I WILL NOT HIDE – Excerpt 3

The faith-based peer support group called Living Room went into the planning stage. It was an exciting time, but not without its anxieties. I’ll never forget one meeting I had with the pastor shortly after I heard the call to start a faith-based group.

I told him how I often felt too small for this work, lacking in courage. The story of David and Goliath inspired me. I saw myself as the young David fighting the giant Philistine. I looked at Goliath as the immense problem of stigma. It was so huge and overwhelming that the head and feet could not be seen. Only the massive body. Where should I aim my attack? Where should I start? How could I possibly be strong enough or clever enough?

David’s response when King Saul doubted his ability to fight Goliath inspired me.

“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”  (1 Samuel 17:36-37)

I told my pastor about how clear it had become that this big work I was taking on was God’s, and not mine at all. I marvelled at the difference that line of thinking made to my resolve! God was giving me courage. I was able to trust him to stay with me and, in turn, I knew that I would definitely try to stay with him.

I saw myself as God’s foot soldier. All I had to do was to follow his direction. All I had to do was to say what he gave me to say, to walk where he led me, and to write his words.

I remember that holy time, witnessing to my pastor. Through his sermons this wise man had been feeding me spiritually like I’d never been fed before. I trusted him. Much like a child, I openly told him what was in my heart, sharing how I felt God preparing me to do this big thing. He listened carefully.

This pastor was a kind person. Encouraging. I’d never known anyone like him. Although the mother and father who raised me loved me, I had missed the kind of nurturing a child should have. It wasn’t their fault. Like me, they too had mental health problems.

This man filled some of the needs I had for paternal love and wisdom.

Unfortunately, I came to mistake him for God.