When Witnessing Gives You Brain Freeze

You had perfect attendance all semester long. You logged extra hours in study hall. You made flash cards and prepped for that test as best as you knew how. And when the time came to take the test . . . you forgot everything you learned in class! So frustrating, right?

In a similar way, has your brain ever frozen when you tried to witness to someone? You’ve read all about Christ’s birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. You sit under gospel preaching every Sunday. But when face-to-face with a friend or stranger who wants to know who Jesus is or what the Bible is about, you suddenly feel ill-equipped or nervous about sharing your faith.

It’s not always easy leading a conversation toward the gospel, whether with friends or strangers. It certainly doesn’t come easily for me. That’s why these two stories about an elderly woman and a teenage girl really made such an impression on me.

Story #1

Mrs. Miller is a ninety-three-year-old widow who lives in an assisted living home. Quiet and unassuming, for years she served the Lord by raising her children, serving in her church, and, in later years, caring for her aging husband. She could easily say she’s done her part and that now it’s time to just take care of herself. But one day, when I asked her how I could pray for her, she didn’t rattle off a list of physical ailments or concerns for grandchildren like I expected. Her request was that she would study the Bible more and have the desire to speak to unsaved people she encounters.

That both convicted and inspired me. Here I am in my late twenties with much more energy and life ahead of me than she has, and yet my desire to look outward and be bold for Christ doesn’t compare to hers!

Story #2

Lindsey, nineteen and unassuming, has never been comfortable sharing her faith. It wasn’t that she doubted her salvation or lacked opportunities to speak up, she just felt unqualified and worried that her limited knowledge of doctrine and theology would hurt her witness.

Then a message on Ephesians opened her eyes to the fact that God has already equipped her with everything she needs (including courage!) to tell others what Jesus did for her on the cross (2 Pet. 1:3). She doesn’t need a Masters of Divinity to share the good news of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. She just needs to let her love for Jesus overflow into her conversations and friendships as He grows in her a love and compassion for people who don’t know Him.

His Story Is Too Good to Hold Back

So what’s holding us back? Do we make excuses, reasoning that we’re too young or inexperienced?

The apostle Paul told a young, insecure pastor not to let fear stop him from sharing the gospel. He wrote in a letter to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).

Are you shy or tongue-tied? Paul wasn’t timid or reserved by any stretch, yet even he asked for prayer to boldly proclaim the gospel: “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph. 6:19–20).

Opportunities for gospel conversations arise when we see the people around us as God’s image-bearers rather than nameless strangers.

We don’t have to be eloquent speakers. And age doesn’t have to hinder us. If you know and love Jesus and His Spirit is at work within you, you are fully equipped to share the good news of Christ’s love with someone in need of a Savior!

Opportunities for gospel conversations arise when we see the people around us as God’s image-bearers rather than nameless strangers. Moments to share our faith can happen when we take the time to smile at the cashier and strike up a conversation; when we invite a friend from school to church or small group; when we chat outside with that next door neighbor.

God’s redemption story—the gospel—is way too good to keep to ourselves. Let’s boldly share the good news with someone!

I’d love to hear from you:

  • What fears often keep you from sharing the gospel with someone?
  • Sharing the gospel doesn’t need to be complicated. What are some natural opportunities in your daily life where you could share Jesus with someone?

About Author

Leanna Shepard

Leanna began serving on staff with Revive Our Hearts in the summer of 2014. Though originally from Arkansas and now residing in Michigan, her citizenship is in heaven, having been adopted as daughter of the King at age ten. She loves a cup of hot tea with a good book, experimenting in the kitchen with a new recipe, and cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals.

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  • Leslie

    I know for me what stops my from sharing Jesus is that they will reject me and thats kinda scary. But yesterday I invited my friend to church and she said yes and I have asked her before and she has always said no so that made my day.

    • Leanna Shepard

      That’s very exciting, Leslie, that your friend accepted your invitation this time! You’re right, rejection is not comfortable at all. I’m so glad you were brave enough to keep asking. Am praying right now for your friend to find the love of Jesus!

      • Leslie

        Thanks Leanna for that this week just has been full of God things for me!

  • Mylina

    For me I feel like I’m confusing people. I’ve left conversations with people about God feeling like I’ve probably just made things worse. I get tongue twisted and the butterflies in my stomach make their way to my throat and I can even hear the anxiety as I speak. They ask questions and I can’t think of simple non christiany words to explain. I feel pressure to not say the wrong thing yet also compelled to explain everything. TBH lately I just feel like I suck at sharing my faith so I don’t say anything at all. I try to only show Love rather than speak about Him, which makes me feel even worse cause I know God commands us to share the gospel. And I’ll just add that though the Bible says share, it also says be wise and I’ve heard people teach about being led by God to speak to someone or even not to…so that being said often times my train of thought, when there’s opportunity or I see a stranger sitting alone, is God give me a sign.

    • Leanna Shepard

      I completely understand what you mean, Mylina! I think turning that fear into motivation to show others the love of Christ instead of focusing on what you wish you had said is a great idea. That said, there are times we need to be bold and not shy away from speaking up even though we’re tongue-tied. Will be praying for and me both to have wisdom to know when to speak and when to wait!

  • This really hit home for me today. I have an opportunity to witness to a very large group of people at a convention this August, but I am really struggling with whether I should go or not. I feel like I need to go, because I may be the only one to stand up and share the love of Christ with these people, but at the same time, I’m actually afraid. This has been the toughest decision I have ever made. A couple of my friends who are going are Christians as well, but they don’t understand why this is so hard for me. They just want to have fun…but for me, it’s more than that. I want to represent Christ in everything I do, even at a simple convention, but some people don’t seem to understand that. I think some think that if they show their Christianity at this convention, they will be thrown out or pushed aside, so thus they must behave like everyone else attending (who may not be a christian). But I feel that is very wrong….As you can probably tell, I am very confused on what I should do. I have to make this decision by the end of the week, and was wondering if I might be able to ask for prayer on this?

    • Leanna Shepard

      Emilie, praying for wisdom as you make this decision, and for God’s perfect peace for you afterward. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)

  • Sarah Bean

    I remember one time I was camping and I met a little boy from Texas and he said he goes to church but he doesn’t believe in God. Me (who wants to be a lawyer) started in telling him God is real! God is real! I don’t know if I got through to him, but I knew God was honored that I was trying to teach someone about Him!
    Sometimes it is scary to tell others about God. Personally, I don’t have that problem. Then again, I mostly only talk about Christ to other Christians. If I know someone is not religious, I don’t push it. Unless I feel I can teach them something and help, (like the little boy).Thank you for this article!