The smooth breeze flew through my hair as I hiked to my afternoon class. The beauty of the day passed through my thoughts. So did thoughts along the lines of, “Why am I walking to class when I could be taking a cozy afternoon nap?” But I pushed these thoughts aside and trudged ahead. Something about this day made me feel free. I reflected on the contentment of this solitary moment. In an instant I realized the beauty of living a life free of anxiety, free of fear, and most of all: free from living for perfect impressions.
We’ve all had those dreaded “first impression” moments. We all make sure there’s no salad left in our teeth from lunch or that we didn’t somehow forget to zip up our jeans or fasten our belt buckle (all precautions we take because of previous embarrassing moments). But in today’s world, the whole “first impression” thing can easily come through scrolling through a social media profile. We are quickly becoming slaves to ourselves because we feel the need to tell EVERYone EVERYthing good that has EVER happened to us. We let our “image” become our chance for perfection, completely forgetting that perfection flew out the window a long time ago.
So what’s the big problem with trying to be perfect? It takes away our contentment.
Striving for “more,” “bigger,” and “better,” has NEVER left me feeling peaceful and joyful. Instead, I am left feeling unfulfilled, impatient, and unsettled. God never told us we have to have a perfect Facebook page so others can know how great Christianity is. He never called us to post selfies with Bible verses so He can become more famous through us. Trying to make a “perfect impression” takes the glory off of what GOD has done in us and puts it on what WE have done for us.
We must return to the quiet moments of beauty and contentment.
If anxiety and perfectionism are a daily struggle for you, as they are for me, join me in embracing these beautiful truths.
First, Jesus knows you aren’t perfect—you never have been and you never will be. In fact, He lived perfectly to give you the life He wanted for you and the life you wanted for you. He took your place. Now, no matter what “impression” you give, no one can speak a word against you because you are not your own. You were bought at a price. A perfect, sacrificial price.
Second, anxiety is an illusion the devil throws at us. Seriously, worries are nothing but a lie. Satan wants us to believe the world is crashing in on us—that we will never survive. He wants to distract us and pull us out of the loving arms of our Savior. He knows it is only then we will be weak. We worry about what other people think, when God’s opinion is the only One that really matters. We worry that we will fail, when God says nothing is impossible with Him. We worry we are getting sick, when God is our Healer. We worry about the future, when He is the One who holds all our good and perfect plans.
Third, living by surrendering impressions is one of the most freeing things we can do, as believers. This form of surrender involves daily confession: “Lord, today I refuse to live as a slave to what others think. Instead, I give my life as a sacrifice to your calling. Empty me of what I want to hear and instead fill me with YOUR words that bring true life.”
As I continue to hike to class with the breeze enveloping my very being, I can’t help but smile. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of everything He’s done. I now live in freedom, joy, contentment, and beauty, knowing my Savior is all I’ve ever wanted and all I’ve ever needed.
So long, impressions.