Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure to be good at things. To be a good student, a good writer… a good Christian. Do you feel that too?
I’ve put pressure on myself to be a “good” public-schooled Christian. And on this blog there is a lot of emphasis on standing strong in your faith at school, sharing your faith, and representing Jesus well. Those are very important, but what about the days you aren’t a “good” public-schooled Christian?
What if you are tired and irritable one day? What if you’re shy and don’t talk to anyone in your Spanish class? What if you see an opportunity to talk about Jesus with someone, but you back out, or you could do something kind for a classmate, but instead you stay in your comfort zone?
It can make us feel like a failure if we don’t do and say the “right” things. But it is part of human nature to make mistakes.
It’s okay, we all mess up sometimes.
I remember when I used to be so shy and quiet in class that my classmates had to ask me to repeat what I said. I remember the day that I chose to look at my phone instead of interacting with people. I can think of the times when I talked and cared too much about myself and overlooked others.
You might be able to think of those times, too. But God has a way of using our mistakes to grow us and point us to Him. If I didn’t mess up, I wouldn’t know what to avoid in the future so I wouldn’t make the same mistake. I wouldn’t understand the value of being able to have conversations with people and talking to people about Jesus if it came easily to me.
Making mistakes helps us realize how great God is. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Weakness doesn’t define us. Weakness is what leads us to rely on God’s strength instead of our own. And when we rely on His strength, we are made stronger and all things become possible.
So many good things come from relying on God’s strength. I remember the time when I invited my friend to church. I remember when I explained to a classmate that all religions really aren’t the same. I can think of when I pushed myself to talk to people and build relationships even when I was tired. Think of the good things that have happened when you relied on God’s strength.
How do you respond when you don’t perform well?
Do you beat yourself up over it? Or do you understand that your mistakes show your humanity?
If we didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Our mess-ups, failures, and mistakes are why Jesus died for us. Jesus’ blood covers our brokenness and washes away our sin. Failure should point us to Him because His perfection is greater than our imperfection.
Mistakes and failure should also make us want to evaluate what went wrong and what can change next time–not so that we can finally be the perfect Christian or please God more (He will always love you the same), but because we have a desire to act out of our love for God.
Making mistakes or failing to represent Jesus well to other people at school doesn’t make you any less of a public-schooled Christian–just like if you’re a student who gets bad grades sometimes, it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a student.
However, God puts a desire in us to serve Him well and we should follow that desire while at school and everywhere. We need to recognize our mistakes but not let them get in the way of serving Jesus. All of the people in the Bible (except Jesus) made mistakes and sinned, yet many of them did great things for God.
What we can do when we fail or make a mistake…
- Pray: thank God for how Christ has washed away your sins and made you whole. Ask God how you can better serve Him next time.
- Give yourself a break: don’t beat yourself up over one mistake. Understand that owning your weaknesses and depending on God actually makes you stronger.
- Evaluate: if there is a mistake that you keep making, figure out what leads you to make it. What can you do to stop the cycle?
Being a “perfect” Christian is not an attractive form of Christianity because perfection is unattainable while we are here on Earth.
We will witness better to people at school by admitting that we make mistakes and showing them that though we can’t live up to God’s standards (or even our own), Jesus bridges the gap created by our shortcomings.
I have given myself a break from several things in the past month, and it has helped me serve God even better, especially at school. God did not mean for His children to stress about perfection; He created us to depend on Him and be satisfied in His perfection.
I thank God that though I’m not enough on my own, Jesus is.
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