Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always been afraid of embarrassing myself. I was terrified of sounding uneducated or not knowing what I was talking about or looking really foolish when trying something for the first time. This fear of rejection and judgment is the reason why it took me so long to get into sports, why I’m scared to try new things, and why I’m scared to put myself out there. Unfortunately this fear has seeped into my spiritual life as well.

As most of you already know, I’m new in my faith and I started going out to church a little over a year ago. Coming out to Renewal was really tough for me given that I had no idea what was going on which was part of the reason why I was uncomfortable. I was a little overwhelmed with everything I had been exposed to, but I was eager to learn and grow. While I was eager to learn, I was still scared. I was scared to ask questions about things that I didn’t know because I didn’t want people to think less of me for not understanding something that came so easily to everyone else or something that was considered common knowledge. I would skip out on things like Morning Prayer because I thought I didn’t know how to pray properly and I didn’t want to embarrass myself.

I turned my spiritual life into some kind of formula, which was heavily works based. I would tell myself that my all prayers needed to be a certain length or that I would have to read a certain amount of chapters in my bible each day. I was never comfortable with praying out loud or around other people because I was afraid my prayer wouldn’t be “good enough” or that I wouldn’t be saying “the right things”. I was more concerned with going through the motions and checking things off a checklist than actually praying a sincere prayer or being intentional with my devotionals.

I forget how I came across this verse but Romans 8: 39 says “nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  For me it was just a great reminder of God’s love for me and that I shouldn’t be worried about my self-esteem or what other people think about me. With the constant encouragement from this community, I am reminded God’s opinion is the only one that matters and that no matter what I do, no matter how stupid or silly my actions may be, God will still love me. There is nothing that I can do that will make Him love me any more or any less.

There’s this line at the end of the bible study I had last week that reads:

The gospel: “I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe, but I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope”