Carissa Benavides

Calgary, Canada

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Seeking Perfection

Growing up, I was an especially shy girl. I was afraid of speaking out- I never wanted to be wrong because I was scared that I wouldn’t be accepted. In some sense, I lived for a life of perfection. I always wanted to be the right person for every situation at any given moment, and I always sought out praise and affirmation. I found, however, that in this quest for perfection, I built a lot of walls around me. These walls prevented others from really knowing me, from knowing that deep inside, I wasn’t really perfect. There were a lot of sins, ugliness and brokenness that I hid from the world and from God. By the time I was in university, I found that I was still constantly living for these unrealistic expectations of perfection: always making sure I pleased others, always making sure I did the “right” thing, and always keeping people at a distance. But in doing so, I never really felt that I was good enough, I didn’t have a real purpose in life and I constantly felt empty and weighed down by my sins.  

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

During my 3rd year of university, I participated in a Catholic summer mission project. Three weeks into the summer mission, I found myself burnt out from the mission. My staff mentor at the time encouraged me “to be filled with God every day- for what we give of ourselves is an overflow of what we are allowing ourselves to be filled with.” Challenged to begin a consistent prayer life, it was through my daily five minutes of prayer where I encountered Jesus personally. Back then, I was ashamed of my flaws and brokenness. I wondered, how could someone like God love someone like me? Yet that was my deepest desire: to be seen and known, to be loved by Him, imperfections and all. Jesus met me there in my longing, in the deepest part of my heart, and refreshingly overwhelmed my life with His love. Jesus freed me from my insecurities and my sins, and allowed me to become more whole and authentic with my relationships with other people, myself and most especially, with Him.

A Life of Freedom and Joy

Years have gone by since that transformative summer, and yes, I still struggle and make mistakes. But now I live in the freedom of knowing I am loved. I am also humbled and grateful for mercy, found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I am humbled and grateful in remembering that I am not perfect, and that is why I need Jesus. Love requires a choice. As I continue to choose Jesus every day, He continues to give me the greatest gift of Himself. He is my Saviour, my strength, my peace of mind, my best decision and my deepest and truest joy.

— Read more —
Contact me Learn more about Jesus

Similar stories