I listened to her say with some frustration and maybe a tinge of guilt how her quiet nature lessened her impact on a friend of hers. She wants to share hope with this friend, share her faith but this friend is rather outspoken and a little intimidating. I tried to encourage her – the way she is is enough and God uses her, quietness and all. Her friend has seen her interact with others, have a great relationship with her husband and kids, and more. She’s seen my friend show integrity, gentleness, faith, kindness, and more. There are many ways to share Jesus besides talking. Like St. Francis of Assisi once said, we should preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.
I can relate to that self-doubt or frustration and I’m sure you can, too. From the time we’re old enough to think we hear and sometimes believe lies about how we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not outgoing enough, not funny enough – the list goes on and on and on…
Someone in my extended family has been dealing with some labels and judgmental attitudes from some other people in his life and as I heard about it, I got angry. No person, no matter how “good” or “experienced” or “wise” has the right to judge another person. How does that help anyway? Do any of us need more reasons to feel badly about ourselves? We have to be really careful. As so often is the case, pride is the biggest reason we judge, accuse, or write someone off as a troubled person or a lost cause. Jesus’ words and behavior flew in the face of such attitudes. I believe that instead of looking at the things we aren’t or the stuff that’s wrong with us, God sees the things we are. He is bent on refining, helping, and growing us, but not turning us into someone else. I believe that He has a place for everyone, every trait, every talent, every personality if the person with those traits, talents and personality also has a willing heart. He will use the raw material he created in you to do great things and reach people.
The flaws we have and the difficulties we face only make us more usable by God, able to relate to others facing similar situations. What person is every drawn to talk with, open up to, or even spend much time with someone who feels they’re perfect? As my friend, Sister Toni used to say, some people think “they’re all that and a bag of chips.”
There’s no such thing as perfect people, but people are loved by God. As I drove home today, I was trying to figure out why I feel such a need for approval sometimes and I distinctly felt God say to my heart, “I approve of you. Why do you think I gave my life for you? You are worthwhile to me just as you are.”
I remember John telling me about a time in his younger days when he sat in his college room, a little disillusioned. He had been a Christian for several years and even though he wanted to do great things for God, was kind of telling himself, “It hasn’t really happened like I hoped yet, so I guess I’ll just have a mediocre Christian life.” As he sat alone that day God spoke to him. He didn’t say “Yeah, buddy, get moving!” or “Well then, try to be more like Joe or Bob or that other guy who’s really making a difference.” He simply said to John, “I love you.”
We are flawed but we are treasured by God. We make mistakes and do selfish things, but are shown mercy and given another chance. We act out of anger sometimes and hurt other people, but God forgives and works through our lives anyway. Like it says in II Corinthians 4, “…we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
I’m loved by “I AM” and that means who I am is enough.