Seeking Perfection {and where I found it}


Insecurity pushes us to do strange things. Growing up in an intense prep school, I learned right away I was not the smartest person there. I never worried about being the best though, because I knew I wasn't. I was never prideful, and I didn't allow numbers and letters on a report card to define me. I realized all I could do is give it my best.

As I got to college though, armed with study strategies and test prep, I found myself the proud owner of a 4.0 GPA, a member of honor societies and honors colleges, and a bouquet of compliments from friends. My pride immediately swelled. It was like my head grew ten sizes all at once.  All of that humility and contentment with doing my best vanished in an instant.

I had to be the best.
 I would show them all.
 I have to make a 4.0 or I will be worthless.

The desperation to maintain this image overwhelmed me.  The pride I felt with finally feeling like I had something to offer was so wonderful that I seemed to lose myself, my goals, and who I was in the process.  I felt like I was trying to keep up a farce that was slipping away.

They'll find out I'm not that smart, I'm not that great.

I felt so fake and even my accomplishments didn't fill the hole that was growing larger and larger in my chest. I was emptying out. I was hollow and broken.

grace, not perfection

But, I think this is where the best stuff happens. In that brokenness, I mean. When you're so hollow, it seems nothing can fill you. Thankfully, God has such an immense capacity to fill, provide, and pour into me so that I am anything but hollow - filled with His spirit, love and reassurance that who I am is enough. That my best is enough, that I - insecure and dirty and broken - am beautifully and wondrously enough.

The best part about looking at myself like this is that I found that I am smart.  I am blessed with opportunity and a bright future and the ability to work hard, do more and be more.

However, that isn't who I am. I'm not my grades.
 I'm not my weight.
 I'm not how nice I am to people or how many times I've stumbled.

I am a child of God, called to closeness with the One who knows me best.  The one who cares for me and loves me and cherishes me as I am, dirt and all.

We are created to love and be loved, mirroring the love that God so generously lavishes on us daily in our lives with others (and with ourselves).

That is who I am. A mirror, a magnifying glass, and a sweet reflection of the One who is GREAT, POWERFUL, and who is LOVE.

I am so glad to not live up to something I will never achieve. Human perfection isn't possible, y'all.  It's only possible in HIM who helps us overcome imperfections and live in the beauty that overwhelms the empty spaces in us.  He is perfect, and we are not.

This is such a wonderful promise - we don't live up to perfection, we live in grace and mercy.  You are worth it, just as you are. You were deemed worth dying for, by a God who knows you best and loves you anyway.
 That's better than a 4.0, I think.