Just Second Rate

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.

Photo Credit

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

42 Responses to Just Second Rate

  1. Anna June 18, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Hi,
    I am not trying to be argumentative, I just like to verify and mark in my Bible verses I like and I was just wondering if your scripture was correctly credited. I think you are earnest and want to be accurate in your quotes. But on this one I believe you missed it by a few verses, and it should be Colossians 1:12-13. It is a set of verses that I love and I also enjoy Colossians 1:16-17 which says “16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by hIm and for hIm: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

    I think of them as two sides of the same coin, both reinforce that God knew exactly what He was doing when He made me and He knows all about me, every tiny detail and that they are all just as they should be, because He made all things for Himself. He made me and made a way through His work for me to join Him in glory.

    I also like the verses you used because I too, before coming to Christ, used to rise or fall based on what others thought, or I thought they thought because of what they said. I am so relieved to be free of that, the gift of His joy is better than happy. Thanks for your post.

  2. Candice Phelps April 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    I get this. I’m an identical twin. There was never any escape from being compared to her. It was rough, for both of us. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Audrey April 16, 2012 at 3:48 am #

    Lindsay,

    I love reading your blog. Every time I get an email saying you have updated I clear a little time to have some tea and read by myself. I frequently find myself identifying with you, nodding my head and saying “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!”. This is one of those times :)

    Audrey

  4. Priscila April 12, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Dear Lindsay, thank you so much for your inspiring post! God bless you for placing yourself at the service of our Lord, to teach, to counsel, to encourage and to bless so many women out there, all around the globe, through these messages. This is the first time I read your blog and absolutely loved it. Blessings all the way from Brazil!!

  5. Sarah Isaac April 12, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Beautiful. Thank you!

  6. Ashley Lanea April 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Oh, I struggle with this, too – so much! Thank you for sharing your heart, and for your encouragment in the Lord. :-)

  7. lea April 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    I also wanted to add a thank you for this post. I have struggled with low self-esteem and inadequacy my entire life. It helps to be reminded that we are OK just the way we are.

  8. N April 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Thank you! This was perfect timing for me. I am struggling to believe these truths. My level of insecurity is just insane, and crippling. I have GOT to believe these things – things that I would counsel any friend who was struggling, but just can’t seem to apply to myself. Thank you!

  9. Shelly April 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    “I had raised the approval of others to a place of idolatry in my heart” completely hits the nail on the head in my life. I so needed this. Thank you for this insightful post, Lindsay.

  10. Jessica April 11, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Oh, I needed to read this SO badly today. In th last 24 hours I have felt God really throwing some big signs my way to show me that I am pursuing worldly things and worldly approval, and I am just starting to wade into how to undo that. This post is EXACTLY what I needed and I’m printing a copy to hang on my bathroom mirror. Thank you!!

  11. Natalie April 11, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Thank you for this!

  12. Jen April 11, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Excellent post! The Lord must be our identity or we will be a mess!

  13. Lyneisa April 11, 2012 at 5:13 am #

    I have been a long-time reader of your blog but have never commented. This post is such a blessing to me and a reminder that all is good in the Lord’s plan. I, too, have long struggled with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy and have spent many moments in anger over being “different” from the ones that seem to make friends easily and can be comfortable in any situation. I have also suffered with a healthy dose of depression over the years and I can empathize with your struggles. It is true that leading your life to please anyone but God is fruitless. I have recently discovered that many of my choices were made in hopes of pleasing my father and his dreams for me. While there is much good from this path, it isn’t what the Lord has given me for a calling and He is now leading me in the direction that will best serve Him. Thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you. It is another affirmation to me that I am on the right path.

    • Lindsay April 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Isn’t it so encouraging to know that we are in this together? Praise the Lord.

  14. Stephanie April 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Thanks, Lindsay! I used to feel that way myself. Many years of searching and also meeting my husband really showed me how deep my hurts went in my soul. If I ever write an autobiography, I would title it “Nothing to Prove”, since I have always felt that I’ve needed to prove myself to people by saying or doing things that they approve of. God and my husband have helped me through this process of pride and failure and I now know how much I am totally loved by our Father! It is so freeing to live without having the burden of trying to do something to get something! So, thank you for sharing your life’s struggles with us- takes a lot of guts and letting go of the fear of man!

  15. camille l April 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Amen sister! THank you for reminding and encouraging through words of life! God is good!!

  16. Marci April 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    This really blessed me – God definitely used you to speak, that is sure! Thank you for posting this :)

  17. rachel g April 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    LOVE the TUllian quote!

  18. Claire April 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Praise Jesus! I am so learning this lesson better than ever. I am a first time mom of a baby with reflux and colic, and believe it or not, our mighty God taught me to soak in his freedom to be the mom that he called me to be. No, our little one did not sleep through the night by the time he was three months old, in fact he was still screaming seven straight hours at night at that point. I read so many books and asked so many friends what I was doing wrong, then the Lord just gave me a peace to trust Him moment by moment and ask Him to give me wisdom for the moment, AND HE DID. :) I am so thankful for all of the screams if it brings me to the feet of Jesus. :)

  19. Jessica April 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    I am actually translating Colossians for my Greek class so I was geeked out that you used that passage here. I love that Scripture ALWAYS has something to speak to us, even in the tiniest details. I love the community of women here.. loving and supporting one another in the Lord. Let’s keep it up!

