The majority of my childhood was spent striving.
I tried really hard to be the best at everything. If I made good grades, there was a chance I would get approval. If I led this or was the best at that, there was a chance I would be recognized. If I worked hard to be perfect, that would be the ticket to love. If I was “good” then that would help keep my family together. The more I worked, the less I was seen. But it didn’t stop me from trying.
I thought that was how it worked with God too. If I read my Bible every day, memorized Scripture, stayed pure, went to church every time the doors were open, and told others about Jesus, then I would have all of His love and He wouldn’t be disappointed with me. I could tell you that “my righteousness was like filthy rags,” but I didn’t really believe it. Trust me, I knew I was missing the mark, but the part about God’s love being so big for me, I just didn’t get it.
Fast forward a lot of years.