I had the incredible opportunity to intern for my church this summer along with seven other college students. Several times a week, we met with our pastor Deacon in the morning for devotionals as a part of our fellowship and training. I have valued every minute of my time spent with someone as wise as Deacon and who has so much intimacy with the Lord.
With the help of Deacon, the Lord has revealed to me a part of my identity in him: the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness.
Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
I both love and hate to think of myself as someone who strives for perfection. I think that term, “perfectionist” is overused and I don’t really like to fit myself into that category. But the fact of the matter is I am one, no matter how much I try to deny it.
Perfect in softball.
Perfect in school.
Perfect at work.
Perfect in relationships.
Perfect for God.
Why settle for anything less than perfection?
Here is the issue with this: I am human. I am more far from perfect than the greatest of sinners. With the expectations to be perfect, I am setting a standard for myself that can never be reached.
I am carrying a burden righteousness that I was never intended to carry.
Many of you know that in the last year, I felt conviction in my lack of humility. I wanted to “perfect” this virtue and do whatever it took to be more humble. In our spring season, I ran from my awards. I didn’t pick up a single newspaper or read a even one online article about my team. I wanted nothing to do with knowing my batting average or what the media might be saying about me. I ran from something I was never intended to run from. I lived as if the honors did not exist. Surely, if I acknowledged them, that would not be good in the eyes of God…
I was challenged on Friday morning that perhaps I went about that process in the wrong way. Rather than running from these awards, I needed to recognize them, and use them as a source of gratitude. I was blind to the fact that God wanted to share in this joy with me. My eagerness to be “perfected” in my humility not only stripped me of the joy God intended me to have in those awards, but also the opportunity to worship and glorify Him in the process.
I know this will be a constant battle for me, with the temptation to carry a burden of the pressure to perform. But God calls me “blessed” as the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, that is, if Jesus is truly my fill.
As Deacon spoke, I felt as though the Lord Himself was speaking. He warned me of the temptation to fill my identity as someone who is perfect in all I do. Will I fill it with this, thinking that I can do a better job on my own without God? Or will I accept that I can never be perfect, and let the grace of Jesus be my fill?
Rather than taking the extreme to seek humility, I must seek to know more and to imitate the One who was Perfect, Jesus, and let Him fill my hunger and thirst.