“Read the letters on this line for me,” the opthalmic technician prompted. Looking intently at the screen, I tried hard to make sense of the fuzzy black lines. My stronger right eye was covered up and my weaker left eye was getting tired from the strain. The letters went in and out of focus.
Come on, you can do this, I told myself. The seconds ticked on. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans. My mouth felt dry.
“Umm… ok, let me see… The first one is P, I think… no, it’s F! And then D, then Q… or is it O? Yeah, it’s O. And the last one is T. …Maybe,” I ended weakly.
The truth was, I could barely make anything out. I was just guessing at the letters. But why did I feel such pressure to get the “right answers”?
It’s no surprise to those who know me that I hate being wrong. I want to get a perfect score, every time. But in the case of my eye exam, it was actually causing more harm than good when I guessed at the letters. The doctors couldn’t help me find an accurate prescription if I wasn’t honest about my vision!
This drive for perfection stems from a deeper issue – the lie that my value comes from my performance. At the root of that lie is pride. Pride says that I can do it all, be it all, get it all right. Pride deceives me into thinking that I can be perfect.
But all my striving for perfection will just end in frustration and disappointment. No matter how hard I try to get it all right, I can’t earn God’s favor. Nothing I do will win my Heavenly Father’s approval or acceptance. His grace is free and can’t be earned! Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (NIV).
“Can you read these letters?” the technician at the eye doctor’s office flipped to another line of type. No matter how hard I squinted and blinked and strained, this time I had to admit that it all looked like fuzzy blobs. “I’m sorry, I really can’t see anything,” I mumbled. “Well, then,” she said briskly, “now we know where to start. Let’s see if we can find a prescription that will help you.”
I let out a deep breath of relief. That wasn’t so bad. Once I’m honest about my weakness, I can finally start to get the help I need! As I try on my new contact lenses, I realize that it’s a good thing I don’t have to get all the right answers to earn God’s approval. I’m so thankful that He freely gives His grace to all who ask – helping me get my life back in focus.