Jessica Gilbert

San Antonio, USA

A Perfectionist broken

A first born child with Japanese roots and a Type A personality, it's of no surprise that some themes in my life have revolved around hard work and self reliance. 

I strove to prove my significance through my grades, athleticism, leadership, body image--anything that would earn favor in the eyes of my family and friends. I had this idea that if I just lost 5 more pounds, or if I just learned to be more outgoing then I would feel valuable.

I even tried to earn God's favor by pleasing him. Remembering to pray, attending Bible studies, and trying not to mess up were my ways of knowing I was loved by God.

But I did mess up. I failed miserably. I felt incompetent when I got C's in my college math courses. Shame crept in when I gained some of that infamous "freshman fifteen" weight. I sensed my devotion to God go from full flame to simmer when I'd quench loneliness with empty romantic relationships and use alcohol to feel accepted by the crowd. 

My rebellion crested at its peak when I told God I was sorry for how I had allowed other things to come between him and me, but not sorry enough to change. 

I'll never forget the tenderness my dad showed me when I had told him everything I had done. I was ready for him to express his utmost disappointment with me and punish me for my failures, but instead he showed me grace. He told me that he knew God had great plans for my life and that if I wanted to keep living that way, I could. 

The truth is that I didn't want that life. I was tired of relying on my own strength to bring me satisfaction in life. I was tired of running from God. That's when I began to understand what Christ was offering me. A full life that relied upon Jesus' perfection. He lived the perfect life I couldn't so that I could receive the fullness of life I don't deserve. And just like my dad, God forgives me everytime I fail so I never have to worry about missing the mark.

I still get frustrated sometimes when I fail myself or wrong others. But I can thank God knowing that it is by grace I have been saved. Not by works so that I can't boast. (taken from Ephesians 2:8,9).   



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