[Note: If you haven’t read Some Lies and the Truths that Vanquish Them, you should go check it out before you read this post. It will make much more sense if you do!]
The other day, I was cleaning out my closet in preparation for the big move. Oh, I haven’t mentioned this move before? Well, I’m moving out of my dad’s old apartment (well, I suppose it is mine now, but it still feels like my dad’s apartment even though he has moved on), which we have lived in for over 10 years, and into my very own (much smaller) place close to work. I’m tired of driving 30 minutes each way to get to work and tired of not being able to host things because I’m so far away from church and tired of being in an apartment that was decorated by a man who loves blue a little too much (I love my dad, but seriously? Dark blue curtains? Not exactly a girl’s dream décor.).
Anyways, I was going through my two boxes of old high school stuff when I noticed that a lot of the things I put in there as keepsakes don’t matter to me anymore. I had packed away trophies and awards and plaques from UIL contests and Solo & Ensemble competition and FCCLA and various other competitions I had participated in throughout middle school and high school, but as I looked at them through the eyes of the faith I received in college, I realized that those accolades don’t matter to me anymore.
You see, when I was younger, I placed my identity in my abilities and accomplishments. If I won something, or advanced to another level of competition, or got good grades, then I felt validated in my existence. It was like I was using the medals and trophies to justify my worth. As long as I was doing well in school and in my competitions, I was OK. If I didn’t place in a competition, or didn’t get an A on a test, then I got depressed and beat myself up for being stupid and worthless.
That all changed when I was a sophomore in college. I was in the middle of a prayer meeting at the campus park. We sang and prayed together and then dispersed for private/small group prayer time. I remember that I was sitting a little ways off from the main group praying for a test I was worried about when all of a sudden I heard the soft, tender voice of God say, “Be still. You know what? You don’t have to be good enough.” That stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t have to be good enough? Wait. I didn’t have to be good enough! I grabbed hold of that truth and it felt like chains were lifted off my soul. I was free! Free from the burden of trying to earn approval, trying to find validation in my accomplishments, trying to deserve good things!
I can freely admit now that I was (and sometimes still am) a perfectionist. But you know what? That’s no way to live life! If you’re trying to find your identity in anything other than Christ, you’re going to crash and burn, I promise; I’ve been there. Trying to validate your own worth is an empty and futile sort of existence. But God gives grace! You don’t have to be good enough because he is good enough for you. You read that right. Jesus is the one who is good enough in your place. You don’t earn anything. You are a beloved child of God not because you are good enough, but because Christ is good enough.
So take heart, dear reader! Read Ephesians 1, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, and Isaiah 43:1-4. Soak up the truth of God’s 66-book love letter to his chosen people and let it change your life. I promise it’s so much better!