This is the second post in our series “Discovering God, Discovering Womanhood, Discovering Me,” written to help women learn more their relationship with God as they delve into what it means to be a woman of faith. To read the first post, click here.
I recently realized that even from very early on, I’ve had a desire to be perfect.
Whether I was aware of it or not, I’ve always wanted to make my parents and those around me happy, never cause anyone trouble or burden, always wanting to be the best I can be… until it became a fault. In this deep-rooted desire to be perfect, there was the lie that if I were not perfect, then I would not be wanted. I would not be special. I would not be desired. Eventually, my efforts became less about others, and more about myself—giving, so that I could receive. I could gain. I could be more perfect. This initial lie morphed into a self-propagation to my pride. Ultimately the anxiety and pressure to be accepted by everyone left me a slave to the approval of others, since I did not have my own. I was stuck in shallow waters that had an ever-changing tide, and I forgot that there was a boat beside me all along waiting for me to come home.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
These were the words that I needed to hear, in those moments of feeling so lost in relating to others and myself. Whether I set the standard impossibly high, or let a wide variety of others dictate how my life should be, I forgot the One who knows my true potential and has given me the gifts and abilities to fulfill it.
I forgot that God is my creator and my Father.
I had forgotten my identity, and in exchange it for the sum of my actions and accomplishments I failed to realize that my identity is not dependent on the external. Set apart from my doing, I am a being.
Who are you O Lord, and who am I?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
In the beginning, God desired to create man and woman out of love and for love. Love is at the core of our existence and fills us with an identity, purpose, and dignity that come from God our creator and Father.
As David says in Psalm 139,
“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
At last, I started to understand. Our heavenly Father sees us. He looked at you at your beginning, before we had a chance to prove ourselves, and said, “It is very good.” He claimed you long before you knew you were His. And there is nothing, nothing we can do to lose this claim He has on us.
Are you stuck in the shallow waters, believing that your worth lies in the connections you have with others or in the attention that you’re receiving from those around you?
Whether our relationships distract us from Christ or we’re feeling trapped in our own shame from sin, we are shortchanging ourselves from true fulfillment.
He’s waiting for you to come home.
He’s waiting to generously pour out on you all the love and attention that you desire.
God created us with a deep desire to love and to be loved. I used to reject this desire, believing that I could be self-sufficient and never be in need of God or anyone else’s help, because I saw my need as a weakness. Once I recognized that the need I had to be loved, seen, and known was not only good but was given to me by God, I was able to surrender in freedom my need, my imperfectness, my inability to be my own god.
What I had forgotten was the key piece to understanding desire—that the intimacy we crave is written on our hearts by God, and can only be fulfilled and truly satiated by the creator of this desire. Christopher West says, “The Bible can be summed up in five words: God wants to marry us.”
Are you willing to lay down the worldly ideal of perfectionism, and take on the true identity, as a daughter? As beloved? I know it’s a choice. I have to make it daily, if not moment to moment. However, I’m thankful that God, my Creator and Father continues to choose me in spite of my brokenness, and has redeemed me with a new identity that far surpasses what I or the world could deem as perfect.
God our Father, I want to be like you. Come and remind me of my dignity and goodness that comes from you, and let me listen intently to your voice only. You are the only one who can satisfy. I know this, but too often I lose myself in the confusion of the world. Please save me, and allow the truth that I am yours to transfer from my head deep into my heart, deep where you and I remain. Lord, come and make your home in me. I know that apart from you, I can do nothing, but with you, I have everything.