Sharing about our past can leave us feeling exposed in front of others. Our approval comes from God alone. We must proclaim the good things He has done in our lives!
The lips of the wise broadcast knowledge, but not so the heart of fools.
Proverbs 15:7, CSB
Have you ever had a dream where you are naked and exposed in front of a huge crowd of people with nothing to cover up with? We wake up and immediately say ‘Thank goodness that was only a dream!’ I can’t say that right now as I type. Oh, how I wish I could.
I feel extremely exposed sharing my past. Sometimes I think I’d rather just act like that part of my life didn’t exist. But I know I can’t do that. So, I am exposing my past to you all whether you want to see this or not. This is 100% necessary in order for you to understand HIStory in my life. Ready or not, here I go…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been the girl who was comfortable standing in the spotlight. As a child, I loved demanding the attention of a room by singing loudly and expressing myself in the silliest, most embarrassing ways. I sought and craved the applause I would get after finishing one of my solo performances. I didn’t care if I received attention out of sympathy; you know, the kind grown-ups give children that look homely.
I remember watching adults look at me with their heads tilted and say ‘oh you poor dear’. I was the child who would have the tangled hair, mismatched striped and polka dotted clothes with folded over socks in sparkly ruby red slippers. You know, THAT kind of attention! Yea, it never seemed to bother me how I got the attention, as long as I got it.
I enjoyed holding the microphone, standing center stage, under a spotlight dressed just like THAT without a worry in the world. A hot mess of a child who was carefree just wanting to put on a show for anyone willing to watch.
I was the never-ending story of a drama queen. Still am at times, if I’m being completely honest. I was always known to over exaggerate and use my imagination to its fullest ability. As a child, this behavior is often viewed by the world as ACCEPTABLE and ADORABLE. As a teenager though, this behavior would be likely viewed as ANNOYING and AWKWARD.
I was, am, and always will be a person that craves attention by affection. Physical touch is one of my love languages for sure. The best medicine to calm down my waterworks was a genuine, heartfelt hug. Still is actually.
As a parent now, I see how hard this must have been for my parents to do. Especially with the waterworks taking place inside a grocery store checkout line over a candy bar I was told I could not have. In that kind of moment, hugging is usually the LAST thing on a parent’s mind.
But hugs always seem to calm my soul and bring me back to reality. I learned that if I didn’t get the affection I so desperately needed from my parents, then I would seek it elsewhere. This need for affection carried into my adolescent years as well as my constant desire to be the center of attention. As you’ll see, this was not a good combination for someone living outside of Christ. The transition from a carefree energetic child to a rising adolescent in search of approval was quite a bumpy ride, to say the least.
My Dad’s job changed often. So, as a result, I moved around from school to school during my adolescent years. This made me a pro at using my outgoing personality to gain friends and establish popularity. I learned how to do my own makeup and started shaving my legs early on. I took pride in looking good outwardly because I noticed, very quickly, how much attention the boys gave me. Having the approval of boys was the key to my identity.
I was seeking their approval for so many things. I can still hear the thoughts going through my teenage mind… Am I pretty enough for him to notice me? Will this outfit turn his head my way? Am I cool enough to be his girlfriend?
All these things played in my mind every day before I would go to school. If I didn’t get the approval of the boy I wanted it from, then I would come home feeling ugly, unwanted and worthless.
This way of thinking is what led to my downward spiral of promiscuity and lust. I was fully aware of how to turn some heads. I was willing to push it as far as I felt comfortable, in order to receive the approval I was longing for.
Little did I know that I was completely misusing something inside of me that God intended to be used for good. This wrong way of behaving and thinking, unfortunately, kept making me feel unloved, exposed, dirty and ASHAMED. Who am I? What am I doing?!? How did I get here?! Is there ANYONE ABLE to help me?!
Finding the Answer
I’ll never forget the night for as long as I live. I was out partying at a club with my friend. She thought it would be funny to enter me into a mechanical bull riding contest, behind my back. Top prize to this particular contest was $100 cash.
What’s worse is that it was a contest that would be done wearing a bikini top and jeans in front of a VERY large crowd of people. I was mortified that she entered my name into this contest! I was already inwardly wrestling with who I was, and now here I go again seeking the approval of man.
Prior to this embarrassing moment, I had been invited by one of my Christian co-workers to a church event that was taking place over the weekend. I told him I didn’t have the $100 it cost to go. I’m sure you’re seeing where this is going. Yep. You got it! I won the bikini bull riding contest and used the $100 top prize to go to the weekend church event.
Yea I know…quite an interesting way to be saved! But it wound up being the best mistake I’ve ever made because it led to my salvation in Christ. I had finally found the ANSWER to my need for attention, affection, and approval. JESUS. Jesus was the ONLY ONE ABLE to help me recognize my sin and need for a Savior.
God instilled in me the ability to attract people and feel comfortable gaining the attention of a room. This was a gift He gave me that was never intended to be used for self. It was a gift intended to broadcast His truths and make His name known, not mine.
Writing for Him
Writing is the platform He has chosen for me to spread the good news of the gospel. The motives of my heart and how I live changed from making it all about me to making it all about HIM.
I have been following Jesus for the past 14 years, establishing a more mature and solid relationship with Him. Living this way has provided some of the most rewarding blessings! I have an affectionate, faithful husband of 10 years and three dramatic, imaginative kids.
My love bucket is beyond overflowing. God has handed me the microphone, and I’m excited to use this opportunity to tell more about Him and less about me. Jesus is the reason I write. He is the reason I make a joyful noise singing in traffic for all to see and hear. He is the reason I dance uncontrollably in my living room with my kids. And He is the reason I feel no fear of being exposed for Him.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘the righteous will live by faith.’
Romans 1:16 & 17, CSB
Exposed for Him
When the world would see me as unworthy, unloved, dirty and ugly; Jesus sees me as a valuable, loved, pure and a beautiful gem. My identity is no longer defined by my own worldly way of thinking. My identity is now found in Christ Jesus and I no longer have to worry about feeling exposed! Exposing my testimony is now His good and for the good of others.
So there it is. This isn’t a dream, it’s my reality. And I humbly share it with you today. I’m ready to do the work God has called me to do! I’m unashamed because I know I have the approval of the only One that matters… His name is not Kristen, it’s Jesus.
Be diligent to present yourself to God as one APPROVED, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15, CSB