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I kinda like perfect.

I also enjoy applause and accolades.

Put those two together and you have a problem.

Okay, I have a problem.

For so many years I was defined by what I could accomplish, how much I could get done, how many people patted me on the back for my efforts.

And I could do a lot.

God had to discipline me and it wasn’t pretty.

I had been working in a non-paid position as the Children’s Pastor at our church. At Christmas the church had recognized the staff for their contributions with a gift. Then one year the board decided to look closer at their policies and decided not to include the unpaid staff, which would have been fine – if they had told me. I found out in the harshest way by simply not getting one. It completely devastated me in that ugly crying kind of way.

And it revealed my heart.

Not many months after that I burned out in ministry and had to step down. Someone else filled that position and I felt abandoned and useless.

Then someone who loved me enough to be straight with me pointed out this issue I had with needing the applause of people, my burning need to be noticed for what I was good at.

That hurt.

A lot.

But it started me on a journey to freedom.

Not that I don’t still swerve toward that temptation. I don’t think there’s a person on this planet that doesn’t like hearing that they’ve done something well. But I don’t think it is my identity anymore.

I still like the spotlight and the stage.

I still enjoy applause.

I can’t do what I used to do. My physical body doesn’t like so much activity. Exhaustion dogs me every day. I have to be sparing with my yeses.

And I will admit to a gut-wrenching sob when I realized my husband had really and truly stepped down from being a paid pastor (he’ll still be a pastor until the day he dies…cause you can’t change the spots). There was still some of that left, that desire for position, perhaps a little fame.

I might still need some freedom there.

In these last four years where my battle with exhaustion and health issues have been my nemesis God has been slowly telling me something. Okay maybe He isn’t slow, I am!

Then there was this quote at Allume from Ann Voskamp, maybe she was quoting someone else, it doesn’t matter, this is what I heard: “What do you want? When you stand at the pearly gates do you want to hear the applause of men ringing in your ears while all of heaven stands silent?”

Um, no.

The truth is this:

* the reality in my head will most likely not make it out to the natural realm

* my kids will never be perfect

* my house will probably never be all clean all at one time

* my husband will never be perfect

* I will never be perfect

* I don’t need to perform more

* there isn’t anything I can do to make Him love me more

* I want to love God and enjoy His company more than anything

* God will love me anyway – in spite of my imperfections

Love rests in the knowledge that I am loved, not for what I can do or how perfect I am, but simply because I am.