Let me explain.
My testimony is nothing dramatic. I became a Christian when I was seven. I was raised in the church and never left. We went to church while we were on vacation. I participated in Sunday school, vacation bible school, the youth group and the youth choir.
There was no dramatic Paul-like conversion. God didn't pull me out of a pit of drug or alcohol abuse. I've always been the church girl. I went to school, made good grades and finished college; all without even pulling an all-nighter.
Before you stop reading because you think I'm boasting, let me tell you that, while I have no doubt that God designed my testimony for a purpose, I have had to ask my self an essential question multiple times:
What did God save me from?
Watch this video and see if you relate...
This post is not a book review (although that book really is good). I use that as an illustration. Can you relate to any of that? I sure can.
The struggles in my life have not been physical. Instead, they've come in the form of my own internal mess. I care about your opinion simply because you're there. Rejection is something that cuts deeper than anything else. I have become an expert at hiding behind "fine" and a good smile even when I feel like I'm about to lose it. I find joy in listening to other people as they work out their problems, but feel immensely uncomfortable talking about my own. Performance based affection is something I continually have to give over to God.
I would say that the last ten years of my life have been a journey to identifying this mindset and then working through it with God. I'm not even close to having it together. Just being able to admit that is progress.
Every now and then, I come through seasons where the devil really throws everything at me and I feel tempted to return to my good girl roots. A friendship falls apart, I make a mistake that ends up very public, or someone questions my motives. I want to go back to putting up walls. "I'm fine," I say, "Now tell me what's going on with you..."
When people ask about my testimony, I tell them that God saved me from "try harder." When I finally started listening to God and allowing Him to remind me what grace really was, I realized that my worth, my acceptance, my life is not defined by other people.
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory"
"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep"
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
These are all scriptures that God has spoken to my heart. I have to remind myself daily that God could not love me any more or any less than He loves me right now! Just like Colossians says, my life is hidden in Christ. When God looks at me, He see's Christ. Therefore, it would be completely ridiculous to think that I could ever "do something" that would match or surpass the sacrifice of Christ. The cross was enough. Instead of spending my life trying harder, I am free to spend it praising God for saving me.
God, thank you for the cross. Thank you for the sacrifice of your son. Thank you for saving me from the bondage of the good girl burden. Continue to remind me of your grace. Teach me what it means to live for you instead of others.