“I don’t feel worthy of God. I’ve tried, the Lord knows I’ve tried, but I’ve failed. I just can’t do it,” Rodger said. It was true, he had tried. He tried as hard as any one could to be a good Christian man. But the more he tried the more he failed, and the more he failed, the more he hid himself. He drank alone at home. He still wore a great cloak of fear that he would be caught and publicly humiliated for his moral failings.
He didn’t attend church anymore, but still, the fear, the anxiety he would be found out by those he once spent every Sunday with, it hung over him like a shadow of a great oak tree.
Daniel was a friend from his old church, and the only person he really had a good connection with; this evening he surprised him by knocking on his door. After four beers, Rodger wasn’t sure if he should even let him in, but he did. Something in him urged him too.
“Would you like something to drink?” Rodger asked. The last thing he expected was Daniel to ask for a beer. He grabbed two and joined him on his couch.
They talked, and it wasn’t long before Rodger confided in Daniel why he no longer felt worthy of God’s company.
“I’m a mess, Daniel. You know, look at me. I can’t change, God knows I want to, but what people don’t understand is I just can’t. I have no strength, and the more I try the more I fail, and fall into a deeper hole. I don’t blame God for leaving me, I really don’t,” he said.
Daniel looked at him. He didn’t speak, he just stared. Finally he said, “Rodger, can I tell you what God really thinks of you?”
“Sure, it can’t get much worse anyway,” he replied.
“God thinks you’re a star. You’re a treasure. You’re a light. You’re a one of a kind… you matter. God thinks you make the world a brighter place. To God, you’re not just good enough, you’re perfect. You’re exactly who you’re meant to be.”
“How can you say that? It’s not true,” Rodger said.
“But it is. I know you might not hear it from the pulpit, because the pastor is so scared people will misunderstand him, but I don’t care if I’m misunderstood. I’m not here to make myself look good. I’m here because I really feel you need to know this. That God is not disappointed in you. That God understands this is a difficult season for you. That God is walking each day, each step with you.”
Rodger felt tears well up in his eyes. He fought them back. He didn’t want to cry, but Daniel was touching something deep inside him, that was overcoming him with, could it be . . . hope?
“I’ve tried to fit in, I have. I’ve tried to follow the rules that make me a good Christian man, I have. I’ve tried to be like everyone else in church, but I’ve failed. I just couldn’t do it.”
“But that’s just it, Rodger. That’s just the problem, the reason you failed, it’s because you were never meant to be the same as everyone else. You have an important place in the body of Christ, but it is your unique place. God doesn’t expect you to be like everyone else, and besides, all you see of others is the external. God is far more interested in your internal life, where your true self is found united with Christ. You see, it is ‘you’ God wants you to be. Not the pastor, the leaders or the other members . . . simply you.”
“So, what should I do? I’m so confused.”
“Don’t force yourself into a cookie cutter that makes you like everyone else. Let your uniqueness shine – let your heart declare: “I’m unique. I’m valuable. Thank God Almighty, I’m free to be me!”
Rodger sat there, hope was rising in his spirit, and he didn’t know what to do with it.
“Daniel, I’ve tried so hard to be like everyone else, I don’t think I even really know who I am anymore, you know, the real me. The unique me. What should I do?”
“Find yourself again. Start by accepting that you’re all right with God, that he is not disappointed in you, rather he is right here with you. Start by knowing God loves you and wants to help you discover yourself again. Start there, and let the Lord direct your steps.”
They talked for a little while longer before Daniel said goodbye and left. Rodger went to the fridge and took out another beer. He opened it and sat back down on his couch, thinking about all Daniel had told him. Instead of drinking it, he put it down on the coffee table and laid down, smiling.
Slowly, and quietly, he said to himself: “I’m unique. I’m valuable. Thank God Almighty, I’m free to be me.”