Estimated reading time: 6 minutes:)
The resounding lie of my life has been this: “you are not good enough.”
I was always the perfectionist, the go-getter, the high achiever. My nickname in youth group was “try hard.” I accomplished a lot at a young age.
But if I were to examine my true motivation behind a lot of my greatest accomplishments, I wouldn’t be quite as proud. Because for so many of them, that deep down insecurity was the main voice swaying me to keep striving: “you are not good enough.”
“You are not good enough.” So I applied for every honors and AP class I could take.
“You are not good enough.” So I gave every spare hour I had to train for the varsity soccer team.
“You are not good enough.” So I kept introspecting, examining all my flaws and trying to beat them to death until I was perfect and pure.
I’m not saying everything I’ve done in life came from this primary motivation. Of course, I did things at a young age because I loved to do them.
All I’m saying is this: that fear, that I’m not good enough, has dug its claws deep within my soul, and if I’m not careful, everything I do will be influenced by it in one way or another.
Because it is one thing to work hard, to have strong work ethic, and to push yourself.
But it is an entirely different thing to strive, to drive yourself into the ground, to slip into workaholic tendencies, and to refuse to rest.
Striving is one of my greatest vices, if I’m being honest.
Because I keep believing that deep down, I’m not good enough. And I have to prove to everyone else, including myself, that I actually am good enough – it’s the only way out of this never ending cycle, right?
It was a random day in January.
Nathan was at the fire station. I had just left my parent’s home to drive back to the apartment. It was late, and I was at the part of I-25 where mountains and plateaus swell around you and it feels like you’re in a roiling green and rocky sea. In the darkness, all the hills had turned to shadows, too fuzzy for me to make out their features.
A heaviness rested on my shoulders. I felt like my heart was being gripped by the claws of some monster. And all around me, the devil whispered: “You’re not good enough, Annabelle.“
I broke down in tears. The traffic lights all turned blurry. I looked up at the sky, reaching out to God.
“I feel like I’m not being a good enough big sister,” I sobbed. “Or a good enough daughter. Or a good enough friend. Or a good enough employee. Because I live so far away now, I can’t see my loved ones as much, I just can’t be who I used to be for these people. Jesus, I need you.”
I waited for some answer, but none came. Maybe I just wasn’t listening. Cars zipped around me. The stars looked down. And the world went on.
The devil has always tormented me with this lie. In high school, it manifested through sports and my novel and grades and romances. Today, it manifests through my family, my marriage, my job, my dreams, and my friendships.
And I bet you’ve believed it too – that you are not good enough.
The thing is, the devil will not stop using this lie on you. Sure, he might use different avenues by which to convince you it’s true. But he will never stop targeting you with fiery arrows of self-hatred, pity, shame, and insufficiency.
Because to truly believe you are not good enough and that you must do something about it, is to believe you can’t rest, you can’t trust, you can’t give yourself grace, and ultimately – that you must be “god” for everyone you love.
It might seem extreme. You might read that and think, “I don’t believe those things. I don’t think I can ‘be god’ for other people. That’s crazy.”
But take a closer look. How do you live? Do you trust God with your closest people, or do you try to control things to save them? How do you talk to yourself? Do you speak life over yourself or defeat? Do you feel shame over things outside of your control? Are you hyper aware of how sinful you are, and you hate yourself for it instead of accepting grace and moving forward? Are you capable of resting?
When I answer these questions in my own heart, they’re not pretty.
A heart at rest listens to God. So the devil will do anything to make you strive.
A heart at peace trusts God. So the devil will do anything to make you put your trust in other untrustworthy things.
A heart surrendered accepts the grace God gives. So the devil will do anything to keep your heart grace-resistant, self-loathing, and wallowing in self pity.
A heart submitted believes God will provide for their loved ones better than you ever could. So the devil will do anything to convince you that “they need you,” that “you need to be better for them,” that “there are no room for mistakes,” that “you can fix them. You can save them.”
And guys, it is a lie that self-hatred is righteous. God does not desire you to hate yourself or to view yourself so little and insufficient and horrible.
God loves you.
1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
He loved you before you even knew what love was, before you ever made a mistake.
He created you. He spent time on you. He didn’t just snap you into existence and wipe his hands clean. He knit you together, working you into exactly who you are. And when he was finished, he was so proud of you. Not because of anything you did to prove you were good enough. But because he made you beautiful, brave, strong, whole, and His.
Ephesians 1:7 says this: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” In Him we are free from feeling we aren’t good enough. By His grace, we are made good again.
Stop for a moment and realize: if “I am not good enough” is a lie – then it isn’t true. Can you wrap your head around that reality?
And even though we still believe these lies, ludicrous in the eyes of God – He understands your pain. He understands how you feel. He doesn’t scoff at you and say, “I can’t believe she believes that about herself, what an idiot.” He sits with you. He carries you. He holds you.
God desperately wants you to see yourself the way He sees you: beautiful and whole and beloved and good enough. That is the reality – not that you’re deep down a monster, an abomination, a worthless rag. The reality is that you. are. good. enough.
And we know this is true not because we are good or perfect ourselves, no.
We know this is true because someone else stood in our place. Someone else took the blame and let us replace our “not-good-enough” clothes with His royal robe. Someone else said, “I’ll be good enough for you.”
And that someone is:
YHWH-Jireh ~ “The God Who Provides.”
The truth is, the lie was never “you’re not good enough.” Because it’s true. We are sinful, we are broken, we truly aren’t good enough no matter how hard we try.
The lie is this: “you’re not good enough, so you must do something to prove otherwise.”
And to that God says, “you don’t have to prove a thing, beloved.”
Even in your shortcomings, God provides. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “But when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so you can endure it.”
You don’t have to try hard at everything just to prove you’re worth something – you’re worth more than diamonds, and you were the day you were conceived. You don’t have to be a perfectionist and strive to maintain a stunning reputation – God sees you already, and He loves what He sees. You have nothing to prove, because He stands in your place, “being enough” when you can’t be.
Lately, this has looked like surrendering for me. Choosing to sit in His presence instead of cleaning the house once more. Telling God the things I was proud of doing today. Trusting God will provide for my family, my siblings, my husband, and my friends even if I can’t be there. Accepting God’s grace as a gift instead of shoving it away because “I don’t deserve it.”
Our God is YHWH-Jireh – He will provide. He is sufficient when we are not. He is good enough when we are not. He fixes and saves and heals when we can’t.
So if “I’m not good enough” is a lie – what does that change for you?
Happy Saturday and thanks for reading friends. With God, you are good enough – let that sink in.