Gift righteousness is really about being acceptable.
Sin is anything else you let determine your acceptability.
:: Ann Voskamp ::
It was first grade…
I was standing in the hallway of the old education building at my home church, ready for Sunday School with my friends. But then those friends, we’ll call them Ariel and Sasha, they hand me the few words first graders can spell – “We are not friends.” The letter had a big sad face on it. Their explanation to my little crying self was, “You are too nice. You make us feel bad.”
I tried to not be so good after that and made the attempts to still be friends. I pretended not to know answers to questions and not to have an issue with certain behaviors. It worked. Acceptance Addict stage 1
Same story different year. Two new friends, we’ll call them Tasha and Keisha, they hand me a note that says I was “too perfect all the time. It’s boring that you’re always nice. You know all the right answers.” So, there I was pretending not to know answers and trying to get into trouble. Acceptance Junkie stage 2
This time it was a messenger sent over to my lunch table, the one I usually shared with a good friend who we’ll call Rachael. This time, Rachael sent a girl over to say, “Hey sooo Rachael says you guys aren’t gonna be friends anymore. She’s into other stuff than you. Stuff that’s not so goody-goody, so Miss Perfect all the time. K?”
That’s when I started to realize what was going on.
I was way too much. I couldn’t be really excited about Jesus or about school or about church because it meant I was fake, I was alone, and I was making people feel bad.
So I tried to quit, but then I got into A.P. classes. Then, my “good girl” didn’t want to give up. So I resolved to be secretly good. That way I still had friends.
Leaving for college (a Christian University to boot), I was still living in the secret “goodness”. No one knew my GPA, not even my parents, no one knew could know I was getting academic scholarship money, nobody could know how happy I was with the Lord and His plans. Don’t be too spiritual or too smart. Or at least don’t share it with people too much. It leads to bad things as far as friendship goes.
So praise, encouragement or compliments felt like the beginning of the end of a friendship. I was all about doling it out and to this day, hate receiving it.
And then college happened at a university that forever changed me. There, I met friends who say as recently as this month, “You know this, but you need to hear it out loud. Your identity is never too much or not enough. You are always and forever wholly acceptable and sufficient through the blood of Christ and the gracious love of God. You are loved and known completely. Believing anything else is a lie from the enemy.”
She said this in response to my calling for truth spoken because my heart was being hijacked by the same old insecurity. I’m unlikeable and alone and disingenuous because my answers are too right and I’m too nice..too _________.
My mom says even when we have the Author of Truth to extinguish lies, we have to keep tilling the soil of our hearts with Truth before any lie of insecure identity can take root. It’s a proactive, deliberate effort – tilling up the soil of our hearts with the Truth of the Good News, with the Truth of Gospel news.
The answer isn’t turning to my favorite, truth-filled sisters or to my wise mama or to anything short of the Author of Truth. His identity over me is secure even when I allow my heart to believe otherwise – even when I turn to an audience of observes before turning to my Maker.
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
So you are no longer a slave, but a daughter;
and since you are a daughter, God has made you also an heir.
:: Galatians 4:6-7 ::