My third-grade girl was nervous about a poem she had to recite at school. She knew every word to “Animal Crackers.” Sure, they came out too quickly and she could have spoken louder when she practiced in our kitchen. But she knew what she was doing.
Yet fear sneaked in. Tears came. Nerves abounded.
As I comforted her, I remembered every night before I had a school presentation when I was growing up, I would get irritable and nervous. Tears weren’t strangers to my preparations either.
But I don’t want that for her. I want her to stand in a confidence I never knew. I want her to realize she may mess up when she’s standing in front of her class, but life is okay anyway. I want her to realize her performance – with this poem or anything else – doesn’t define her.
I told her all these things. And then we opened up her bible to 1 John 4:17-18:
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. ...”
She is loved perfectly by the one who made her. She doesn’t have to score well or speak perfectly to earn God’s affection. Sure, as her mom, I want her to do her best, but she’s already loved.
The same can be said for you and me.
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