The Gift (Part 3): The Greatest Gift


I was once a perfectionist.

I might have scorned anyone who told me that my most beautiful moments are the messy everyday vulnerable stories.

I was sixteen when that wall of perfectionism fell hard and nearly crushed me. A relationship that I had invested everything in had failed.  Most of my friends had graduated or moved away that year. I had gained a lot of weight.  Taken a lot of antidepressants. I was weak.  I was lonely.  I felt lost.

I was lost.

Still, I tried to pull myself up.  Tried to aim myself at a dream.  Any dream: writing, photography, a new relationship, making the Socastee Singers.  Really anything that would show the world that I was okay.

I wasn’t okay.

That summer I was invited to a youth camp with a full scholarship.  I jumped at the chance to go.

I really don’t remember much at all about the camp.  Vague memories.  I only had two pairs of shorts that fit. I went canoeing.  I participated in my very first ropes course. I didn’t know anyone there almost at all.

But I do remember crying that ugly cry.  You know the one?  Snot all over your face, loud sobs, mascara trails. And it was at that very moment that I received the most extravagant gift I’ve ever received.

Whoever was up there was telling me that I didn’t have to be perfect.  That I was okay right where I was in the center of this mess.

Why?  Well, because I was loved.  Unconditionally.  So unconditionally that my Lover was willing to die for me.  In fact, Jesus Christ did die for me.  He lived perfectly for me so I could still bring glory to Him in my mess by His grace alone.  I didn’t have to be a perfectionist and seek glory for myself.  I had a bigger purpose than living just for me.

I still get goosebumps telling this story.  Telling you about the best Gift ever. Nothing can top this good news. 🙂

I’m telling you this now for a couple reasons. First, I want you to hear the gospel.  The truth that Jesus died for you because he loves you so that you could be free from perfectionism.  In fact, he fully intends to use your messes as gifts to others.

The second reason is that my motivation for giving has changed.  Before I was a reformed perfectionist, I used to give gifts because I wanted you to love me.  Now I give gifts because I am loved and I want to share that joy of being loved with you.

So tomorrow I’m offering you a gift to give to others.  I can’t wait for you to open it and share 🙂