I struggle with being a perfectionist and because of that I've always been really hard on myself. It seems no matter how good I do something, I can always think of ways I should of done it better. No matter how hard I try, I feel like I could have given more. And even when other people tell me I've done a good job, I have a really hard time believing it. Sadly, I am never quite good enough for myself....and what's even worse is that sometimes that feeling seeps into my heart and I start wondering if I'm also not good enough for God.
The past week I have been wrestling a lot with this. It's hard because I can envision the person I want to be, but then I see the person I am and I am disappointed in myself. This can quickly turn into the downward spiral of me thinking that maybe I am also disappointing God, and then before I know it I am once again wrapped up in the lie that God loves me based on what I do instead of Who I am to Him.
Ironically, this week it was also my turn to prepare and lead our youth group on a study about the new identity we receive in Christ. I must have repeated in my own sermon a hundred times that we are completely, unconditionally loved by God and that love is based not on us, but on a God who created us and then gave His son so that we could forever be united with Him.
I sat there and told these teens that God will never turn His back on us and that there is nothing we can ever do to make God love us anymore or any less. Then I begged them to let those truths seep the eight inches from their heads to their hearts so that they wouldn't just have the knowledge in their mind of a loving God somewhere out there, but that He would live in their heart and they would know Him intimately.
As we closed our meeting, I asked my teammate to play one last song and pray over the group so they we all could just focus on God and Christ would have a moment to work in each of our hearts. I was expecting God to move upon the youth, to breathe on them, to confirm to them the truth of the words I had shared. Instead (or hopefully along with that) He chose to breathe on me. In that moment every ounce of studying I did and all the scriptures I had read to write my sermon, came flooding back to me and it was like God said, "This is for you too...because no matter what you say, no matter what you do, no matter how much you try to be perfect and fail...I LOVE YOU"! And those were the exact words I needed to hear in that moment!
It's always amazing to me how as humans it takes hours, days, and some times even weeks to pray and prepare a message for God's people, but that God can preach a sermon, change a heart and rebuild a life in the blink of an eye! He knows what to say, how to say it and perfectly when to do it. He's our good Shepard!...And yet sometimes He uses your own sermon to speak to your heart! Thanks God!