I’ve always been a perfectionist. In first grade I had a huge stack of unfinished worksheets in my desk because I didn’t want to turn them in until they were flawless. I grew up believing that if I worked hard enough at something, I would excel at it. For the most part this worked out: I did well in school and followed all the rules. In ballet, there was always a right way to do things down to the placement of your fingers – a standard of perfection, just out of reach. With enough practice and hard work I could reach those standards and succeed in life without help.
Growing up in New England, the culture centered on tolerance. Everyone had the right to believe what they wanted and pursue their own version of the truth. I felt evangelicals were backward and too pushy. I moved to Texas for college which exposed me to a new environment with many different worldviews since students came from various backgrounds and religions. We engaged in deep, intellectual conversations and debates. I learned as much as I could and liked to discuss interesting topics, but was not willing to sell out to any one way of thinking.
If asked at the time about where I stood in respect to faith I would have responded that I’d always believed in God and considered myself a Christian and a good person. Still, I began exploring who I could be and what belief system would help me become the ideal version of myself. I met one of my best friends who had a faith unlike anything I’d seen. I thought she seemed a little strange because God was the most important thing to her and she was so uncompromising in her beliefs. We became close, she invited me to church, and I decided the Christian route was a good one.
I started going through the motions of attending church, reading the Bible, and serving. Christianity was just another thing that I was going to be good at if I worked hard. I heard people speak about Jesus as their best friend, but I thought that was just a figure of speech. During my senior year, my small group chose a book called Lord, Only You Can Change Me. I thought the title sounded like it was for desperate people with huge issues. I didn’t think I needed to be changed that much, and I could probably handle the little things myself.
I began asking God to show me why I needed to be changed and why Jesus needed to die for me. And one day, alone in my room, I finally understood: doing my own thing my entire life instead of following God is the definition of sin. As a sinner at the core of my identity I needed Jesus’s sacrifice. It was an easy decision to ask God to redeem me and take control of my life.
Scripture came alive as a personal letter to me and prayer became a joy. I realized that everyone needed God’s grace and I strongly desired to see others know God intimately. I entered the corporate world and felt especially burdened for those who think they don’t need God, as I had. I still love to work hard and be challenged and have been blessed to find a job I greatly enjoy. It is freeing to know that because I belong to God, I am no longer dependent on my own abilities or success for my worth.
God slowly and graciously reveals more and more of my heart which humbles me before Him. He is the only one that can heal me of my pride, selfishness, and everything else inside me. I now know that I am in desperate need of a Savior. I am so grateful that He is in charge of my life including changing me from the inside out. In His eyes, I am flawless.