Well, this is my first time posting, so if after reading this you have any advice for me on how to be better at it, PLEASE comment or message me and let me know =) Feedback is welcome!
So lately I've been reading "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" by Clay Christensen - great book! The author points out something interesting about common fears that most religious people share. He asserts that many people who are religious are afraid to talk about religion at work and/or school because they think that others will be offended. It is "politically incorrect" - or at least that is what we think those around us believe. The truth is that the majority of people believe in God, but are afraid to raise their voice on the issue, even if it is just in a passive way. The atheist groups are very vocal and assertive in making their opinions known, and sometimes its hard to be non-confrontational while sharing our opinions as well, so we just go silent on the issue. The truth is, it doesn't have to be that way. If you believe in God and you have seen His hand in your life, speak up about it! I love hearing others share how God has helped them through hard times, because it strengthens me and encourages me to trust in Him.
I have learned that being offended is a choice, so if you offend someone by talking about God in front of them, that is not your fault. Of course, you should always try to be tactful and respectful, but not simply silent for fear of offending someone. Sometimes it is better to state something you know is true, even if you know it will be hard for the person to hear. I say this because of my personal experience being on the end of the one who was hearing something hard. When I was in my last year of high school I started hanging around with a boy who did not respect my religious beliefs and was consumed in about every bad habit I can think of, but because I liked him, I put up with it. Slowly I began to be more and more distant from my friends, family, and God. A lot of my friends didn't say much about it to me, in fact they just started not talking to me, or they would go silent when I would talk about the boy I was dating. After a few months of this, I was talking with one of my friends and I started to bring up the topic of my boyfriend again. To my surprise he started to give me what for. He told me that I was being selfish, setting a very poor example, and that I had shut out those who had really cared about me, including God. He was very straight-forward and didn't try to play the politically correct game; he didn't worry about offending me, because he was standing up for what he knew was right.
At first I was a upset that he thought negatively about me, but as I thought about it I realized that he didn't think poorly of me, he thought poorly of my behavior. The more I thought about it, the more I knew he was right. It took me a while, but I was able to remove myself from that situation and come back to my family, friends, and God. I remember distinctly the moment I started to feel close to God again, and I was grateful that someone had the courage to stand up for what was right, even if I didn't like hearing it at the time.
Sharing our beliefs doesn't always have to be that dramatic. You don't have to search for a person with views opposite yours in order to talk about God. All you need to do is include your views on God in every day conversations. Did you do really well on a test for school? Think about how God influenced that outcome, and when you share your score with your roommates, tell them how God helped you. Was someone especially nice to you? Maybe they stopped in order to let you merge during heavy traffic, or let you go ahead in the line at the grocery store. Share that with others, and while doing so, point out how Christ-like it was of them or how it helped you feel God's love for you. It's really simple, and yet so hard because we forget that God is in the details.
When you open up and share with others what you believe about God they will respect you more, and start opening up about their beliefs too. Even if the beliefs aren't the same, it doesn't have to be a competition. Focus on the similarities and how you can strengthen each other. My best friend does not share the same religion that I do, but we love to talk about God and His influence in our lives, and it's never competitive. It's actually very fulfilling and satisfying to be able to talk about God just as we talk about work, school, families, or other events in our lives that are common and normal.
If God has taken the time to manifest Himself in our lives, we shouldn't be afraid to share our testimony of Him with others. Maybe your experiences with prayer, faith, or church are exactly what someone else needs to hear in order to make the resolve to come closer to God. Perhaps God has placed you in the situation with that person so that they can hear what you have to say. You never know if He is counting on you to help bring someone closer to Him through opening your mouth and sharing what you know is true. Even if it's just "I believe that God is real", it is something valuable that can be shared. Share the light you have! That's why God gave it to you!