This is a guest post from my wife, Taylor Buzzard:
I’m on vacation! I’m away from everyday life, my routine, and my usual responsibilities, so my mind and heart are especially reflective. One of the highlights of this past year was our oldest son starting school. I met many new friends and acquaintances through the local school, so many I can’t even count. It was a relationally rich year.
Most of these new friends and acquaintances don’t know Jesus. I have this deep, unshakable desire to introduce them to Jesus, to tell them about his love for them and his offer of grace, freedom, and abundant life. Simultaneously, I can’t stand the idea of talking about Jesus just so I can check it off my “to-do” list, or rather, my “should” list. I don’t view my new friends as “projects.” I deeply love and enjoy them. They’ve become an integral part of our lives, and our family’s life is richer because of them. We are so excited to travel through life with these friends.
I want to talk about Jesus in a way that directly relates to my friends, in a way that gets their attention, that piques their interest, that engages their life stories. As I talked about Jesus with new friends this year, I often felt like right-handed me was writing with my left hand. I longed to be more natural, less nervous, less intimidated. I prayed continually that God would make me fluent at this language.
Three days ago, God answered. He spoke to me. Through 13 words sitting in my Bible, he told me:
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” (Luke 8:39)
The context is this: Jesus meets a crazy, naked, demon-possessed man who lives in a graveyard. Jesus heals him. In response, all the man wants is to stay with Jesus, this man of power and compassion. But Jesus says no. Jesus tells him to return to his home and declare how much God has done for him. The man obeys, and proclaims through the whole city how much Jesus has done for him.
Declare how much God has done for me. Right away, I grabbed my journal.
What has Jesus done for me?
- He has healed me of insecurities and devaluing myself.
- He has taken away the loneliness of my childhood and replaced it with his presence, love, and pursuit.
- He has given me a new identity, as his daughter with whom he is well pleased.
- He has forgiven me of all my sin and brought me into a new life that’s based on grace, not my performance.
- He has taken away my fears (fear of standing out, fear of being different, fear of being rejected, fear of failing, fear of exposing that I’m not good enough) and replaced my fear with confidence and courage.
- He has made me fully alive–able to enjoy life, feel pain, laugh, cry–and not just survive.
- He has set me free from loneliness, fear, and looking to other people to validate my existence and my worth.
- My greatest ongoing sin is insecurity. God has forgiven me of this sin, and he has unlocked me from my bondage to insecurity. It no longer dictates how I live.
I believe many of you share my desire to be more natural at introducing people to Jesus, the real Jesus. This exercise was so helpful to me that I wanted to share it with you. People love stories. They want to know what God has done for you. My plan is to return from vacation and make this next year one of bragging about what Jesus has done for me.