  20. Ashley April 10, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I still struggle with comparing myself to others, especially since the life I lead is so different from what people expect from me and from what my peers/friends are doing. Thanks for the encouragement!

  21. Sheri April 10, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you so much for this! It was beautiful and so true! In my struggle for joy (and having a hefty dose of insecurity myself), I learned that the single most important ingredient for joy is knowing who I am in Christ. “I” am nothing, “I” have nothing, “I” can do nothing, but “HE” is Everything, “HE” holds everything and “HE” can do anything! One of my favorite quotes from CS Lewis kind of ties in with it: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,’ said Aslan. ‘And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

  22. Heather April 10, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  23. Megan April 10, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I think there are very few women who are always secure. Maybe some are more secure than others, but you are definitely not alone. And I’ve read your blog for years (sorry, I don’t comment much on blogs) and from my perspective it’s funny that you have anything to be insecure about. You are beautiful, talented, intelligent, and seem sweet natured. And I can tell your family loves you! And I think what’s best about you and your blog is that you are honest. Most ladies don’t like to read blogs where the writer seems to have it all together all the time. Because we just walk away feeling more like failures. At least I do. I’ve had to stop reading some of those blogs…but not yours! You always voice your struggles and point us in the right direction of Christ. So thank you for your honesty. Oh, and you don’t even need make-up! makes me sick.

  24. sarah April 10, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    This was so encouraging to me today, as my husband came home yesterday to me practically in tears after another day of struggling with my strong-willed 2.5-yr-old and consoling my crying newborn, my house in shambles and no dinner prepared. I am blessed to have an encouraging soulmate who took me in his arms, loved on me, and then ordered pizza. :) As I was pouring my heart out to him, I mentioned all the girls that seem to have it so together — spotless homes, dinner on the table at 6:00 sharp, and many well-behaved children. I have struggled my whole life with insecurity, seeking the praise and affirmation of others, and have to constantly remind myself of Matthew 6 that speaks repeatedly of those who announce their good works for the sake of man’s praise and are told they have “received their reward in full.” My heart of flesh that so desires temporary gain thinks this reward is good. So I have to submit that heart to the spirit inside of me who reminds me that my true reward is Christ, and that I am exchanging truth for a lie and running after a much lesser, more fleeting reward by seeking the praises of men. Thank you for your honesty and transparency and your encouragement today. What a timely reminder.

  25. Caitlin G April 10, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    As a 31 yr old who still feels inept at fashion and applying make up, and constantly struggles with comparing myself to others to the point of deep depression, thank you for your words and pointing me to the gospel. God has been helping me cling to Him and HIS truth more and I appreciate the encouragement I found here today.

  26. Amanda April 10, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Thank you. Such an important reminder! I just started a FB/Twitter fast, and one of the first lessons I’ve learned is how often I compare myself to others. It’s exhausting and depressing! Gal. 1:10 has encouraged me this week.

  27. Kelsey April 10, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Love the part about, “each quirk”. :)

  28. BeccaM April 10, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Wonderfully written! That same spiritual revelation helped me also. Who I REALLY am is not who I think I am. It’s what GOD says I am. And I know He loves me deeply. By HIs grace we will all be set free of this fear of man rather than fear of God.!

  29. Lindsey April 10, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Thank you so much! I needed to see this today. You are a blessing to many for posting this today, I am sure!

  30. ghoglund April 10, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Thank you! You always bless me!

  31. Lacey Wilcox April 10, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    Great thoughts here–so humbly grateful for the beauty of the Gospel, the good news that changes everything, and gives joy in all things. Thanks for the reminder!

  32. Debbie April 10, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Thankyou. Just.Thankyou.

  33. Judy April 10, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Thank you for the reminders and letting our Lord speak through you!

  34. Sabrina April 10, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Amen! Along with just about every Christian woman on the planet, I needed to be reminded of that. Thank you!

  35. Shannon Hazleton April 10, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Beautifully written, Lindsay… I’m sure almost every woman here can relate in some way or another… even the one who ‘wins every contest she enters’ has her own struggles with this… Thank you for your words. Be blessed today!
    ~Shannon

  36. Sarah April 10, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    Wonderful reminder – especially after having a baby this past year and continuously despairing over my inability to get back to my original weight. Thanks for your thoughts. :o )

  37. Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies April 10, 2012 at 4:43 am #

    Wonderful thoughts to read on this Tuesday morning! Thank you so much….

  38. Kristin April 10, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Thank you for the great reminder. I needed to hear that.

  39. Kim April 10, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Linda April 10, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    Thank you, I so needed to be reminded of this right now.

  41. Margaret April 10, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Thank You!