She won every competition she entered…and I was always left with second prize. I strove so hard to prove that I was smart, but always fell just a little short. I was the tallest girl with the lanky skinny legs compared to a colt that wasn’t comfortable on my feet. I had a mad bush of curly, frizzy, untamable hair. I knew nothing about style or fashion or even how to apply some basic eyeliner or shadow. Did I mention I didn’t wear makeup till I was 18? I was kind of an outcast at extended family gatherings because I was homeschooled, shy, and modest. I didn’t flaunt it because I sure didn’t have it. Just second rate.
Comparison…self-identity….depression…insecurity….have been frequent struggles in my heart over the years. They have entangled me time and time again through a comment received, through the success of another, and through my own failure. God’s mercy has been paving the way for my deliverance through the only thing that can possibly bring change…and that is the gospel.
In my heart I have based my own security and happiness on the way that other people think of me. I had raised the approval of others to a place of idolatry in my heart. My feelings and emotions went up and down based upon the opinions of others. I had made the opinion of others my God-replacement and the results were continual sinking into despair.
I need the gospel for every struggle. I need to be reminded that the gospel is the only thing that can truly draw us out of our idolatry and provide us with the true freedom in Christ. “In Christ” I am fully accepted and approved because of Jesus’ work for me. No improvement, good behavior, or performance is necessary in order to experience the deep acceptance we long for and in fact strive for on a daily basis.
Colossians 1:12-14 says, “The Father…has qualified you [past tense; it's finished] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us [past tense again; the deliverance is completed] from the domain of darkness and transferred us [past tense once more: the transferal is already concluded] to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have [present tense; this very moment we possess it] redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Dear sister, whatever your struggle, stop with me know and recognize that we serve a God who has paid the price for your freedom. Soak it in. Claim it as your own. We are free in Christ from the slavish demand to “become”. WE ALREADY ARE!
I love how Tullian shares it: “If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: who you really are has nothing to do with you – how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on. Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitution, not in your sin. As my friend…recently said, ‘The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think about you; it frees you from what you think about yourself.’ You’re free!”
You are a unique jewel, my friend.
You are beautiful…just the way you are.
You are accepted.
Each quirk was fashioned by a glorious Father that designed it to add to your beauty.
Your vessel may be cracked…but each crack allows the beautiful light within you to shine more brightly.
Every fear and failure…He has overcome.
Can we just let go and embrace his love for us today?
And remember…all those worldly trophies, they just get dusty on the shelf or boxed up in the garage anyway.