For years, I sort of felt like the girl who everyone expected to know everything. If I walked into Sunday School in the middle of a lesson, it was sometimes assumed that I already knew what was going on and probably a little bit of what was coming. In school, I was one of those “honors kids” who played an instrument, took advanced classes, did who knows how many clubs, and was generally an overachiever.
That all crashed around me one day when I didn’t make it into an advanced musical group. I had auditioned for the third or fourth year in a row, but this was the first year I didn’t make it. The band teacher read aloud the names of everyone who had made it in. I knew already that I hadn’t (My audition was horrible. It was like I’d forgotten how to play, even though I’d practiced for weeks beforehand and mostly mastered the pieces.), but not hearing my name cemented that truth.
One of my friends was so shocked that he turned to me and said, rather loudly, actually, “You didn’t make it?!”
I felt like the whole room was staring (though they probably weren’t), and simply said, “No. I’m not perfect,” or something along those lines. I don’t really remember everything thoroughly because I was trying really hard not to cry.
It seemed as though I had just ruined everything that everyone had expected of me. I wasn’t the super smart girl. I wasn’t the talented musician. I wasn’t the one who always got everything right. I was the one who had let everyone down (or so it seemed), and I couldn’t even pretend that I was especially talented anymore. My failure was exposed.
I felt the same way my freshman year of college- like the whole world had such high, high expectations of me, and I was perilously close to letting them down.
It is through such experiences that I’ve realized how twisted my self-perception can be. As I (may have) told my friend that one day in band class, I’m not perfect. The one person who knows this best is the same One, and only One, who has every right to judge this deficiency.
And yet, He is the most forgiving. I wouldn’t doubt that He allowed, if not facilitated, my complete destruction of that audition. I don’t always enjoy auditions, but they don’t typically unnerve me to the point that I forget a scale that I could have played with my eyes closed. As I recall, I messed that scale up so badly that the instructor listening to my audition actually stopped me and asked me to move on to the next part of the audition.
But God, who actually has every right to demand perfection of me, and of all of us, comforted me when I cried that I didn’t feel special anymore. I felt a deep sense of peace as I was reminded that He loves me, His child, no matter how badly I mess up. I am first and foremost His child. Before I’m a student, writer, musician, friend, sister, daughter, expert… I’m His.
“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses,” announces Acts 13:38-39. The phrase “the law of Moses” can be replaced with whatever expectations you try to satisfy that are not from God.
God literally has the highest expectation and demand of us: perfection in all things. “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” a verse in Matthew 5 says. But He also is the most forgiving and loving, and takes our hands as we press on to become more like Him in His perfection and glory.
We shouldn’t ever, ever forget that we are His. We are His!! The only one that we might ever need to prove ourselves to already sees us as righteous and stainless because He sent His Son to die and take the place of our messes, failures, and crushed expectations, no matter how small or huge they are.
“In this life, I know what I’ve been, but here in Your arms, I know what I am: I’m forgiven! I’m forgiven!! And I don’t have to carry the weight of who I’ve been ‘cause I’m forgiven!” cheers a Sanctus Real song. Sometimes when I sing that song, I just spin around with joy. I’m forgiven! I’m loved!
I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by intelligence, by talent, by attractiveness, by friendships, by popularity, by your attempt at perfection.
I want you to know.