This week’s “Dear Daughter” letter is written by my kindred spirit, Kelly Smith, a beautifully wise writer, wife and mom of three in Alabama, who reminds her daughter, and each of us, that perfection can only be achieved in Heaven, not here on Earth.
You are a good child. Your heart wants to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. When presented with two choices, you often think about the rules and the consequences and choose accordingly. You take pride in the straight line you walk, and I do, too. Mamas need a kid they can count on to make good choices.
I am a rule-follower like you. I like to know the boundaries so I can remain decidedly within them. Give me a line, and I will make sure we all hang out behind it. Our kind stays out of trouble. We make the people in charge happy.
The danger in all of this goodness within us is the tendency to rely on it for our righteousness. We work hard to be perfect in an effort to make God and all those around us happy.
If our holiness depends on our ability to achieve perfection, why would we need Jesus?
Perfection isn’t the goal here.
I want you to know, I am so glad you desire perfection. But don’t depend on your ability to achieve holiness. This is the work Jesus accomplished on the cross. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ” (Rom 3:22 NLT). No amount of goodness on your part will qualify you for Heaven. The only way to the heart of God is through his Son.
For most of my life, I tried to do all the right things so God would love me more.
I read my Bible, prayed, and went to church as often as I could. I didn’t curse, wear makeup, or listen to rock music. I never said it out loud, but my heart’s cry was, “Look at me! See me live right!” I didn’t realize that God loved me as much on my worst days as he did on my best days. His love didn’t rise or fall based on my ability to follow the rules.
The same is true for you. God loves you completely. His love will never fade. You cannot lose it by being foolish. You cannot make him love you more by being extra good. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness'” (NAS).
This principle applies in our relationship, too. You can’t earn my love by being good. My love began the minute I knew you were you. The fact that you are a good kid doesn’t make me love you more.
Perfection isn’t the goal here.
You will make mistakes, and I will be disappointed at some of your choices. But I will never, ever stop loving you.
Keep following the rules, baby girl. Make good decisions every single time. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because your value depends on it. When you do the right thing, don’t look around to make sure everyone saw it. Quietly raise a hand to God, and thank Him for giving you the strength to choose wisely. Then you will feel His smile and know His love.
Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at MrsDisciple.com.