“Hi. I am Robin from Minnesota. I am a recovering porn addict whose most popular speaking topic is 50 Shades of White: Biblical Sexuality for Women.” Hard to write and even harder to say to a stranger I sat next to at a conference. But we only had a very short time to connect before the speaker started. So you boil it down to a few sentences and hope for the best.
I would like to say that I said that every time I met someone new which I would guess was over 200 times during the three day conference. But I didn’t. Because saying I am a speaker and writer who has a passion to connect women to God and to each other (which I do) was safer and easier. It did not make me vulnerable or leave me open to judgment or give someone an opportunity for gossip.
It also did not give the person I was talking to an opportunity to connect with me on a deeper level or share who they really are underneath. Generally, when I have the courage to “go there” people join me by choosing to be more open about their own stuff. Which in turn opens the door to a deeper and more honest connection.
I could have been at my 30–year class reunion last weekend. Not the opening line I would have chosen. Obviously, there is a time and a place to own my past out loud in hopes that God will use it to move someone else forward. Instead I was at a Christian conference with women who have a unique story they are called by God to speak or write.
Being real and honest and transparent is hard. Even now I want to go back and delete the first couple sentences of this blog and bury them 3 paragraphs down. Because I know that Facebook will grab the first couple lines of this blog to put into my feed.
So many women at this conference chose to be honest in their own introductions and table-side conversations. It was awe-inspiring to witness. Each conversation drew me back to a God who wants us to comfort others in the way we have been comforted ourselves. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
I was reminded at this conference that when we operate in our comfort zone we generally do so by our own power as we show people what we can do. When we operate outside our comfort zone we plug into God’s power and people see what God can do.
I had spoken for many years on a variety of topics – running a successful business, organizing your home, the gift of hospitality, a favorite Bible verse. All useful stuff but definitely within my comfort zone. It wasn’t until God called me to speak publicly about my porn addiction and Biblical sexuality for women that I truly understood what it meant to operate in God’s power and not my own. His grace really is sufficient and his power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I do not know what hard and hurtful things have happened to you in the past, are happening to you right now or will happen to you in the future. (Personally message me and it would be my honor to pray for you). Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have trouble. But he goes on to encourage us to take heart because he has overcome the world.
How can you use your personal experiences to come along someone else who is struggling in a similar area? How can you let God’s light shine through the dark places? And how can you testify to what God has done in your life?
Precious Father – Thank you that your power is made perfect in our weakness. Please give us the courage to be bold about the hard parts of our past, present and future so that we may comfort others in the way we have been comforted ourselves. Amen.