Stop Believing You’re Not Good Enough

I didn’t make the show choir in seventh grade. I wanted so badly to wear the character shoes, shiny black skirts, and blue sequined vests. If you weren’t in show choir you got to wear a horrendous green plaid, itchy skirt with a white long-sleeve button-down blouse. It was the furthest thing from cute. But during my audition, I knew I wasn’t going to make the show choir. Have you ever had a moment like that? You know you’re failing as you’re doing something, but you can’t walk away? I was so off-key during my audition that I distracted myself and forgot the dance moves. It was embarrassing. It was disappointing. And it wasn’t the first time I didn’t make a team (even if it was the show choir team). Thankfully, I survived middle school, itchy choir concerts, and made it into adulthood thriving. The only real reason that audition stands out to me so clearly was that it was the day I surrendered my dreams of Broadway. I’d heard it was hard to make it to Broadway if you can’t carry a tune.

My vivid recollection of that moment may cause you to look at me questioningly when I tell you, I haven’t thought about that audition in such a long time—but it’s true. I only thought about it after a discussion in Bible study with a group of freshman girls.

The lesson was on the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4, when Satan attempts to deceive Jesus into doubting his identity as the Son of God. In our small group, we passed around index cards and asked the girls to honestly (and anonymously) write down the lie Satan uses most often to attack their identity. The common thread linking them all—including adult leaders? “You’re not good enough.”

These girls are high school athletes, cheerleaders, honor roll students, girls cast in The Nutcracker and school plays. These girls are friendly, smart, and fun to be around. I don’t think anyone has actually ever spoken the words, “you’re not good enough” directly to them. No one has spoken those words to me, yet I wrote “not talented enough to be used by God” on my index card. Satan is not creative. I believe that is the front-runner of all lies. “You’re not good enough”— that’s his go-to. And while it’s lazy, it’s effective. We start to hear it when we’re kids, wonder if it’s true when we’re teenagers, and continue to fight it when we’re adults. 

It was that Sunday morning when the show choir memory popped up. Because my 7th grade audition is not what I think of when I hear the enemy whisper, trying to coax me into fear and insecurity. The enemy’s words are not usually centered around our failure to make a team, or getting passed over for the promotion, the job, or the call-back. It’s a deep seeded, inner voice convincing us that someone out there knows, despite all of our masks, that we’re not good enough.

But it is a lie.

The enemy knows that if you are a child of God, he cannot touch you. He has no authority to disqualify you from doing the very thing God created you to do. So because he can’t touch you, he attempts to deceive you into doubting your identity as a child of God. When you doubt who you are in Christ, when you doubt God’s calling on your life, you often take yourself out of the game. You assume God can’t use you, or worse, doesn’t want to. So you quit before you even get started. 

What chapter in the Bible captures the story of a man who tells God he’d like to confront a world leader and free God’s people from slavery, and God says, “Sorry, you’re not good enough”? Or a woman who asks Jesus if it’s okay if she goes into her village to tell everyone that He is the Messiah, and Jesus says, “Sorry, you’re not good enough.” You won’t find that chapter because it doesn’t exist. Instead, you find the opposite. You find people telling God, “I’m not good enough,” and God saying, “But I am. And I’m choosing you to do this with Me.” You find Jesus befriending, loving, healing, and sharing meals with—especially with—those who believed they were not good enough.

The enemy whispers a lie and without even realizing it, we determine that we’ll never measure up to the lofty picture we’ve painted for ourselves—some worldly standard of success or task that’s too big for us to accomplish. It’s as if we’re a child standing up as straight as possible, only to determine we’re not tall enough to ride the rollercoaster. So we walk away dejected, never hearing the Father calling us, inviting us to join Him on the ride.

But if we look to the One whose opinion matters most, we find strength in our weaknesses, grace in our failures, love despite our unlovable tendencies. We have a new name, a new mission, a new standard of success. We are given affirmation and acceptance. Because of Jesus. Jesus loves you with an unexplainable love that crushes every feeling of inadequacy and replaces it with the fullness of his power.

So, the next time you hear the lie that you’re not good enough, dismiss it and claim the Truth.

The Truth is:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

I am free from condemnation  (Romans 8:1)

I am a child of God (John 1:12)

I am significant (Philippians 3:20)

I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:6)

I am a member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)

I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)

I can never be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39)

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)

I can do all things through Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13)

I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)

I am capable because God is with me (Joshua 1:9)

I have been chosen (John 15:16)

Following Jesus’ example in Matthew 4, we have to combat every lie, every deception the enemy shouts, with Scripture. We have a God that loves us deeply and longs to speak life-giving Truth into our hearts and minds. So instead of comparing ourselves to arbitrary measures of success only to retreat into self-condemnation, let’s rest in who God says we are.

Live today like His opinion of you is the most important one. He proudly says that in Jesus, you are enough. And through Jesus, you can do anything He asks you to do.

 

No Good Thing

“No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11

It was a Monday night when I read these words, several weeks after I learned that Drew and I were pregnant with our first child.

In just a few short weeks we had already loved, prayed for, and dreamed about meeting the little one growing inside of me. I wrote in my Bible next to this verse “what a great promise!” As I thought about what it would be like to feel this baby move inside of me, what it would be like to hold him or her for the first time, what it would be like the first time this precious gift smiled at me, I claimed Psalm 84:11 excitedly. God was surely not withholding anything good from me! Thank you, God for your blessing, for graciously giving me a child for whom I had prayed!

That Wednesday, Drew and I had our first appointment with the doctor. We were eight weeks along and anticipated hearing our little one’s heartbeat. I was lying down, waiting anxiously for the doctor to turn the screen around and show us the ultrasound. Her face remained emotionless as she peered at the screen. I was suddenly aware of how quiet the room was. Shouldn’t we be hearing a beating heart? “I’m sorry,” the doctor began to say. Disappointment washed over me. In the silence of the room, “no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” filled my mind. Did I still believe that? How could I believe that?

Two days later, on Friday, my body physically experienced the miscarriage. While I was doubled over, my abdomen cramping in a way I have never felt before, pain searing through my body, blood pouring out of me, “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” replayed in my thoughts almost rhythmically. Like a song I couldn’t get out of my head. Could I claim this verse now? Now that I lost a child? A child I prayed for and longed for? A child that I dreamed of meeting, holding, teaching, loving? This did not seem like a good thing. This felt like a mean trick. This felt more like God snatching a good gift from me. The gift that He had just given me. Why would He give it if He was only going to take it away? My mind reeled with thoughts of accusation, disappointment, confusion. No good thing do you withhold, God? Then what is going on? Through the tears and the pain, I tried to trust that this verse was still mine to claim.

 

Even in the midst of loss do you still believe that God is not withholding anything good from you? Do you still believe that He is faithful? Do you still believe that He is good and loving and trustworthy?

Can I say yes to those questions? Can I say yes even in the hard times? Even on the hard days?

 

I have had many tearful conversations with God since the miscarriage. I have poured over God’s Word, the only place I seem to find true peace and hope. The more I read, the more I pray, the more I see that God is good. He is faithful. He loves me and grieves with me. His purposes – although not always clear to me – are good. If you and I can trust Him in the good moments of our life, then we can trust Him in the hard moments also. Because He is unchanging. He never viciously causes harm and heartache for His children. Like Job, we learn to pray, “God gives and takes away but blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Does this feel impossible sometimes? Yes.

I know you have suffered loss, too. We cannot leave this world without experiencing loss of some kind. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream, the loss of a job, the loss of an unborn child. It’s all painful and confusing and unimaginably difficult. But I am walking a road where God is using that loss to draw me closer to Him. This road, while not one I would have chosen for myself, is teaching me about His love, about his faithfulness, about what it looks to trust Him to heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds (Psalm 147:3).

 

What road of loss have you walked? What parts of God’s character are evident to you because of that journey?

 

In the midst of it all – the blessings, the answered prayers, the days filled with joy as well as the pain, the disappointments, and the days filled with tears – are you able to believe that God is good? In the midst of it all may we repeatedly believe, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”