All my life I’ve had an internal drive to be the best and do it all in order to be considered valuable. This drive has often manifested as perfectionism. In school I strove to receive the top grades and most accolades, earning the title of valedictorian in both high school and college. I participated in as many activities and clubs as I could. I tried to be a loyal and faithful friend, a loving and pleasing daughter, a diligent and dependable worker, and anything else I thought was expected of me. These pursuits aren’t necessarily bad, but the motivation behind them was. I was fueled by fear of rejection, ridicule, failure, and imperfection. I was afraid if I wasn’t all the things, I would be nothing. I thought I’d be rejected because I’d lack worth.
For so long I’ve felt the need to prove my worthiness. I was afraid if I didn’t measure up in some area, I would lose acceptance and love. I’ve been afraid of others thinking I’m not a good Christian (whatever that means). I’ve been afraid of being labeled a bad friend, student, wife, and mother. I’ve been continuously concerned that something I do or fail to do will bring judgment on me.
God’s recently begun asking me to trust that his love and acceptance of me are inherent, that they can’t be lost or forfeited no matter what I do or don’t do. It’s hard for me to accept that there’s no work to be done on my part, but I’m slowly taking steps to believe this, and it’s starting to free me.
I’m learning that I don’t have to be motivated by fear, that I can be motivated instead by love. I’m loved regardless of whether I make good choices or bad choices. I can act selfishly or decline to help others and not be less valued or accepted. I can also love others out of the unconditional love I’m finally allowing myself to receive. Previously, this felt too good to be true. There’s always a catch to something that appears to be free, but this time there’s not. I can mess up, fall short, or fail, but God will still love me just as much. I can succeed, show compassion, and sacrifice for others, but still not have earned anything. I already have unconditional love and approval from God.
Read the rest of this post over at The Glorious Table.