Imagine with me, if you will, a person so shy as to be unwilling to order delivery pizza because it meant cold-calling a stranger. Pretty shy, right? Imagine that same person striking up conversations with random people. On the street. On the other side of the world. About God and personal beliefs, no less. That person is me, and I want to tell you how becoming a member of a Christ-centered church helped spur that extroversion change.
Over the past year or so, God made me realize in certain ways that gripped my soul that I’d gotten off track in my faith. Walking the walk meant walking with Him; not just within earshot, but close to Him. Holding His hand, stopping when He pauses, moving when He says move. The gears of my life started grinding.
In my membership journey and in the months surrounding it, God took me, an introvert with small self-esteem, deep emotions and a fear of being misunderstood, and showed me that regardless of personality, position or any circumstance:
- He is sovereign and almighty. I am nothing, but He is everything — and on my side. (John 1:1-5)
- It’s not my job to save the world; it’s my job to obey God and bear witness to the Light of the world. (John 1:6-13)
- I am accountable to God for my own life, so I need to live every moment with purpose. (1 Peter 1:17)
How did God help me make these big realizations — and others, and ones that I still don’t fully grasp yet? A key blessing that helped get me there is my sister, who demonstrated to me how to be an active part of the church body (“One Yellow Notebook,” March 3, 2019). Elisabeth has served others in capacities ranging from video team director, short-term missionary, and faith-family builder. She invited me to her small group, where church happens, she said, and I adopted that remarkable group of women as my own. She is my little sister in blood, but more than once I’ve viewed her as my big sister in Christ.
In the membership class, I learned about the structure of the church and how each member’s contribution is important to the Kingdom. Through the associated homework, I learned what my complete testimony actually is, where I am in my faith journey, and that my unique story is worth sharing for God’s glory. With my identification as a Christ follower in the Brook Hills fold, I have been equipped and encouraged by my new family members to carry out the Great Commission locally and globally.
More practically, though, to those whose personality is like my own: Being an active contributor to the church body means trusting that it is worth the effort to make connections. It is worth letting God stretch the limits of your emotional and mental stores, even if you’re typically a guarded person who tends to hide vulnerability. It is worth allowing God to turn your life upside-down for this gig. It’s all worth it because He is worthy.
Does it make life perfect? Nope. There’s not even a guarantee of having a good life, one of comfort and ease. But, Jesus invested His life in us, and to follow Him is to live and help others do the same. And guess what? God is your strength, even when you have none. Don’t fear failing, because He has already won, and you get to celebrate the victory.
It’s been my privilege to serve and represent Brook Hills through a variety of opportunities, from caring for precious babies in the nursery to having my life changed in unexpected ways through a short-term trip to Southeast Asia. I look forward to how God will use me for His glory, as well as how He will use you.
Laura Chramer, a member of Brook Hills since February 2019, is a former newspaperwoman and current freelance photojournalist. If you’d like to learn more about her faith journey, discuss personality types or look at pictures of her dog, invite Laura to coffee via firstname.lastname@example.org.