determiner & pronoun
For years, my life's sole purpose was to do things so that I felt like I was enough. And it was exhausting.
Day to day, I would go to school in the cutest outfit I could piece together, try to earn matchless grades, improve upon relationships at lunch, and then go home to my phone where I'd text the newest guy on my phone. Being the perfectionist I was, coupled with learning the verse Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart." I constantly strived for greatness in each of these things. It was a routine that I quickly attached myself to, without even knowing how much damage it was doing to me.
But how could doing things the best you can be bad?
The second part of that verse states how we should do those things, "for the Lord and not for men." and as I thought I was doing the right thing by being the best person I could be, I was actually just doing these things for myself.
Each time I got compliments on my looks, I felt pretty. Each time I saw my grades rise to an adequate range, I felt smart. Each time I cracked a joke at lunch, I felt accepted. Each time I flirted with those guys, I felt wanted.
I saw my success and automatically turned it into confidence. It was a subconscious rhythm in which my mind would take the admiration that I was given, and would add it to my self-esteem, making me feel valuable. Turning my focus off of God and onto my own happiness, it no longer mattered whether I was doing those things for God's glory, it made me feel good so I kept at it. No matter how sleep deprived I was, I kept working on my outward image. No matter how much I wanted to just give up and not care, I kept running towards perfection, towards acceptance.
And although it may sound like I'm super self-aware of all these things, I really wasn't until a couple weeks ago.
Back at the beginning of the year, I remember sitting on the floor of my room, face stained with black. For weeks on end, I had felt lost. With my perfectionist mindset making me so emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually exhausted, everything I was working at seemed to run into the ground. Overworking myself in my relationships, schoolwork, and outward appearance, I expected to receive the same amount of acceptance as usual, but instead, I felt pushed out.
The thing that I think I forgot throughout those difficult times, was that the world won't satisfy that hole within me. Sure people and the things that this world has to offer sustained me for a while. But people disappoint, adventures get boring, and classes get hard. In my life, I tried to fill the hole in my heart with people's love. Striving for perfection, I tried to live a life in which I'd receive just as much love as I gave it. But the truth is, the only fulfillment we can feel is within Christ.
Because Christ never changes; his love and mercy are full of overwhelming peace that once you accept, can never be taken away. Due to all He is, I don't need to look outside myself for value, since I already have a priceless value within myself. In His eyes, I'm complete. In His eyes, I'm already perfect.
While this truth took time for me to grasp, now I know I can live my life not working for value, but out of value. Because I am enough in Him.
Although I know my story is still forming, I thought I'd share some of my latest realizations. There's a lot of people out there that are searching for value in things that won't give it to them, and I just want to let those people know that I've been there and I get it. While we wish we would be loved and accepted, the truth is, we aren't perfect and neither is the world.
But by having confidence in the value Christ gives us, we don't need to worry about acceptance or love, because there is an abundance of it with Him.