It began when I was a young girl. Call it circumstances. Call it words spoken or even words not spoken.
But a belief was formed.
In those very difficult and confusing childhood circumstances, in the things done to me and the things not done for me, in the ache of my heart to be cared for, valued, known and loved…..everything around me whispered, “You aren’t enough.”
It was a belief that grew deeper over the years, seemingly being reproduced time and again. This ugliness formed in me. It became my perceived reality. It was a lie that I made my reality. Notice I said, “my perceived reality” because that is what we do, don’t we? We take our lens and look through life. We look at how we feel about something. What we think about our circumstances, sometimes the things done to us and then vroom……we form a belief about it all. Usually that belief shapes how we think about ourself and others.
My belief said, “Stacy, you aren’t enough.” You aren’t pretty enough. You aren’t likable enough. You aren’t funny enough, friendly enough, good enough, strong enough, deserving enough. ” Fill in the blank. I’ve put many things in that blank space over the years.
It became a lens of comparison. And I always ended up on the less than side. The side where I felt invisible and easily discarded, undeserving of anyone’s love.
When a belief forms behavior follows.
My go to behavior became; ‘work harder.” Call it a coping mechanism. I just thought if I worked harder, did more, got good grades, put on a stronger face, was a good girl then I’b be enough. Then I’d be deserving of love. That was the crux of my issue. I wasn’t enough for people so I wasn’t deserving of their love. It is painful writing that.
But it didn’t quite work out that way. 1 plus 2 did not equal 3.
It didn’t stop me from trying because that is how badly I wanted to be loved and accepted. I became a people pleaser. So wanting to hear “well done.” Wanting to hear “good job.” Wanting to be invited in and be accepted. Wanting to be chosen and loved.
I remember years ago in a conversation about friendship, someone said this to me about them self, “I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be my friend.” When she said it I think my mouth dropped to the floor and my eyes squinted into a puzzled look. You see, my reality was, “Why would anyone want to be my friend?” I operated from such a self-deprecating place thinking I had very little to offer other people. It was no wonder I often am treated the way I am.
It is a miserable place to live, in this perceived reality. It creates insecurity and builds walls. It’s not pretty.
And yet, for 43 years, it has been a subtle piece of real estate in my heart. One that hid in the background often laying dormant as my close relationships speak differently to me now, but since the old belief was never dealt with it would often rear its ugly head sending me on a tailspin.
Through some events that happened these past six months, the whisper came back carrying the weight of a loud voice. “You aren’t enough.”
And then, the whisper carried into ministry as I heard the words of unloving criticism from the past year echo again and again. I felt almost paralyzed; afraid to write, afraid to teach Bible study, afraid of rejection, of not being “enough.” I even questioned the gifts God has given. I felt like the joy of God’s calling was slowly evaporating.
“Lord, why is this so hard? I’ve done what you asked me to do. I’ve tried my hardest. Done my best. And yet, I arrive at the same place.”
And this is where God met me. I had just started the book of Galatians for my daily quiet time; the time when I seek God’s truth in the Bible and then share my heart with Him in prayer. This time is our conversation with each other. He speaks to me and I to Him.
It is as if He said to me, “Stacy, enough is enough”
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
“Having begun in the Spirit are you now being made perfect in the flesh?” Galatians 3:3
“But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements to which you desire again to be in bondage?” Galatians 4:9
This is what the maker of the Universe does. He brings Truth to our lies if we let Him. He gently reveals the lie we’ve believed and replaces it with His Truth. Then we choose. Do we continue believing the lie or do we repent and walk in God’s Truth? The lie creates bondage and the truth sets us free.
I was in bondage and didn’t even realize it.
If I am seeking to please people then I am making them my master. I am giving them control over me and in my case, the ministry that God has called me to. That control is God’s. He is my Lord and my Savior. Why in the world am I looking to people to fill the place that is God’s? Why am I looking to people to validate or authenticate what God has called me to do? It truly is bondage. It is a stronghold.
In the stronghold, I’m the one being held and oh did this lie hold me tightly from God’s freedom. That perceived reality was a “me” focused reality. I thought I put people’s opinions about me first. No, I actually put me ahead of it all. I was letting people define my “enough.” It all was so twisted when the truth that I knew in my heart of hearts is this:
God is enough. That is the indisputable truth.
I won’t ever be enough. But God is and in Him, I find all that I seek.
I had been looking in the wrong places.
All these years, I’d been believing and acting on a lie. The lie was that I could earn love and be enough.
But in fact, love that is earned isn’t love at all. It’s a counterfeit. True love is freely given.
This is the truth of the matter. In Christ we find the only true love that fills permanently.
In Him, I was loved from the beginning of time. I am His creation.
In Him, I am called. I am chosen.
In Him, my joy if filled permanently.
In Him, my looks don’t matter. He looks at the heart.
In Him, love is secure. So secure that it nailed Him to a cross.
In Him, I am accepted. I am invited.
In Him, I am found worthy.
In Him, is my eternity.
And His “Well done” is all I seek.
He is enough.
“And you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free” John 8:32.
Is He your enough?
As the Lord was working this all out in my heart, I was also preparing my first Bible study lesson from John 2. God used that chapter to reinforce all He taught me in Galatians. Out of my mess, came His message. I pray you are encouraged in your own “not enoughs.” You can watch my teaching on John 2 here, if you desire.