Happy New Year, sweet friends! I am SO beyond excited to share a new series with you called “Modern Christianity” where we explore what the modern christian life actually looks like— not the stereotypes people like to believe. In this series we will cover topics like how to pursue ministry over marriage, how christian girls dress, and how to be involved on college campuses without losing your faith. I have been so beyond blessed to share life with a few stand out young women of God who are living R A D I C A L L Y for Jesus. What makes them radical? Read more to find out!
Rachael is the fourth and final friend I asked to write a guest post for this series! I cannot tell you what an enormous impact this girl has had on my life; seriously, I wouldn't have a blog if it wasn't for her. I met Rachael on FACEBOOK four years ago while looking for a roommate at Virginia Tech. We talked and talked and finally met up when she came to tour VT in the spring. I'll never forget walking back to my car after and she turned to me and asked me if I wanted her to be my roommate in the most innocent voice possible! I said "Of course!" but in my head I was thinking, "This whole day I was walking around under the impression we were already going to be roommates!" HAHA! Any who, Rachael blesses just about everyone she comes in contact with. You won't meet someone with a more steadfast faith than hers and I couldn't be more thankful to have gotten to live with her for three years! I asked Rachael to write a post for She Who Moves Mountains, because I know she has fought a long hard battle with perfectionism and so many girls I know fight the same fight. Over the years I've had the privilege of watching my best friend go from pursuing perfectionism to pursing the Perfector of all things! Here's what she has to say:
"From the time I was five years old, I learned that my actions had consequences. If I performed well for the week, which for a five year old simply meant memorizing a Bible verse at school, I’d be rewarded with an ice cream stop on the way home each Friday afternoon.
As I continued to grow up, I noticed a pattern of performance that produced good results. In every area of my life, this motto continued to hold true: do this to get that.
In the fourth grade, I attended my first high school graduation and was introduced to the concept of a Valedictorian. I was literally in awe of the honor and distinction given to the top member of the class. The wheels to my fourth-grade mind began to spin, and at the age of ten I set out to be Valedictorian of my graduating class.
Middle and High school came, and my strive for excellence continued to grow. I studied extremely hard to get the perfect grades. I practiced really hard to improve my cheering and softball skills. I restricted my eating to achieve the perfect body, and I people-pleased to gain the approval of others. My distorted pursuit of perfection continued to grow and spiral out of control.
As I continued to achieve and perform, I received praise and recognition that only fueled my desires to continue. The achievements I made resulted in more self-induced pressure to maintain them. I began to feel crippled by the weight of anxiety, stress, and exhaustion.
Somewhere along the way I believed a lie that my worth was found in the things I did. I believed a lie that I had to constantly prove that I was worthy of love, and I believed a lie that satisfaction could be found in my achievements. But the biggest lie of all was this: God’s love and approval can be earned.
I strived to carry out my performance motto in my personal relationship with Jesus. I so desperately desired to please God and hungered to make Him smile. Religiosity became my idol as I seeked to find God in doing more good things for Him. I became a slave to perfectionism, the pursuit of self-righteousness, and control. Instead of resting in the freedom God’s grace offered, the chain of perfectionism rooted in pride held me captive.
The chains dug deeper and deeper and chipped away at my very core.
Freedom came when I encountered the Father’s love. “You are loved just the way you are,” was spoken over me repeatedly as I wept and wept. The weight that I had carried for years began to lift, and for the first time I began to understand the concept of grace.
Isaiah 43:1-14 portrays the Father’s love so well. It says:
This is the overwhelming and wreckless love of God. Simply because He loves me, He chooses to go to the ends of the earth to bring me back to Himself. While I was still dead in my sin, He chose to enter into my suffering and redeem me. Why? Because He loves me and wants me to be with Him. I belong to Him. He doesn’t desire my works or efforts; He simply wants me.
I could spend a lifetime trying to wrap my brain around the love of God. It’s so counter-cultural. It defies the motto that I apply to every other area of my life. His love is so vast that it continues to penetrate my soul in waves. I receive that which I could never earn or deserve. I’m known as His beloved simply because that is how He chooses to define me.
Walking in freedom has been a continuous journey with the Lord. Each and every day I must choose to accept His free gift of grace and root my identity in Jesus Christ.
Are you tired? Run down? Feeling burnt out or held captive by the strongholds of performance and perfection? Come to the Father and find rest in His overwhelming love. Be still and allow yourself to receive God’s grace. The love and intimacy He offers is like no other.
My prayer for you is that which Paul wrote in Phillipians 3:14-19:
You are no longer a slave to performance and perfection. You are a beloved child of God.
As you pursue the perfecter over perfection, a glorious exchange will take place: anxiety for peace, strife for rest, and self-crippling lies for liberating truth.
Rach has been such a gift to me and I hope that this was a gift to you! You can follow Rachael on Instagram @rachaeltrotman!