...this basic conviction that I was here because I was a mistake ran very deep in my life.
For most of my life my fundamental conviction about myself, deep down, was that I was an accident. I was adopted at a very young age. I knew I was an unplanned pregnancy, and that my parents were university students, and that was about all.
I was fortunate to have a good upbringing, but this basic conviction that I was here because I was a mistake ran very deep in my life. It was just part of who I was, and despite receiving a lot of love in my life from family and my wife, it was always there.
This feeling stayed with me even when I was exploring becoming a priest. And then a few years ago, something changed.
I was chatting to Chris, a priest down in Somerset, to explore if hed act as my spiritual director (a bit like a spiritual mentor or coach). Chris asked me to tell him about myself, and I started out as I usually did, saying, a bit jokily, "Im the result of faulty contraception at the University of East Anglia, Im a bit of an accident".
Chris stopped me there. He said very gently but very firmly, "Can I just say something? You were not an accident to God."
I am not an accident to God.
In one way it sounds almost too simple, but something really changed in me when Chris said that. The thought that God was actually involved in my being here had never taken root in my life before. Im pretty sure that I ended up going to see Chris on that day just so God could speak those words into my life.
For the first time, the words of Psalm 139 in the Bible came alive for me: You are the one who put me together inside my mothers body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me... Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.
So for me, being able to say that Im here because God wanted me to be here, is a very powerful thing. Ive now got the huge privilege of telling other people that this amazing truth is also God's word for them. In the story of Jesus, God reaches out to us, calls us, and invites us to know him as a loving Father, because God is passionately delighted that each one of us is here. And for me, thats really good news!
About the Author
Revd Phil Daniels is a Curate in the Gauzebrook Group of Churches, North Wiltshire