Put me on a stage in front of 200+ business people and tell me to talk communications, PR and how best to boost your business with free publicity and I will rock your world. I will make you laugh, help you learn, and I will happily share my failures, my worst mistakes, my post-GFC business disaster because I know, by being authentic, I can help you take the next step on your business journey.
But ask me to stand in the front of a church, look each person in the eye, rip open my chest, pluck out my heart and hold it up for all to see? When I realised the fine print in the baptism prospectus, the only rocking I was doing was back and forth in my seat. Foetal-like.
I think my first response to the SAP was, “Can’t you just put a link to the blog up on screen?” Swiftly followed by, “I can come to the Saturday night church to do it. I know less people there…”
For all this blogging articulation, writing my testimony was the hardest thing I have ever done. Writer’s block descended like a cage. I knew what God and Jesus had delivered me on this journey, but attempting to capture it in order to read it aloud made me feel gauche. Worse, I feared being unable to do it justice. Given the pure joy of newly discovered Christianity has me leaking tears daily, I had horrible images of me standing up there hiccuping into the microphone with saline flooding my face. Testimony by tissues.
Two weeks out, the SAP would send nudging emails, asking how it was going. I would blithely reply that I worked on far tighter deadlines than two weeks – which is true. Then, possibly suspecting my evasive tone, the SAP offered to read the first draft. Ah. A staggered deadline.
The trick to beating writer’s block is to write. Even when the words that vomit from your imagination are leaden, weighing across the page like boulders blocking the path. It’s a bit like ordering that first alcoholic drink when you are hungover. It tastes like nails but the mist begins to lift.
I also had three more on the writing team with me. G, J & the Holy Ghost(writer). “Ok, gang,” I prayed (respectfully). “Show me.”
And then it struck. I had allowed myself to be sidelined by stereotypes. On the one hand, the SAP was telling me to be myself. On the other, well-intentioned Christians were sharing testimony examples and seriously reminding me that this testimony was about glorifying God and Jesus and ‘What THEY Had Done In My Life.’
Just in case I’d forgotten those two who’d hunted me down and dragged me along this path for the past six months.
Problem was, the testimony examples all used what I term ‘Christian inaccessible language’ and smacked of shiny-suited evangelism. Unreachable, unattainable — all the things that had turned me away from church and contributed to my Christian hangover in the first place. Hadn’t God and Jesus called me just as I was? For me to stand up on stage and adopt a language that was not mine struck me as frankly ridiculous. I sat, stymied at the computer, feeling like I needed to defend my faith journey and style.
“Every hair on your head,” the divine writing team quietly whispered to me.
The hair that is an unnatural five-tone flame red. That is happy to stand up and be counted. That is confident, self-esteemed and humble, for the three are not mutually exclusive. That enjoys wine, martinis, chilli mud crab splatter and more. That drops f-bombs etc. Not for a need to shock, but because I am proud to be gifted by God with the knowledge that language can make a difference; and the right language (even when it is shocking) used well, with talent and timing and wit, creates attention. And with attention comes power. To change. To be heard. To remind. To prompt action. To believe. All of which God deserves a bit more of.
So my testimony offered rust over shine. Wit and irreverence over dulled seriousness. Because that has been my journey with the Father and Son. They make me laugh at myself each day, whilst having me in tears over the simplicity of grace and in awe at how much more I can be, do and dream when they run my show.