I had been feeling a bit down lately. At my church, the majority of the high school group has very strong faith, and they are always telling about how they are able to witness to people at their schools and such about Christ and their beliefs. I love hearing stories like these, especially when they tell of souls gained for the kingdom, but I always have a little tug in the corner of my heart because I don't do things like that. A little person in my mind asks me "Should you be doing that?"
Let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a very quiet person when around strangers, whether they be people that I see every sunday at church and never talk to, or people I have never seen in my life. I am very much a sit-in-the-corner-until-someone-talks-to-me type of girl in unfamiliar surroundings. With my friends, though, that is a whole different story that will not be told today. I don't really start conversations, and am perfectly happy 'not speaking until spoken to', after which I'll open up readily, by the way. I am just a bit judgmental; a flaw that I am working on, and without really thinking about it, I sometimes expect everyone else to be that way too, so I also don't want to say anything that would decrease someone's opinion of me. Although I know that I can't really escape that, it is still uncomfortable. So it is hard for me to even think about trying to bring my faith into a conversation with somebody, unless they give me a really big 'in', as my pastor calls it. And it pulls on my heart.
The other day, I realized that I have been witnessing to the world, just in a different way. Even though my life is comprised of school at home, one class at a junior college, church, work, and walking my goat around our town, I realized that I have been 'a light to the nations'. And I'm not trying to brag. I am trying to encourage you through my own encouragement (see the title of the post?). Sometimes when I walk my goat(s), people stop to ask me questions, and I suppose it is only normal. After all, a girl walking a goat isn't something you see every day. Well, around here it is, but... That is beside the point. Usually it is just interest in the goat and our farm: "What kind of goat is it?" "Do you live around here?" "Are they hard to take care of?" "Do they eat everything?" Sometimes, however, I have a more in depth conversation with somebody, about homeschooling, music, farming, or really anything else completely unrelated. Usually, after about five minutes, they'll ask, "You're a Christian, right?" And I reply with a joyful affirmative, although I had no idea how they knew. And sometimes, without even asking if I'm a Christian, they'll ask me to pray for them. They know I am a child of God. This has happened several times, and it amazes me even more each time.
Yesterday I told my mom about it. At our church they are kind of obsessed with spiritual gifts right now, and being confused with the whole thing, I asked her about it. Then I brought up the fact that people know I am a Christian after talking to me for five minutes. She brought this verse to my mind: "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). She also reminded me that the Ancient Israelites were constantly having people come into their camp and join the nation of God because they could tell that was God with them. Not because the Israelites were proclaiming to the pagans around them that they had a big God and that everyone should join them, but just by observing. So I realized that through my life, my love, my actions, my submission, and my obedience, I am sending a message that can be heard without an 'in'. Often, this message is an 'in' in itself. And it encouraged me.
If you are feeling down about not witnessing to the world, think again. You may very well be doing that very thing, through your words and actions. God uses different people in different ways, and although it is important to take initiative in God-centered conversations, you may be showing people the light without knowing it. I have met people, whom I see for five minutes, and I see Christ shining right through them. I know I am not like that; those people are very rare, but I was encouraged, and tell you so that you may be too.
And now, the latest yarn swatch, 50% silk, and 50% alpaca: