“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” Galatians 5:25–26, MSG
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to excel in everything. In school, I wanted to make good grades. In orchestra, I wanted to be in the first violin section. In marriage, I want to be the best wife. And in my walk with Jesus, I want to be the best Christian I can be. In my mind, the ideal Christian is someone who lives a sacrificial life. This person is obviously a missionary, lives among the poor, and/or has adopted at least seven children. They have hour-long quiet times each day and never yell at their kids. Their house is immaculate and they disciple many other women and have an ideal marriage. They are, in a sense, perfect.
But friend, this person does not exist. This person, if she did exist, would probably be miserable. Because we just can’t do it all, can we? Sometimes we exalt and idealize the lives of “professional Christians,” believing that there is no way they could actually have internal struggles or dust bunnies under their couches. I, for one, have looked at Instagram one too many times and been led to believe that what I see on my screen is the absolute truth. We all know that social media is a highlight reel, but do we actually believe it?
It is easy for us to look at someone who is living an “extreme” life for the Gospel and be convinced they have it all together. We can idolize other believers and begin to think that what we are doing isn’t enough. We can glamorize others’ callings and begin to think that our own season isn’t quite as shiny.
But what if God has called you to where you are for such a time as this? What if He has created you and placed you in your season to love the people within your sphere of influence? What if He has a purpose for your waiting and your longing? We aren’t made to be the best at everything, nor were we made to have Pinterest-worthy homes and pristine lives. We were made to love:
“Delightfully loved ones, if he loved us with such tremendous love, then ‘loving one another’ should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes his permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in him, and his love is brought to its full expression in us.” (1 John 4:11–12, TPT)
Not all of us were made to do the hard work of walking with Christ in a setting that is public or acknowledged.
But we are all called to love as He loved us, and to grow in holiness. We may look to others and believe that we are less than, because no one sees us. We may be tempted to believe that what we are doing is not important or valuable. But Christ values us in the midst of the mundane. And it is in the unseen and hidden moments that Christ looks at us and says, “I see you. I know you. I love you.”
When Sarah chose to shun her maidservant, Hagar, after taking matters into her own hands and attempting to force God to bless their family with a child, Hagar fled to the desert in desperate search of refuge (Gen. 16). An angel of the Lord found her hiding and no doubt upset by her unfortunate circumstances. But the angel spoke to her and shared the good news of God: He loved her and had a plan and purpose for her, even in the midst of her seemingly insignificant and abused existence. She declared in her sorrow, now surely muddled with joy and hope, “‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me’” (Gen. 16:13). In Hebrew, this name for God is El-Roi. Friend, this same God sees you.
God never meant for us to spend our days toiling to reach an eventual state of human perfection. Our idea of perfection is often rooted in selfish ambition and a desire for more. Instead, God created us to walk in step with His Spirit, allowing Him to mold and shape us into His image (Is. 64:8). His perfection is not about being the best at everything and striving for earthly things which will fade away. No, His perfection offers us complete wholeness in Him (James 1:4). When we constantly strive for unattainable perfection, we are chasing after something that will never satisfy. We are chasing after a fleeting goal that will never compare to the love and peace found in our sweet Savior. So friend, let us lay aside our desire for perfection and instead cling to His perfect grace and love as we move toward holiness by the power of His Spirit.
Jessica Mathisen lives in Athens, Georgia with her first and forever boyfriend, Rory, and their sweet puppy, Bailey. She is a recovering perfectionist, a former teacher, and a lover of people. Her passion is to communicate God's love to others through writing and relationships. Her favorite things are hanging with her husband, eating chips and salsa, and being a part of the local church. You can follow her on Instagram, too.