistic tool, I am more comfortable with my story. I’ve come to realize that the beauty of my story rests not in radical transformation of my sin-filled life, but in the reality that I have been invited into something far bigger, far more beautiful and far more significant than I could possibly have imagined. Rather than simply living out the rest of my days in peace and comfort, the creator of the universe has opened up the kingdom to me. I have a stake, a role in bringing about God’s will to this earth. And God can use my loving parents and wife. He can use my church-saturated upbringing. He can leverage my decency. I don’t have to come from a life of depravity to “carry my weight” in this kingdom life.

While that may not be a testimony that is going to move people to tears or conversion, it is a testimony that I can share without shame or envy.

Did you ever feel the same way? Did your testimony seem too small for God to use?

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3 Comments

  1. June 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm — Reply

    I used to think the same thing.
    I’ve come to see my testimony for what it is worth. A beautiful story of blessings…that i don’t deserve.

  2. June 11, 2009 at 8:28 pm — Reply

    I think that comfort & security can be & are more rampant, dangerous, & destructive to the kingdom than alcohol, drugs, pornography, or even democrats. How many times have people denied what God is trying to do for them & through them because they were scared of being uncomfortable or because they would be putting themselves at some sort of physical or emotional risk? I’m with you on your testimony, except that I had a bought with pornography. Everything else is spot on the same. I wonder sometimes if Christians, & American Christians especially, have allowed the “blessing to become a curse” so to speak. When allowing God to change our hearts we all have battles. Everyone’s is different & just as difficult for them. I think Derek Webb summed it up very well in his song Rich Young Ruler. Speaking as Jesus to us he says, “I want the things you just can’t give me.” When we choose to follow Christ, He asks us to dispel from the thrown of our hearts whatever or whomever else is sitting in it. I truly believe that this is equally & endlessly difficult for every single person who honestly tries to put God on that throne. The things themselves are completely different & involve very different complications to overcome, but the task itself is the same. Remove it & replace it with God. The struggles that some have overcome may sound more exotic than others, but they were no more or less difficult or valuable than everyone else’s. This is one of the most unifying, beautiful, & difficult parts of Christianity to me. Your struggle is my struggle & my struggle is yours. I’m so glad that you are realizing the power of your story.

  3. Kristin
    June 16, 2009 at 8:46 am — Reply

    Hey, Toddly. I have to say that I have SO been there. Freshman year I was the only one in our suite whose parents werent divorced, etc. etc. My story sounds much like yours.
    Here’s some truth: You and I as well as the ex-drug dealer or the person who has molested someone in their life cannot ever exaggerate our depravity. We are depraved not because of what we have done or not done or what has happened to us or not happened to us. We are depraved because we are. Thats why God did what He did and does what He does for us. Some of us just need a fresh whif of our cesspool (such as I) in order to understand calvary more in our own life. My salvation is just as much of a miracle and just as much of Gods grace and mercy. Its easier said than it is to wrap your mind around it so Ill pray that for you. That you’ll get a fresh whif 😉
    Here is something else: It is NO small thing that we have a legacy of spirituality. At some point, however far back whether it be with your parents or theirs and then all throughout, to you now, there has been FIGHTING for the faith and the legacy you have now or you would not have it. For some, its because God started over so they have begun to fight and preserve something for their future generations. For you and I, our parents fought…our grandparents, etc. and it is no tidy thing-and so we fight now. There has been wrestling and blood and contending and holding onto and seeking and crying out… It is just something that God has shown me lately. We fight standing on the shoulders of those who fought before us – because of Gods promises we can do that. Some must be the first set of shoulders. So, that is your testimony as well. As much as there are things we want to do differently or have a better understanding of than generations before us, we still stand on their shoulders and that is an ACT OF FATHER. So, hopefully this blesses you. Ask Him to show you more of your testimony 🙂

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My testimony stinks