I have a confession to make.
I have been living in fear for most of my life. My biggest fear has been not being perfect. I never saw myself as a perfectionist. I was pretty disorganized and had a relaxed attitude toward almost any situation, except when it came to my mistakes. The tiniest mistakes, like mispronouncing a word during class, left me in a frustrated frenzy late at night. I lost hours of sleep negatively critiquing my every action throughout the day. It was only as I started getting closer to God and understanding His unconditional love for me that I realized that I didn't have to live with this anxiety anymore.
Although I was equipped with this information, I still held on to the habit of condemning myself for every mistake I made. I knew about God's unconditional love for me, but I hadn't accepted it fully as my truth. Instead, I was functioning on the false assumption that I would only be valued as a person if I was absolutely perfect.
Today on the phone, I opened up to my best friend about my overwhelming fear of failure I have for the future. He is the type of person that loves to use humor to bring light to a dark situation. Being the joker that he is, he busted out in laughter and told me I was crazy!
"Bianca, you of all people should have no reason to fear the future!" he said.
I responded by saying, "I know, but I need to be perfect, I can't make any mistakes."
"Maybe you should learn to take it easy on yourself. We all make mistakes sometimes. Don't beat yourself up because you're human," he advised.
Although his advice seemed so simple, it hit me profoundly. First, it showed me how distorted my perception of myself was. I focused so much on my flaws and failures that I became almost completely blind to my strengths and successes. Just hearing him remind me of them jolted me out of the deceptive mindset I was in, and I began to see myself as who I truly was. Second, I felt relieved by the fact that I didn't have to be perfect. It was like a weight was lifted of of my shoulders.
If my best friend, who is well acquainted with my flaws, still values me even if I fall short, imagine how much more God, who created you and me, loves and still values us even with our short comings. He knows our every fault better than any man on earth, and He knows every mistake we have made and will ever make. Yet, his love is unwavering. His love does not depend on whether we are perfect or not. He loves us simply because He wants to!
Since previously I hadn't fully accepted God's unconditional love, I couldn't love myself properly. I held on to the idea that my value was condition-based and feared that my mistakes would allow me to lose it. However, today, I choose to allow God's love to reign in my heart. I am not perfect, and that's okay because God is helping me each day to become a better person. When I make a mistake, God is always there to pick me back up. My flaws no longer scare me. For now on, I will live fearless in the perfect love of God!
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us" 1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV)