"You can't possibly measure up."
Society-- through media like television, music, movies, print, and digital-- tells us we can't measure up to its standards. Through these different outlets, society has set the standard for perfection: the perfect life, perfect family, perfect job, perfect body, etc. Society keeps sending us the message that we aren't good enough. "You're not rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, popular enough, etc." Society looks on us with disdain, disapproval, even disgust, and we can get caught up in a restless, ceaseless struggle for unattainable perfection.
In a way, God says we can't measure up, too-- that is, we can't merit salvation on our own (CCC 2007). We need His grace just to come to faith in Him, and even that faith is a gift we are given freely by a God who looks at us as we are, takes us as we are, and loves us as we are. After all, He created us! This is an incredibly different outcome of what seems to be a similar message on the surface.
When it comes to my own children and my students, I'm going to do my best to help them learn not to worry about failing to measure up to society's impossible standards. I want my children and students to know that:
- God accepts them, loves them, and died for them, making their salvation possible.
- Even though they couldn't earn this gift on their own, it's attainable.
- With God there's no need to struggle. No seeking perfection through 10 easy steps found in the latest People Magazine or Facebook post.
Come to think of it, I could stand to hear that more often myself. How about you?
Photo credit: Sepehr Ehsani via photopin cc