My sweet kids, I think you guys are wonderful. I know I have this whole string of things I want you to remember. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed, though. So, with full appreciation of the irony, here is another thing for you to know and never forget. Ready? Don’t bother about being perfect; just be absolutely real.
Your testimony matters, and some will use that as motivation to compel you to be as perfect as you can be and hide the flaws you can’t avoid. There are lots of problems with this. First, it isn’t honest. And what good is something if it isn’t even true? If you gotta lie to get in the club, the club aint worth it.
Second, it is exhausting! Squirreling away your sins so people won’t reject God, keeping all the lies straight, watching your every tick and squeak, analyzing how others will interpret your words and actions… How could you even get out of bed in the morning? Where is the freedom in that? Joy? Devoured.
Third, the focus is all wrong. When you are working so hard to project the right image, what are you thinking about? Yourself! Why are you being perfect? To impress others with yourself so they will want to be like you. Where is God in all that bustle? And if you are so great, what do you even need God for in the first place? It just makes no sense. When we testify, we are not supposed to be giving evidence about ourselves. We are giving evidence about what we witness. It is impossible for us to witness much of anything if we are staring at our own reflections.
So, eyes up, Children! Look to God, look to needs of the world. Look for opportunities to share love and truth.
Remember what this is all about. God made you on purpose with love to be in this family at this time in this place. He doesn’t make mistakes and He doesn’t make trash. You are fantastic! You inherited a sinful nature and you choose to go your own way. This separates you from God, Who is the source of life. But Christ saw you at your worst and still considered you worth dying for. May I repeat: God doesn’t make mistakes. So if He saw you in sin and thought you were worth saving, who are you to argue? You are great because he made you and thinks you are worthy. Case closed. Save yourself from making yourself crazy by chasing perfection.
Be you. You are enough, especially when you stick close to the One Who made you. Be flawed, quirky and silly. Be ok with messing things up, honest about what you don’t know and willing to try new things. Tell people about your weaknesses, temptations and even your major flubs. Doing so takes the destructive power from them. It shrinks them to their proper size, especially when you place them next to your Giant Father.
Don’t be afraid of sin or Satan. God is more powerful and the battle is His. Take a breath and use it to praise the Lord. Smile and keep moving. You are terrific!