The following is a transcript from the Raised Catholic podcast. To listen to the podcast, click here.
Well, hi friends. If we are rebuilding a faith foundation, we’ll have to start with one of the big questions: Who are you? Many of us who were raised Catholic might answer this question by our titles and accomplishments, our relationships, jobs, or service vocations, like, “I’m a Mom, a wife, a sister, a Catholic, a teacher, a friend. I have a degree in so-and-so and I volunteer at xyz, etc.”
We label ourselves, in part, because we may have been taught as kids that our works and connections to other people were what made us good, or good enough. Certainly, we who were raised Catholic had an extra dose of humility injected in us from the start. In our impossible striving to be good, and free of the sin we feared would send us straight to h-e-double-hockey-sticks, we fell short in our humanity, never quite good enough, no matter how hard we tried.
We may have heard messages from clergy or family that our worth lay in how well we followed the prescribed rules, or in our belonging to the one holy and apostolic Church. We may have internalized a message that we are sheep who need not think or feel but who must simply perform, showing up for mass and holy days, checking off the boxes of prayer and sacraments. But that’s not the truth. And it never was. The truth is that you – yes, the very same beautiful YOU who is listening to these words right now – is in fact, fearfully and wonderfully made. And I’ve always thought so, but don’t take my word for it. The truth of who you are comes right from God as recorded in scripture. See, it’s right here in Psalm 139, verse 14:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful! I know that full well. “
And you, my podcast friend, are of inestimable value, a wonderful work of God, no matter what you do or don’t do today. Your core value, your gifts, and your personality are all uniquely created by a limitless God, intentionally and in love. Bottom line in case you’re still wondering: You, my friend, are enough.
When it comes to good deeds, the truth is that God loves to see you use your gifts to love yourself and others, just like any good parent would, but His heart is for relationship with you, His beloved child. If you’re a parent, you know this reality. We love celebrating the good stuff our kids do, but real connection with them? That’s the stuff we dream of.
God went to great lengths to get as close to you as humanity and as intimately with you as bread, and this is because, before you were a daughter or a son, a sister, brother, or friend, before you held any title or position or degree, or before you even had a name, you were connected and intricately created by God, fully known and deeply loved, just as you are right now.
That’s the truth of who you are, friend, and knowing that can change everything.
Before we close today, I have a resource suggestion for you, and it’s a simple one. It’s a children’s book by Max Lucado called ‘You Are Special’. It’s available everywhere and it really gets to the heart of the idea that we are enough, just as we are. I know it’s a kid’s book, but it’s really worth the read. Pick it up at your next curbside library pick-up. And one more suggestion: this week, would you consider trying something new? Would you grab a fresh notebook and start a journal of conversations with God? I know, this wasn’t anything I was raised with as a Catholic either, but many of our Protestant brothers and sisters use this as a beautiful prayer practice, and I use it and love it, too. It’s pretty simple. Open up that notebook, and on the very top of the first page, write the words: ‘who am I’ and then, start writing, without editing yourself. Write out what you believe about that question, until your hand gets sore, or God sneaks in with some truth for you. It will happen right before your eyes, right through your very pen. I’m here to tell you friend, that happens sometimes. It really does work.
Alright, friend, that’s it for me today. May the blessings of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit come down upon you and remain with you and all your dear ones, now and forever.
Thanks for listening, friend. I’ll see you next time.