As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. (Mark 5:1-20)
By nature, I am an introvert. For those who know the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I am an INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Scheduling). I'm told that my personality is scarce, representing a little more than one percent of the population. Of course, if you met me in person, you would never know this. I think it is because I spent the last twenty+ years or my career perfecting my social skills in an occupation that required me to engage, relate, nurture, speak, and advise all types of people from all walks of life. So, if you met me in person at a party or on the street, you would encounter a "bubbly" and happy person, enthusiastic to welcome you and hear all about YOU. That said, I am not particularly easy to get to know beyond that point. I am friendly but complicated. However, I've learned that most people are more interested in talking about themselves or a particular topic, so I can usually get away with sharing the "friendly" part and keeping the "complicated" to myself.
In the past, I would not usually share my feelings, thoughts, or beliefs with anyone unless they were a loved one or CLOSE friend. Don't get me wrong, I feel DEEPLY about many things. But I don't usually share openly or generate an outward reaction to much. I like to remain recluse and stay the same in temperament. In fact, I find that people who have known me for years are frequently discovering something new about me or how much I deeply feel about a particular topic. I hear this a lot: "Vic, you are a mystery to unravel." I'm not sure about the whole "mystery" thing, but I do generally enjoy my own rich inner life alone with the Holy Spirit rather than the petty banter with no eternal value that is regularly discussed in mass.
In contrast, I find myself married to the most social person ever to draw breath. (Smile. Love you, Honey!) Chuck is an ESFP (Extroverted, Sensory, Feeling, Probing). He loves to talk and socialize to everyone about everything - good things, bad things, happy things, sad things, up things, down things, thin things, round things... oh, sorry. It was starting to sound like a Cat-in-the-Hat book though, don't you think? Anyway, Chuck is playful, fun-loving and expressive. If he's angry - you hear it! If he's excited - you know it! If he is edgy - you feel it! If he's happy - you enjoy it! With the exception that we share the same sense of humor, we are complete polar opposites from one another. (God knew we needed each other to be complete. Yay!)
A few years ago, God asked me to go outside my comfort zone and start The Devoted Woman. He made it VERY clear that He wanted me to start sharing my daily walk with Jesus Christ more openly for the purpose of encouraging women to learn how to seek Him more intimately. So, here I am - vulnerable... uncomfortable... exposed... but obedient to my Master to offer up the many stories and lessons the Lord continues to bring to my own life as I submit to His leading.
Anyway, now that I've shared more about myself than ever, let me get to the point... As an introvert living in an extrovert world, I often find myself frustrated and worn down by the superficiality that the world can project. In those circumstances, when I feel "talk" is generated just for the sake of producing sound or gaining attention rather than sharing depth and purpose, I admittedly become recluse to the outer world and pray inwardly with my Savior. Never, would I have considered sharing that intimacy in replacement to the superficiality out there. Never... until now.
I read somewhere once that students typically recall only 5 percent of the main points outlined in teaching with presentations, graphs and charts. In contrast, students generally remember half of the stories their instructor told them in the same presentation. There is a growing consensus among communication experts about the power of sharing yourself (your thoughts, stories, experiences) and how this impacts others. While facts and figures often put listeners to sleep, an illustration from real life or sharing a compelling story can motivate it's listener into action.
In Mark 5:1-20, we read about Jesus freeing a violent, self-destructive man from powerful demons that were possessing him. It is an incredible story of how the Messiah was able to heal someone who was living a terrible life in bondage. After the demons were removed and the man was able to enjoy the Savior fully, he begged the Lord to allow him to remain in His safe presence. He didn't care about the outward world or anything else he had ever known... only Jesus. The Jesus who delivered him from the shackles of the demons. The Jesus who was his Redeemer.
But the Lord had other things in mind. He told the man to go home and share with others the great things that Christ had done for him. Now, I can tell you - I can relate to this man. I prefer the presence of my Redeemer over the company of any person on earth. But when the Father instructs you to do something... it is best to do it. This was a man who was probably not overtly knowledgeable or eloquent. This was a simple man who, up until this point, lived a horrible life under possession from the enemy. Yet, renewed by Jesus, Christ told him to go... share the good news... speak up on My behalf. So the man obeyed. Not only did he obey, he shared in Decapolis - meaning in ten cities! And what was the reaction of the crowds? They marveled. They were amazed by the power of the Almighty God. I can't even fathom how many came to know the Savior because of this man sharing his incredible story.
Ladies, never underestimate the power of what God has done for you. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to share your story of redemption with others. You don't have to be an extrovert, a teacher, a well-educated scholar, or an eloquent diplomat... you just have to be YOU. You are a story in progress and the good news is the happy ending that awaits you in glory with the Lord. So, I encourage you to share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ with as many people as you can. Let them see your daily walk with Him. Give them the chance to be amazed and marvel at how the Savior continues to change you to be more holy, transparent, and real in His grace. Let them visibly see Jesus remove the bondage of sin from your life and your willingness to submit your weaknesses at His feet each day. It is powerful to be exposed to a story of someone overcoming eternal death in His Glorious Excellent Blessed Name.
Sure, it might not be your default response to open up to others. Trust me, I understand that COMPLETELY. But, I promise you that you will be blessed beyond measure if you continually choose to get over yourself and instead follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When He calls, do not hesitate to share His message. Be available to let Him work through you and your personal experiences. It will be heard. It will be seen. It will be retained. It will be used for His good, eternal plan.
Take control of my words today,
May they tell of Your great love;
And may the story of Your grace
Turn some heart to You above.
Sharing the gospel is one person telling another the best of news. Give unto others as you have been given. Step outside your comfort zone. People can't know Him intimately if you don't first share Him openly.
© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson
© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson