I am not good enough, and well…neither are you. Frankly our lack of ability in pretty much everything is like the elephant in the room. It is the truth we all know is there, but don’t want to admit. Well, let me take that back. Maybe we don’t all know it is there. Many of us have not yet realized that we are not good enough.
I know I was in denial for years. This undiscovered truth is one of the things that makes high school so rough. I fought, as so many do, to prove I was good enough to any other teenager that was paying me half a second of attention. College was pretty much the same. I worked hard to make good grades, hoping that would prove that I was good enough.
And while high school was bad, I think adulthood is worse. There are so many areas we have to prove our worth in. First, I have to live in the right neighborhood with the right house and decor to prove I am good enough. Then, I have to wear the right clothes and drive the right vehicle and shop at the right places and go to the right restaurants, all to prove I am good enough. I better have chosen the right career to prove I am good enough, and all depending on the career, we have a thousand other ways we have to prove we are good enough on the job.
And then let’s move on to parenting. Women have to have their baby the right way if they are going to be good enough. I better feed my baby the right way and when my baby starts toddling around I better make sure they have organic, non-GMO, gluten free snacks that never touch anything but that overly sanitized snack container I paid entirely too much for, but it was the right container to prove my worth as a parent – so that was the only choice. And my kid isn’t even a year old at this point. Let’s not even get into activities and birthday parties and Pinterest. Oh, Pinterest… just a beautifully creative way to set my “good enough” goal way out of reach.
Are you tired yet? I know I am and I have just shaved the iceberg in our lack of measuring up. But, bless, as a society, we fight so hard – constantly – to prove we are good enough, many times without realizing it. We are scared to death what may happen if our secret is told, if someone finally realizes, “Hey, they aren’t as good as I thought. They really aren’t good enough.” I mean, isn’t that why we try so hard?
But take a breath. Don’t tune me out. I am not here to call you out on your secret, any more than I want to be called out. I am here to release you from your secret and from the burden of being good enough.
Thanks to a message I listened to, now years ago, by Charles Stanley, God impressed upon me this idea of abiding. I instantly knew that abiding was what I needed to be doing, and NOT trying to measure up. I knew abiding was what I was missing from my current walk with the Lord, but I had no idea how to do it. And if we are being honest, I am still basically winging it, but nothing is a better teacher than experience, right?!?!
Slowly the Holy Spirit began breaking me down and showing me how to abide. He began showing me things I had to let go of, thoughts I needed to release, and prayers I needed to cling desperately to. But I don’t think I could have put any of that into words, I don’t think I could really explained that process until now.
I have referred to Lysa TerKeurst’s book Finding I AM several times in my blog. She talks about a time when she felt left out which leads her to feelings of not being good enough and at one point she says, “Embrace the truth instead of trying to cover it up.”
Right there! That’s it! That is the key, the initial step to abiding. That is what we are missing. I HAVE TO ADMIT I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
Now this is hard. We spend our entire lives trying to prove that we are good enough. We even work really, really hard trying to be better than good enough. I mean that exhaustive, but still impartial list, was proof of how hard we work to be good enough. Why would I admit to not being good enough now?
Well, as the saying goes, the truth will set you free. And Lysa says, Embracing the truth will literally set us free. Let me explain how.
First of all, You are not good enough (just in case you haven’t figured it out yet)…
None of us are. The Bible tells us that all our righteous acts – all those acts of trying to be good enough – are like filthy rags in the eyes of God. They are like leaves that get swept away in the wind.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (That scripture sure does shine some light on things.) No matter how you look at it, no matter how hard we try, we will just not be good enough. As a matter of fact, we make life a lot harder than it has to be because we are constantly proving – to ourselves and others – that we are good enough. We are caught in denial and we are working towards an unattainable goal. That mixture is bound to leave us heartbroken, beaten down, disappointed, and even a little lost.
Thankfully there is more. We are not good enough,
BUT, we are loved by Christ…
Romans 5:8 says, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, we were sinners. That is the whole reason we will never be good enough. But despite that, despite our sin nature, God still loves us. And not just loves us out of pity, like the poor abandoned puppy. No, not like that at all. In all our filth and trying to hard at all the wrong things, He loved us enough to send his only son to die for us. He loved us enough to sacrifice someone perfect, someone deserving, someone He loved just as much if not more, so that our sins could be covered, so that our “not good enough” could be gone. But there is more…
First John 4:9 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” Did you catch that? So again, God loved us. His love was made manifest among us, so not just love like he loved all of his creation. This was a special love, a love saved for the chosen people, the elect, us and anyone who is willing to love Him in return. And because He loved us and sent his son, we might live THROUGH HIM. Not through our trying too hard at never being good enough. No. He wants us to give all that up and live through him. He wants us to live in a state of grace where all of our not-good-enoughness is washed away by the loving blood of Christ.
See the beauty of this gift is that we never earned His love in the process. That is just who God is. He is love and He couldn’t help but look down on us and feel love, a love so strong that He wanted to intervene so that we could have life, so that we could live through him. Because we never earned his love, that love is not based on anything we do. In Him, we don’t have to worry about not being good enough. We don’t have to worry about messing up and losing His love. We don’t have to worry that His love is based on our actions, because it is not. His love is based on Him and His plan and what His son did on the cross for us, and that is not going away.
But I know what some of you may be thinking. You may be wondering just how strong this love is because you have done some pretty rotten things, maybe even in an effort to be good enough. Or maybe you are more like me, I haven’t ever done anything to land me in jail but I continually let my sin nature reign. Gossip here, negative attitude there, losing patience all over the place. Every day is some “little” sin that proves again that I am not good enough.
Well, God still loves me and he will still love you…
AND, He is more than enough.
Don’t be fooled by the world or by satan into believing that you are too bad for God’s love or that what Jesus did on the cross is not enough. His love and the blood of the cross are more than enough to cover our sin nature. Whether we use it as an excuse or we just can’t believe it, we so often fail to realize that Jesus is enough, more than enough to make us who we need to be in Him. Maybe not who we want to be according to the world. We would never reach that goal and if we did, we would probably be disappointed anyway.
But in case you are still having trouble picturing it, let Ephesians 1 lay it out for you.
In Him, through Him, and because of Him, we are chosen, redeemed, adopted, enlightened, sealed, united, holy and blameless. And we have been given hope, glory, praise, every spiritual blessing, and an inheritances that is better than anything we can imagine.
Is there anything else we could ask for?
He knows our potential, not potential because of what we are capable of, but potential because of what He is capable of and because what He has already done in our lives. I mean, He has already ensured our entrance into heaven, even though we will never be good enough, so imagine what He can do with us while we are still down here on earth.
It’s a scary thought, a truth we have always known but done our best to ignore and deny, worked hard to prove wrong – the fact that we are just not good enough. But as a child of God, it doesn’t have to be scary at all. As a matter of fact, it is a reason to celebrate. We don’t have to be good enough. We can quit trying. We don’t have to play that game anymore. Christ freed us from that competition. Actually He already crowned us champions – more than conquers – but we have to be willing to surrender. We have to be willing to first admit we are not good enough and then be willing to look to Him. Not just look to Him, but give it all to Him, all the trying, all the measuring, all the “I think I can do it if I have one more shot.” We can’t. What we do successfully can only be done through Him.
If you are like me, your life has been filled with some pretty unsatisfying moments, moments that were far less than you expected and desired, or maybe even some moments that were great but didn’t last. We can live in a painful cycle of those moments if we aren’t careful, or we can admit there is a better way. We can let Christ cleanse us in His blood, wash all of our I’m-not-good-enough-ness away and live through Him and in Him and before Him. When we realize that is His design and His plan then we can become far better than good enough, we can become who Christ designed us to be. We can find life and abiding in Him.
Sure we may not be good enough, but we are loved by Him, and His love is more than enough.