I will admit it. I want everyone to like me. Two things I have struggled with most in my life are people pleasing and perfectionism. In the past, if someone didn’t like me or critiqued my work, I could spend an unhealthy and disproportionate amount of time lamenting on where I went wrong and then I would make a plan to fix it. But the problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I still disappointed people and made mistakes.
It could be because I am human. And as far as I know, human beings can strive for excellence but they can never be perfect. Having the hope of perfectionism is like having a boat with a hole in it and thinking you can stay afloat if you can just keep the water out of the bottom. Eventually, you will take on more water than you can bail out and get tired of trying to fulfill other people’s expectations. This leads to burnout or drowning. Neither, a good option.
But what if I was perfect? Then would everyone think I was fabulous?
Actually, the answer is no.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus made his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a humble donkey. The people were so enamored by Jesus they lined the street with their cloaks and palm leaves in honor of the one they believed to be the next royal King from the line of David. Five days later, that same King hung on a splintered wooden cross with a crown of thorns on his innocent head – naked, accused, mocked, beaten, hated, and judged – but still perfect.
People don’t want perfectionism. They want what they want, when they want it.
By His sacrifice, we have been made perfect. Not on earth but in eternity. Not by merit or good works but by the grace of our faithful and loving Father. Your crown may always be tilted in the eyes of others but it was never tilted to the God who chose you before the foundation of the earth. You will always be fabulous to the One who truly counts! This is grace.
Brennan Manning wrote: “God loves you without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are not as you should be! Real freedom is the freedom from the opinion of others. Above all, freedom from your opinion about yourself.”
In closing, here are a few scriptures for further reflection:
Man looks on the outward appearance and, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV)
Am I now trying to win the approqval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)