Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written here. It’s not like I haven’t had anything to say (I always have something to say – just ask my family and friends;)). I just keep thinking of things that I should write out and process through, but don’t want to take the time to do it. So, here I am on a Saturday morning writing once again to you all about something I’ve really been thinking about a lot lately. I’m going to be honest with all of you here, so get ready for it!
I think I have to be perfect all the time or else I fail and no one will love me.
Woah. Ok. There I said it. I wanted to get it over with right in the beginning. This is really something I wrestle with all the time. This whole thought cycle of “if I mess up, no one will trust me again, no one will want to be around me, and I have failed God in living the life He has called me to.” Can I just say to you all, that is a COMPLETE lie from the devil. It’s easy to think that as a follower of Christ, you cannot make big mistakes and must look perfect (even though you know you’re not). This is not the life Christ calls us to live at all.
This summer, I’ll be on staff with TEAMeffort Missions (if you want to read a little bit about what I’ll be doing, check out their website http://www.teameffort.org/). I am so excited to be working with an organization that focuses on community missional outreach as youth groups come down for the week. But, that irritating thought of “but I might mess up and disappoint everyone” popped into my head within minutes of me finding out they wanted me to work for them over the summer. And this happened again when I began working with Young Life at the beginning of the summer; when I started AWANA last semester; and, when I found out I’ll be an RA next year. Why does it keep coming up? And, how do I honestly confront this lie with truth. Christ has set us free – that’s what this whole blog is all about. So why do I continually think that I have to live by the bondage of perfection? If I’m honest, it’s for two (dumb) reasons:
1. Christ doesn’t see all that I do (I think we’ve all thought this one subconsciously even though we know he sees everything)
2. I don’t want to be hypocritical by saying one thing and then messing up, ending up doing exactly what I said we all shouldn’t do.
I know there are many times where I think that after I do something wrong and sin against God that I cannot approach Him or else He’ll know that I failed. I know, I know – He knows everything and I can’t hide anything from Him (just look at Adam and Eve). But, my first reaction any time I fail God is that I cannot approach Him for a while until I get my life in order again. If you do that (as I know I do), just STOP! In Hebrews 4:13, God tells us “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” He knows everything. Okay. And the amazing thing is, Hebrews 4 gets even better. Check this out:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We do not need to be perfect to go before God. Because of Christ, we can approach the throne of God with confidence because Christ was the perfect, atoning sacrifice, and God already knows all we have ever done and ever will do. He understands us better and knows us more than we understand and know ourselves. He wants us to come before him in our brokenness, failures, and imperfections. He redeemed us from the punishment of our sin and imperfection. Live in that freedom! Lastly on this section – Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” God won’t suddenly change His mind and not want His children to approach Him anymore. He is faithful. He is good. He is compassionate. He is perfect love. Embrace Him and His promises, despite failures, messiness, brokenness, and the craziness of the lives we all live.
I feel like I have to have my life all together, fool everyone into thinking I don’t have struggles, and act perfect all the time – ESPECIALLY because I’m at a Christian school. If I’m being completely honest here, I have to tell you that I feel as if so many people here live in a way that makes me think “I better not mess up around them or they’re going to think I’m a “bad” Christian and judge me forever.” It’s no wonder the outside world looks at Christians and calls us hypocrites. So, the one I’ve processed through this whole issue is to just be honest with people. I want everyone to know that I’m not perfect, and I don’t expect them to be either. By being open, honest, and broken before those around me, I am able to (hopefully) remind them that I don’t hold anyone to the standard of perfection, and want to love them like Christ has loved me and be with them in this crazy journey called life. Hebrews 10:24-25 is a perfect way to sum this up:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.“
Let’s commit to loving one another more deeply, allowing them to live in the freedom of Christ. If someone is caught up in sin, call them out on it in a loving, not condescending, way. If someone is discouraged, encourage them with scripture, prayer, and words. If someone is rejoicing, rejoice with them. If someone is feeling far from God, pray for them and love them in a way where you are Christ to them despite them feeling far away.
I hope these ramblings help you understand the freedom we have from the need to be perfect. Christ paid the price for us and set us free from those chains of the pressure to never mess up. Let’s be honest with one another, encourage one another, and be Christ to one another and the world around us.
Thank you Christ for being the perfect, atoning sacrifice – that I could never be – that allows me to approach the throne of God with confidence. Thank you for loving me despite my failures, and still calling me yours when I daily need to be preached the gospel. Thank you for covering me with undeserved mercy and grace. Amen.