God Needs Your Voice...NOW
Comparison is one of satan’s favorite tools to make us doubt ourselves. If he can get you to believe that you’re not smart enough to share your testimony or give a talk, he wins. If he can get you to believe that because you don’t know the scriptures as well as Brother Jones, or that you’re not as outgoing as Sister Taylor, or that you’re not a good writer like Sister Adams, then he wins again. And you know who loses? Me. And everyone in your ward who could benefit from YOUR testimony, your moments of conversion and your take on gospel principles. God does not work in comparisons and neither should you. Heavenly Father needs your testimony whether you feel like you are a seasoned scriptorian or new convert. He needs your testimony whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
The truth is, I may be a professional speaker, but I am often moved by those who seem the most nervous to share their testimony. If I listen without ears of comparison I can grow stronger in my testimony every Sunday through the spirit. I have been changed by simple faith. I have been moved by funny spiritual applications and serious doctrinal discussions.
Many years ago I found myself at church on a random Sunday with a prayer in my heart. I was praying about something in my business (the exact thing escapes me right now), but I remember it to be something that I wanted, but not something I needed. In fact, I remember saying something in my morning prayer like, “Heavenly Father, I know this isn’t a need, but if I could have _______ it would make me really happy.” It was a project I wanted to work on, but wanted guidance on moving forward with an already full plate.
During sacrament meeting that day, one of the youth speakers was a 12 year old from my ward that I loved. Lizzy is an awesome girl, she had babysat my kids with her sister and I had watched her grow up in the years prior since her family moved into the ward. I’m sure that at 12 she was a little nervous that she was speaking in front of 200 fellow ward members, seventy five percent of whom were older than her.
That day she told a story about a general authority who was riding a bicycle home from a long day as a medical resident in a Boston Hospital. He was hungry and wanted pocket change to buy a chicken drumstick at a little restaurant he passed on his way home. He needed twenty-nine cents, but only had a nickel. He prayed for the change, knowing it was silly. At a stoplight he looked down at the ground and saw the exact change he needed to make the purchase. The story ended with a phrase that changed me, “I am led to believe that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, just because He loves us.”
At that moment, my heart swelled and my tear ducts opened. I felt the spirit so powerfully and so strongly and I received a confirmation to move forward. It’s funny that I don’t remember what I prayed for that day, but I remember that story and I remember that through a twelve year old, my testimony grew of my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I think of this story often. What if Lizzy had declined to her invitation to speak in sacrament meeting? What if she hadn’t followed the spirit and been guided to that story?
Sure, God could have answered my prayer in a different way, but He used a twelve year old young women who said, “Yes” despite her fears and it changed the life of a then 33 year old woman. She didn’t have to be a scriptorian, she didn’t have to be outgoing and she didn’t have to give a perfect talk. She prayed, studied, and then gave an imperfect talk that was EXACTLY what I needed that day.
If you’re humble and if you prepare (without over preparing) the spirit can fill in any “holes” you think you have. With the help of the Holy Ghost you can AND WILL touch hearts and strengthen people’s testimonies just by being YOU.
You have to stop looking at your ability to give a talk as a comparison to how others would give a talk or how strong (or weak, for that matter) you feel your testimony is. God does not work in comparisons so neither should you. God cares about your testimony whether you’re a scriptorian or a new convert. He also cares about your testimony whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
Why? Because He needs all kinds of people to make declarations of faith. In other religions with a priest or pastor who gives all the sermons it’s easy for a member of the congregation to say, “Well, that works for you, Pastor, but it doesn’t work for a regular person like me.” In our faith, we believe that no one person has a better or stronger testimony than another. As we all share our faith stories as regular people we can all be lifted where we are to do a little better tomorrow. Additionally, God knows that not everyone will resonate with only one person. Some may relate better to you than they would your neighbor - again, not by comparison, but because personalities, experiences and testimonies can reach peoples hearts in different ways.
One of my assistants was getting nervous about serving a mission because he didn’t feel outgoing or dynamic enough. I assured him, as I would assure you if you had similar worries, that there will be simple introverts that may not resonate with outgoing and boisterous elder because they feel different than they are. But they will feel a sense of connection with him because they have similar character traits.
That’s why God needs YOU. You will have the ability to touch people with similar life circumstances by being exactly as you are. Don’t fake being more outgoing or more verbose. Be YOU and share you so that we can see how you stay faithful in the face of your trials.