We are continuing our Faithful Friday blog post series on the subject of condemnation. This week we will talk about a subject that everyone can relate to and that is pride.
I have struggled with perfectionism on many different levels every since I can remember. From second grade spelling bees to something as simple as packing my kids lunch— I have always had an expectation of myself and always just wanted to get things right (imagine that standard in this Pinterest generation)! I’m not even sure where I got the standard of right from, considering that I came from a broken home. Perhaps I just wanted to build a better model for myself or even my kids. So I set out on this journey to create this model and kept finding myself coming up short all of the time. I had to bump my heads a few times to realize that in all of my strength, I will never be able to ascertain that level of perfection that I am aiming towards.
I can’t help but wonder if there is a level of pride that creeps in when we believe that we are never supposed to mess up. When we are unable to measure up to that level of perfection that we ourselves have constructed, it seems as if our pride gives way to shame.
“When pride comes [boiling up with an arrogant attitude of self-importance], then come dishonor and shame, But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with God] there is wisdom and soundness of mind.” Proverbs 11: 2 AMP http://bible.com/1588/pro.11.2.amp
What I have come to realize is that this perfectionism could be from a feeling of how important we think we really are. Reality is that we focus all our attention on ourselves far too much and way too long. I have noticed that I have dealt more with condemnation when I am ashamed at an attitude or behavior that was an inaccurate depiction of how I wanted to view myself. I have been more concerned with what others thought about me than what I know God has said about me. We hold ourselves in these self-made prisons when we fail to meet the high expectations that have been placed on us either from ourselves or other people. The keys to our freedom is in our repentance and forgiveness, and that forgiveness is first required of ourselves. When we fail to meet a demand that we placed on ourselves, we should allow a “grace period” or a time to be restored and aligned to the path that we were originally on without any penalty. Another key to freedom is knowing just how much Jesus loves us and the beauty of His sacrifice that He made for us to be able to walk in that freedom.
I still miss the mark often and it is taking me all of these years to mature, but I am now fully aware of my need for wisdom; wisdom to learn how to walk in humility and to esteem others higher than myself every opportunity I get. His grace is sufficient just for me. I know that I am not perfect by a long shot, and I commit to get up everyday and just make progress.