During the first 18 years of my life I didn’t take God seriously. I grew up in church and based on my understanding of what I was taught, I could never be good enough. This coupled with my natural inclination towards a fatalist mindset left me in many questionable circumstances for a “goody-two shoes”. My reasoning was that since I was never going to meet God standards I shouldn’t really bother. During my freshman year of college I put God on the back burner. I wanted to reinvent myself without His influence, my pastors, or my parents. But something shifted my sophomore year. My roommate started inviting me to bible study on Sunday nights. Since it was really informal and I was free to ask questions I kept going. (The fact that they fed us was a big help too.) I started falling in love with God again. I wanted to give Him every part of my life, simply because I loved Him. But I started to swing into a dangerous mindset of legality. I was trying to earn His love through works. And this left me in a worse mess than I had been before. I started to read my bible, pray, and serve out of duty instead of love. And the prison I found myself in was unbearable. I had to be perfect. There was no room for error in the mindset I had. Thankfully with the help of some very patient mentors and hours of study on my own I don’t live in that prison anymore. So here are some truths and verses that helped me break out.
Although the entire book of Romans is bomb, chapter eight spoke to me during this time because I felt condemned with no way out on a regular basis. Meditating on this scripture, memorizing it, and embracing the freedom I have in Christ took some time, but I fall more in love with this passage every day, especially on my bad days.
People pleasing is for the birds
If I could shout this from every roof top in the world I would. This simple reality has saved me so much heart ache in the last few years. It took me a long time to realize that it is impossible to please everybody. Scripture says “If it be possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 NIV) Meaning there is a chance that you WON’T live at peace with everyone, and that is ok. Remember we perform for an audience of one.
Sanctification is a process and you need people to help make it happen
When it comes to living a life pleasing to God it will not happen overnight, and it definitely won’t happen when you are isolated. Having friends and family members that hold you accountable helps you stay close to God. However at the end of the day it is the Holy Spirit that changes your heart and convicts you of your sinful habits. And although it didn’t feel good at the time I am so thankful for conviction.
So if you find yourself in the prison of perfection, I encourage you to break out. The law has been fulfilled, we live under grace and there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God