I have an announcement to make:
I want to be the best.
The best teacher, the best friend, the best Christian.
The best everything.
And when someone is better than me, my inner three year old comes out again (She sure is around a lot these days, isn't she?) and my heart throws a fit.
This desire for being the best fuels my drive for perfection, my need to perform.
Second-best just isn't a viable option for me.
There is no room for mistakes.
Today I found myself fighting jealousy because I was not the best one.
I stood in the corner and sulked (with an "I'm fine" smile on my face of course, because that's what all good girls do) while someone else got the praise.
For being the best.
"Anything I do to get life and identity outside of Christ is an idol, even service to Christ." (Grace for the Good Girl, p. 65)
As I looked upon this scene of not-for-me praise, I found myself thinking of ways I could make them like me more.
"Obviously, I am not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If please people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant." (Galatians 1:10 NLT)
Oh really, Paul? Obviously you don't know me very well.
Because I AM trying to win the approval of people.
And I AM Christ's servant.
I am.... right?
How can I reconcile these two?
How can I stop desiring the praise of men and only the perfection of Christ?
When will I stop wanting to be the best in everyone else's eyes except those of my Savior?
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (Colossians 3:23 NLT)
for the Lord rather than for people
Satan loves to whisper his lies in my ear.
He tells me that if I'm not the best in the eyes of those around me, then I am no good.
That I'm not performing and I need to work harder, check off more things on the list, add more responsibilities.
He tries to make me believe that those things will assure that I am the best,
which will make me happy,
thus removing my dependence and need for God.
"Good means I never mess up." (Grace for the Good Girl, p.25)
And here I am again.
Exactly where he wants me.
"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (I Peter 5:8-9)
I've gotten it all twisted around, and I've convinced myself that performance equals holiness.
"But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy." (1 Peter 1:15 NLT)
Be holy, not perfect!
Be holy, not praised.
Be holy, not the best.
He calls me to a higher standard, but not one placed upon me by people.
It's the highest standard I can reach.
To be like Him.
That's all He asks.
And the only way I can reach that impossible standard is through His grace alone.
Oh, how I need that grace...
If only I would stop striving and just rest.
"Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens (who try to be the best), and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart (just like I want you to be), and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)