I was asked to think about my testimony recently. There was a potential I would have to share it in front of the group. I didn't. But it got me thinking about what a testimony is. It's our story (usually in respect to Jesus and his work in our life). That could take a while. It could take up many sermons and many children's stories and all of our small group time.
Many people seem to have it down to that one moment. "... and that's how I found Jesus." (We used to say that when we were caught in a sultry embrace at the academy to convince the staff that we were giving a spiritual hug and not caught up in the throws of romance. Never worked...)
I don't have a moment. I have been a part of a church that I believe in for my entire life. It is a church that has a subculture so ingrained into your being that you can't tell when Jesus became real. Maybe he was always real to me. I remember pretending to hold my guardian angels' hand as I walked down the stairs of our apartment when I was little. I remember telling Jesus to "remind me I asked that question" when I got to Heaven. I have always had Jesus therefore I never needed to find him.
I would regard my testimony more in a string of spiritual epiphanies. Each one bringing me down off my high horse and reminding me how small and short of the glory of God I am. Each new moment bringing me closer to God. Every separate experience coming together to create in me a picture of Jesus in my life that I can only see darkly. My life testimony would not have a difficult and emotional beginning but would be the very slow work of pulling someone from the granite of tradition and religious arrogance to the rubble of a broken human. A leap here when a man told me I couldn't earn points with Jesus. There are no points. A step there when a woman lent me a video about someone elses' testimony that touched me and changed me. A jump there when a friend recommended a book that made me take a hard look at my marriage and what I was expecting from my husband and myself and how we could never live up to those expectations on our own. There are moments that I can't remember or define that have made me who I am. But Jesus was always there.
I never did drugs. I never had a sexually promiscuous lifestyle (although people who don't know me might beg to differ). I never gambled. I never stole or killed or lied (excessively). I am the rich man who asked Jesus, "What must I do to be saved?" And when answered with, "Leave it all and follow me," I thought that's what I did. But maybe it's not. Maybe I have been pulled from my security of religious academia for a reason. Maybe my safe lifestyle inside the "bubble" was what I needed to leave in order to really follow Jesus.
So my testimony grows every day. I hope I grow every day.