Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Recovering Perfectionist

This trip has been huge for me in working towards conquering my paralyzing fears of making mistakes. Since being here, I've never been so okay with my brokenness. I feel like I finally stopped striving so much to prove my worth, my faith, my godliness. Because of that, I'm not that worried when I mess up. (THAT'S HUGE FOR ME.)

The first week we were here I got impatient with a girl on our team and snapped at her during lunch. After, I admitted that to another teammate and she immediately exclaimed, "oh yeah I saw that!" To which I felt so embarrassed! But she didn't "stop and stare" so to say. She instead understood, and even laughed, and went on to talk about how she's seen her own brokenness here in how she's treated people and then confessed and moved on to love and adore me. There was no second thought. She loved me in "keeping no record of wrongs." (1 Cor. 13) After, I felt so affirmed. Not only in my "good behavior" but affirmed even in my mistakes!  What is that?  I began to understand more fully - let me see if I can accurately express - that as I become more sanctified, it's not that I become less broken. It's not a trade off. But I am whole broken and wholly righteous at the same time. 

My ultimate goal in this life is not perfection - that's impossible. Instead, my ultimate goal is knowing and delighting in Jesus. For the gift of eternal life is not "you will be perfect." Though we will, that's not the point. The gift of eternal life is this: that we may know God. THAT is the gift, THAT'S eternal life! It's never about me. 

Yes, I should make an effort to become more like Jesus, and that means more often resisting the temptation to sin. I'm no longer a slave to sin. Hallelujah! But me messing up less is not the greatest part of this. This sanctification, as I said, does not make me less of a sinner. I'm still wholly broken. That won't change this side of heaven. But now, in and through Christ Jesus, I am also wholly perfect and righteous. 

Like I aforementioned, it's not a sin/sanctification trade off. There's no graph where you can measure how less sinful and more holy I am becoming. Yes, I am being further sanctified, but in the meantime, I'm still fully in both the brokenness camp and the righteousness camp. 

I used to measure how good or bad I was doing by how much I was sinning (by what I could tell). When I messed up, I would feel so condemned and would punish myself because I felt I was disappointing Dad by not being what I was supposed to be - which is perfect (it was that to me). 

But now, with this new perspective, and through seeing my friend's acceptance, I realize that God knows I'm in both camps. He doesn't condemn me for supposedly sliding back down the graph into all I'm not "supposed" to be. That idea/worldview was the one I had as I saw myself still under the law. But Lo! Behold! I am not under the law anymore! (Rom. 7) I am married to a NEW hubby, he is Jesus, the New Covenant, that is love! Love, now, is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom. 13) Jesus paid the price the law demanded. Now he just sees me in love. He loves. NO condemnation. He doesn't measure me by the graph or the law. Nope. :) He's with me in my brokenness camp and righteousness camp. And in between both camps, amidst the two polar extremes, He's working out my faith and sanctification. 

This has helped combat pride in me, as I see how I am always just as broken as the next person. 

Also, what God desires isn't my own perfection. He's given me his. What he cares about is me having a broken and contrite spirit. I got that, man! 

This helps me see and experience God's love and joy for me and in my life. I'm slowly surrendering my strong desire for  control over every millisecond if my life and trusting that if I give it all to God, run to him, and continue to fall more in love with him, he has set the boundary lines for me in pleasant places (ps. 16). The more I surrender my sinful desire for control (to avoid every mistake possible, motivated by deep fear), the more I will live by the Spirit and by the fruit of the Spirit, one of those being self-control! But this is a self-control powered by God, not me (so it actually works), and motivated not by fear, but by love. So, coincidentally, the more I let go and surrender, the more powerful and sweet self-control I can grow in. 

I've had the wrong focus (my own performance and perfection), the wrong motivations to become like Jesus (fear of messing up), and the wrong actions/steps to do so (my own selfish, desperate control. Which doesn't work). But now Jesus is moving so much in my heart, and showing me what his love and his freedom really look like. :) 

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