We all have that one friend. You know; the one who’s constantly over-achieving. The one who wants to be the best at everything. The one who is never wrong, or, at least, that’s what they think. The one who feels the need to be the best at EVERYTHING. If you’re thinking to yourself that you don’t have that friend, it’s probably because you’re that friend. If you actually don’t have that friend . . . Hey, I’m Greta. I’m that friend.
Before we get into this, you need to know who you’re talking to. I was the valedictorian of my high school, lettered in two varsity sports—one of which I was the MVP three years in a row, played Division I Volleyball at High Point University, and graduated summa cum laude. I don’t tell you this so you’ll think I’m impressive. I’m telling you because it’s dangerous, because it tempts me to boast in myself and not the Lord.
While some of us definitely have more tendencies towards being “that friend,” there’s something in all of us that longs to be seen, heard, recognized, and praised. Here’s what you need to hear. There is hope for both the all-star and the person who feels they will never be the all-star.
1. For the All-star
Honestly ask yourself these questions: Why are you striving? Who are you hoping is watching? How will you feel if you fail? The more I ask myself these questions, the more I realize how much of what I do is for me and not for God. Deep down we still think there’s something we can do to make God love us more, and we are utterly mistaken. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” That’s right. Apart from him, I, you, and we can do nothing.
What’s beautiful is that John 15 also gives the answer to our ever-striving, all-star hearts: ABIDE. We need to cease striving, cease making the most of ourselves, and realize that we have already been made much of because of Jesus. He went to the cross and put to death our undercover, works-based salvation to show us that we couldn’t have done it. In his resurrection, he seals our identity as one with him. You have nothing to prove anymore because when the Father sees you he sees Jesus.
2. For the Overlooked
Over and over again in the Bible, God doesn’t choose the seemingly obvious person to carry out his purposes. He chooses the weak to shame the strong. He chooses what is foolish to shame the wise. The same problem exists here for the overlooked as it does for the all-star. Deep down, you too still think there’s something you can do to make God love you more, but your hope is the same. Your identity is in the finished work of the cross and resurrection. Colossians 1:21-22 says, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him . . ..”
You don’t need to be someone else. You don’t need to compare yourself to someone else’s successes because you have been given the rewards of heaven. You don’t need to look like that guy or girl on Instagram or in your class. Rather than try to be noticed, place your hope in Jesus. And take heart, historically speaking, you’re the person God usually chooses. You have nothing to prove because when the Father sees you he sees Jesus.
Whether you’re the all-star or feel like you are constantly being overlooked, we need to get our eyes off ourselves and fix them on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) because honestly that’s who the Father sees.
-Greta Griswold (College Team)