A Letter From A Recovering Perfectionist
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A Letter From A Recovering Perfectionist

Your identity is not in your performance, your grades, or your scholarships.

A Letter From A Recovering Perfectionist
Emily Wilkinson

Dear Honors students (and any stressed, hardworking college students),

I just wanted to take a moment and remind you that your identity is in Christ alone.

Not your grades. Not how well or poorly you perform. Not in the scholarships you have to maintain your work for. Not in your GPA. Not in your status as an Honors student, or as leadership, or as any role you may take on campus.

And I know, it's very easy for someone to just say that-- and perhaps you're even nodding your head right now, agreeing with me. Yes, you think, that's right: I am not defined by academia! My identity is in Christ!

May I lovingly challenge you (and myself) right now?

It's one thing to agree that yes, your identity is in Christ-- but do you truly believe it? Are you living that out? Or are you doing what we so often do and letting yourself be consumed with the class points you earn and lose each week?

It's strange, isn't it-- how even us broken sinners saved by grace still think that we can hold ourselves to a standard of academic perfection?

Honestly, it doesn't work. We know it doesn't work, yet we so often still find ourselves obsessing over our grades.

My friends, please don't forget: we could never be good enough on our own to be reconciled with our perfect Heavenly Father. That is why we need a Savior. That is why Christ alone can turn our brokenness into beauty.

And please don't forget this verse either:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. // Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

By God's grace. Not by your works, and not by anything you could've done.

How amazing is that?

Should it not be the freedom and joy we have in Christ that defines us? And should that not be evident in our lives, even in areas such as academia?

Are academics important? Yes. By all means, do your best and do everything as if you were working for the Lord. For many of us, our scholarships are dependent on our maintaining a GPA to stay in the Honors program; this is added incentive to excel. I get it, and I agree: school is so, so important in this season of our lives, and it's important that we do our best and not waste our time here.

Are you going to make mistakes anyway? Yes. We are imperfect people. There will be times when you study for five hours and do terribly on the exam. There will be times when you write a good paper that doesn't get the grade you'd expected. There will be times when you get less than an A.

Is it going to be okay anyway? Yes. The Lord sometimes uses our mistakes to humble us and grow us, reminding us that we've fallen back to the place where we think we've got this on our own. Own the areas in which you're not doing so well, own your tendency towards perfectionism and academic stress-- and surrender both of those to Christ. It's probably not going to be a one-time thing; likely, it will be a daily choice to choose joy in Christ alone. But I promise you that it will be worth it.

God's love for you is not dependent on your GPA. It is not dependent on how well you perform. It is not dependent on your education level. It is not dependent on how perfect you try to be.

He loves you.

Not because of anything you have done, but because you are His creation, His workmanship, His poiema.

Take heart, choose joy, and remind yourself to live in the freedom and peace that you have when your identity is in Christ alone.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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