Testimony - Olivia

(Olivia Davis) #1

Hi everyone,

Here’s my testimony. :slight_smile:

I came to know Jesus at an early age under the discipleship of my mother. I believed that God loved me, and he created in me a tender heart to listen to his spirit.

However, when I was in high school, I began to idolize academic performance. I knew that God loved me beyond measure, but I didn’t know how to believe this. I overworked myself in school, trying to prove my value as if it could be quantified by test scores and teachers’ praises. My successes never changed anything, though, and I was constantly frustrated and wholly unfulfilled.

As time passed, two concurrent events created a turning point that led me to repentance and new discovery of Jesus’ love for me.

The first happened when I was a freshman in college. A professor personally challenged me regarding the intellectual credibility of the Christian faith. I had never seriously questioned my faith on intellectual grounds. As I read about the historical reliability of the Bible and evidence for the resurrection (thanks RZIM), I grew more and more fascinated by my God, about whom there was suddenly so much more to learn.

Around the same time, I read The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. His line “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us,” equally convicted and excited me. I began to see that my feelings of emptiness that led me to search for validation in academics were rooted not in poor self-esteem (though probably the opposite) but in unbelief in God’s Word and the things it says about me (Psalm 139, for example). On the other hand, I felt relief — there was a way out of the endless cycle of performance-driven identity.

My deep need for repentance soon came into sharp relief. C. S. Lewis’ words in The Weight of Glory speak well to my situation: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” My personal “mudpie” was flavored with intellectual affirmation. My actions revealed that I found it just as compelling as Jesus Christ.

As I began to wage war against this sin that had taken so much joy from me, Jesus began to move in my heart and change me. Slowly and painfully, over the course of several years, God pried my identity out of the clenches of my longtime idol. I learned to look at the Cross, which puts questions about my value to rest.

My favorite verse is Acts 20:24. Paul says, “…I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” I’m not there yet — but, in true testimony fashion — I thank God that I’m closer than I used to be.

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(Nathan Town) #2

Olivia,

It is truly amazing when we begin to focus our lives around Christ rather than our own ambitions! The feeling of great responsibility that you have to operate as an agent of Christ in this secular world and society. I believe that is a real turning point in our spiritual growth. I have been propelled by my own selfish ambitions and I have just started to realize that life isn’t about me, its about glorifying God in everything we do and loving others as ourselves. It is a hard task, especially for me, but I choose my direction every morning to move toward Christ. I am happy for you that the blind spot of your sin has been lifted and you are moving in God’s will.

God bless,

Nathan

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(Heidi Mitchell) #3

Hey Olivia! @Olivia_Davis

Thanks for sharing your heart, and the story of how you broke free from the “performance-driven identity” in such an articulate, beautiful way.

I loved the quote by Tozer you referenced:

I can just imagine how that impacted you, and helped you feel convicted and excited for discovering God in a new light.

Such encouragement to the rest of us how God restored your sense of value to how He feels about you- and no one else. Such a relief to know we are not the sum of our accomplishments.

Your words are so visual in the way you said:

Amen to that.
Thank you for sharing, Olivia. It’s so good to learn more about you, and how God came near and spoke the truth about who you are- His. :purple_heart:

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(Sieglinde) #4

What a beautiful testimony @Olivia_Davis :heart: This is going to minister to so many young people who struggle with performance anxiety. Isn’t it amazing when we are challenged intellectually we come out with an even deeper love for Jesus? I’m so thankful you found your way out of that endless cycle. You are such a beautiful young woman with a heart to match. “We are half hearted creatures” ah, yes we are. None of us are there yet, keep looking to the Cross :latin_cross:
Just beautiful, thank you so much!

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(Lakshmi Mehta) #5

@Olivia_Davis, thank you for sharing your testimony that’s so beautiful written! I can relate to much of what you have shared. I am so glad you have found your anchor in Jesus. God bless you!

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(Olivia Davis) #6

Thanks so much, Nathan! I completely agree with you that it is amazing how God moves when we focus on him! Also – I see this is your first Connect post! Welcome to Connect!!

@HeidiMitchell, Thanks so much for your sweet response :slight_smile:

@sig, You inspired me when you posted your testimony…it was time for me to finally get mine out there :slight_smile:

@Lakshmismehta thanks so much! I’m glad that you can relate to the journey of discovering that Jesus is our anchor!

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(Sreevidya Midamanura) #8

Hi Olivia
I am so happy for the way God has revealed himself personally to you through the brokenness and the challenges you faced. He works in mysterious ways. I can see how you mom was instrumental through her prayers and her life, in sowing the seed in your heart. May the Lord continue the good work that He has already started (Philippians 1:6) and make you a blessing to many.

God bless you.
Sreevidya

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(Tim Ramey) #9

Olivia, I’ve meant to thank you for your testimony the day you wrote it.

You had many good points but I was particularly touched by a statement you made. You said:

It really grabbed me as to how serious you were about Jesus. "Slowly and painfully over the course of several years speaks of a real heart for Jesus. One in which your life was traded in for Jesus’. It is His work but thank you for being faithful to Him. Thank you for allowing Him to mold you into the woman of God that you are. If you had not, you wouldn’t have been the blessing that you have been so many times over in Connect alone! Thank you sister!

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(Olivia Davis) #10

@Sreevidyamidamanura, Thanks so much for your sweet words. Indeed my mother’s prayers have been one of the most important guiding forces in my life, and I am ineffably grateful.

@Tim_Ramey Thank you so much for your response. I’ve been thinking about what you said about my being serious about Jesus, and I really appreciate that encouragement. It’s so exciting to see that God is helping me do for other people what so many people have done for me :slight_smile:

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