I’m pretty hard on myself – probably too hard. I’m your textbook perfectionist. And I’m learning it’s the height of idolatry to even think I could or should achieve perfection. And yet, subconsciously, I do.
I don’t go around thinking specifically in my head, “Oh, Rachel. You know, you really are perfect.” It more comes out in the way I am disappointed at my shortcomings or failures, surprised by my own selfishness or harshness, or unaware of my impatience and unfair standards. It comes out in the way I hurt others or am critical of myself.
Recently in a Bible study, through the help of wise counsel and Scripture, I realized I’m harder on myself than God is on me – much harder on myself than I ever should be. And that I’m truly unfair to myself.
Somewhere along the way, I began to believe to have authentic faith it has to look like a steady line upward. Surely, authentic God pleasing faith couldn’t contain inconsistency, questions and most certainly not apathy! I realized I’ve developed a very all or nothing, pass or fail sort of mentality when it comes to faith and pleasing God.
With that being my mentality, I was feeling pretty beat up – by myself – for continually falling off the tightrope I’d built. Clearly I’m not going to be perfect, no matter how much I think I should be. It’s impossible – not going to happen. And with my soul, tired from endless striving, I went to Scripture in search for a cure. By the grace of God I stumbled upon this verse in 2 Peter:
“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” -2 Peter 1:3-4 (MSG)
For me, this verse wraps up the Gospel. When I take time to process and believe in my heart this truth, my striving ceases. My eyes are taken off myself and fixed on “the One who invited us to God.” My eyes are turned to Jesus. How could it be that God simply wants to get to know us, personally and intimately? How could it be that everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been given to us by relationship with Jesus? Sometimes I need to remind myself of the cross, the lengths God has gone to simply to know me.
The verse reminds me that I don’t have to clean myself up before going to God, that he wants me to come to him just as I am. We have an open invitation each and every single day to personally and intimately get to know God’s perfect Son, and in that God is pleased. In simply getting to know Jesus, the Father is satisfied. He says, “It is finished. It is for this purpose I sent my Son.” How beautiful is that?!
If you’re anything like me, let’s take some time this week, this month, this year, to drop the task list, the “I shoulds”, the pressure of the tightrope, and take God at his word. In getting to know Jesus – intimately and personally – he is pleased. It’s as simple and beautiful as that. He is after one thing – authentic relationship, to know you and be known by you. Let’s stop making it harder than it has to be. He wants to strengthen our weary souls and lift the burden of perfection right off our shoulders. He has placed it on his perfect Son who paid it all for you and for me. May you be blessed as you meditate on this truth and let in settle into your soul. May you feel lighter than ever before as you stretch out your hands to God in surrender and let him set you free.
May God bless you richly with intimate, personal knowing of him as you seek him.