One of my Facebook friends posted this quote on his page and I thought it was so relevant to my relationship with my church today.
When I first started attending church again, I didn't know what role I wanted to play as a fellow parishioner. To be honest, I didn't know if this was going to last. I've had temporary interests in the past and I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl, so my reputation for commitment was not very reliable. My mom would say that I would get a fever to do things and then drop them as passionately as I started them. It's true, I've been that way with many things and I accepted that part of myself. I thought that joining the church would give the same results.
So far, that's not the case.
In fact, God has given me so many responsibilities in my parish. Here I sit, thinking about how undeserving I am to be given such tasks, so unworthy, so unknowledgeable. Apparently God doesn't think that way about me. On the contrary, He's ready to give me more.
Today I received an invitation in the mail for a meeting that was mentioned to me last month. Seeing the letter reminded me of a night I had about a month ago. I kept waking up to nightmare after nightmare. They weren't scary, but they weren't pleasant. At the time I didn't know how to describe them, but one thing I was sure of, they left me with a feeling of anxiety and uncertainty. I remember the next day, walking around as a zombie due to lack of sleep. I found my church pastor and we talked about the dreams and how they related to what was going on in my life. Seems the devil was trying to throw in a dash of self-doubt and a sprinkle of low self-esteem to ruin my plans. Pastor said I must be doing something right.
I'm very shy. I'm very friendly, but if you put me on the spot, I'd much rather hide under a desk or something. I don't like being in the spotlight, I just like to add to the party. I don't mind being the stage hand. I stumble in speech and sometimes I say things that aren't appropriate. I've been known to shut down a room with one uncomfortable comment. I never finished college, I'm not very worldly and my vocabulary isn't really stellar.
This is not a good resume.
God knows this. I don't think all this matters to Him.
Makes me think back to Moses' first encounter with God. I could imagine what He must have felt to be able to face God in a way that no one he knew had. Moses was given the opportunity hear God's voice calling his name. I'm sure Moses must have thought God had the wrong person, but still he answered, "Here I am." God gave him his mission and of course this threw Moses off big time.
Who me? Wait, do you know who I am? Do you know what I've done? Are you sure you want ME to do THAT?
When I was first called to become a catechist, I was excited, but I was scared. I asked these same questions. I gave God my resume. He stayed quiet for awhile, and then He called again. I contemplated, I prayed, I imagined, and I talked to my stepson. I asked him if he thought I'd be a good catechist. He just said, "Yea." That same day, we went to Mass, just him and I and someone made a speech about the church needing more catechists. He turned to me and said, "See!"
The wisdom of God through the mouth of an eleven year old. Interesting...
God has big plans for you and I. He's very willing to wait. He knows that when we do go back home, like the prodigal son, we will be sorry, and willing to do His will. In the meantime, He lets us go through life, He smiles at our accomplishments and sadly watches our downfalls. He can save us then, but what will we learn if we never experience the lesson. What can we give to others what we've never had ourselves. He takes our wrongs, and places them along with our goods and He uses both to show His grace through us.
Reminds me of St. Paul and his conversion. Jesus took this persecutor of Christians and made him to be one of the most important figures of the church today. Paul was responsible for evangelizing many Gentiles. He too had a horrible past filled with sin, but God took that past to show His grace. Because of Paul's past, his ministry was richer. He knew what it was to be on the other side. He was able to relate.
Just because we have a past, doesn't signify that we mean nothing to God. Today's homily was just about that; one man's trash is another man's treasure. Others may see you as unworthy, useless, not good enough. We may see ourselves this way too, but God sees you differently. He see you and me for what He created, not what we've become. As parents, when our kids do wrong, we automatically say to them, "That's not how I raised you," yet we know who they really are and we hope they can make good use of those good qualities they have. Well God wants us to make use of our good qualities and also make use of those bad decisions. They too tell a story of how God can change the hearts of the worst sinners. We are no better and no worse then the saint in heaven or the rapist in jail. The thing to think about is whether you believe this to be true about yourself.
Are you good enough to turn to God? Can He look past what you've done in the past? Can He entrust you with His most important tasks? Can you learn to love yourself no matter what?
He says yes.
Not only does He say yes, but He will give you what you need to succeed. You're shy? He'll give you the confidence. You don't speak well? He'll provide the Holy Spirit to inspire your thoughts and words. You don't know much about the church or don't know all the prayers? God will give you the opportunity to learn as you go. Whatever you need, He will provide, and then some. With God, nothing is impossible. All you need is faith, love, and the courage to trust in Jesus and He'll take care of the rest. Are you ready?
Then saddle up!