Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I Want to be the Best (Confessions of a Good Girl)

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)


Sarah Koci Scheilz said...

Sweet friend, we are indeed kindred spirits in this. I fight fight fight for the approval of others, fighting with the same energy that ought to be put towards honoring Christ. That verse from Matthew 11 is rich grace and such peace. Thanks for sharing your heart in this, Katie.

HilarySherratt said...

Thank you for these words. I fight that same fight, to be the best, to never be a mess. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart with us, Katie. I agree with Sarah - that verse is rich in grace and peace. 

tanya @ truthinweakness said...

oh thank you, sweet friend. i've missed stopping by b/c i've had a little one who has been sick the past week, so i'm looking fwd to be plugged back in with you & my other bloggy friends!and that quote on pg 65? i have it highlighted, too. :) along with what follows it: "He doesn't want my service. He wants me." rest for my soul, indeed.

and didn't you love that line on pg. 47? "Jesus is a miserable failure at meeting religious people's expectations of Him." Praise GOD for that!breathe deeply in these truths, my friend. take them all in . . .

tanya @ truthinweakness said...

btw, somehow i gotta figure out how to replace this silhouette of the dude w/ the cap! LOL. ;)

Nikki said...

I second everything Sarah said. Oh how I get this.
satan is good at whispering lies to me as well. at making me look to others instead of the One who made me... :::UGH:::
your heart encourages me. I think we can both overcome this. together!
Striving to be holy with you, friend, but not the best....

Katie @simply[his] said...

but he's so cool!!!  lol

just edit your profile in disqus.  let me know if you need help.  :)

Katie @simply[his] said...

so hard to admit this one... but striving for authenticity 

Katie @simply[his] said...

so thankful for your encouragement on this journey!!!

Jen Ferguson said...

Can i just say that I can totally relate to this?  It is a daily struggle for me -- learning to live a life for His greatness and not my own.  Amen, girl.  You've laid it out here so well.

Amy McCollister said...

Galatians life verse. Found it about a year ago on a study through Galatians with a friend. You know it's going to be a fun ride when something that crucial jumps out on week one! :) 

Love the honesty in this (surprise surprise right?). I, too, as several others, relate to this post. The people pleasing...such a hard thing to overcome, but slowly, one step at a time, we (yes I said we) can do this. So long as we cling to His grace, we will make it out of this world alive...well spiritually alive anyway. :) Love you friend!

Meredith said...

Wow, Katie.
This is breathtaking in its sincerity and candor.
Thank you so much.

Sarah@ Speaking of Truth said...

Yes. Yes yes yes! Aren't we annoying creatures? I would do ANYTHING to die to this need to be perfect and loved and praised and all that. I am so with you, Katie. 

Shelly Miller said...

Katie, I struggle with this too. Wanting to be the best at something, most things, and fear I won't be. And isn't that Grace for the Girl so good and convicting and rich? Thanks for being honest here, you have some courage girl.

Kimberly Sullivan said...

Wow!  So been there and done that!  It is a difficult beam to walk excellence versus perfectionism...Thank you for uncovering what so many of us "good girls" deal with!  And thank you for sharing it all with Painting Prose!

Mary Beth said...

Wow. This is me and my thought process. Almost exactly. Don't please people, please God. Being the best for God. Works = Holiness. Hold up that's not right. Christ makes me holy. Not a thing I can do to make myself holy.

Thanks for sending me your link. I could read all day here!


Jenn said...

I think that last verse has been my soul song this past month.  I like the comparison between good and holy. It's so easy to think they are the same but they really aren't are they?

hannah @ honestly here said...

I'm continually having to lay down my desire to be the best. I'm always seeking affirmation and reassurance from others, when I need to remember I only need it in Christ! Thank you for your honesty and all those scriptures- whew. Looking forward to continuing this Study with you! :)

Jennifer Dawn McLucas said...

I'm visiting you for the 1st time via the FB Good Girl group. I LOVE your blog, the design is fabulous. I love your header and that you used shades of blue and orange. I almost used blue and orange, but then I chickened out. ;) I like your writing style too, I can't wait to spend some time digging into all you share. 

I like to be the best too. At everything. Except for being the best at being the least... Somehow I always overlook that one. Which is a bad thing since Jesus kinda indicated that that was the most important thing to be best at. Is it possible to be the best at being the least? Isn't that kind of an oxymoron? 

Katie @simply[his] said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for your kind words!  I've kind of been bitten by the design bug lately, and I'm having a blast!!!!  
Sometimes it's really hard to back away and let someone else do that thing or get that praise.  But you're right- Jesus calls us to humility and others-centeredness.  He must change our hearts!!!

Donna said...

Visiting from the Good Girl group.  Great blog.  I can totally relate to wanting to be the best, striving to be the best, and being anxious, oh so anxious, to be good.  I'm excited for this journey through Grace for the Good Girl.


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