Throughout my life, I have often felt like I am less than enough – not good enough, not strong enough, not pretty enough, not perfect enough. As a teenager, I spent hours looking at myself in the mirror and going over all the things I was lacking in the physical department.
When I went to college, the feeling of not being enough morphed into an unhealthy perfectionism about my work. I recognize that now as a bad case of imposter syndrome – where I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be there, but had to keep up a perfect facade so no one would realize it. I would torture myself staying up all night, rereading and rewriting my papers over and over again. At one point it got so bad that I actually missed a deadline and got put on academic probation.
Thankfully, for the past few years, God has been making me increasingly aware of the spiritual lie at the root of this feeling. I still clearly recall the morning a couple of years back when this lie that held power over my life for so long was shattered for good.
Ever get stuck inside your own head? Well, that’s where I was. I had finally made it through a tumultuous master’s degree program and into a teaching career only to be plagued with doubts that I didn’t belong and couldn’t handle everything that was expected of me, or even the standards I wanted to hold myself to.
It was a beautiful, golden morning, with the sun rising colorfully over the hills and valleys of Middle Tennessee where I live. I was on my way to work at my new job as a high school English teacher. But as I turned onto the highway that began the second leg of my journey, all the old familiar doubts crowded in. Then I heard a different voice in my spirit: You are enough because I AM enough.
I knew immediately this was Jesus speaking to my heart. As I tuned in, He reminded me of what got me through academic probation after my almost fatal slip-up. Knowing that I could no longer repeatedly rewrite and redo assignments until the last minute, I prayed each morning for focus, that He would point out anything important I was missing and that the assignment would be good enough without me having to obsess over it. He reminded me that as long as I had been praying for him to take charge of every aspect of my memory and performance, He had never failed me. It was when I was trying to use my own strength that I failed.
That day, Jesus drove home a truth I have never since forgotten: I never need to worry that I am not enough, because HE is what makes me enough! Psalm 147:5 states, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.” I have the ultimate resource on my side – the One who knows everything, including what I need help with each day, and can point out what I need to pay special attention to so that I don’t have to worry about anything slipping (which by default increases my anxiety and takes up extra space in my brain).
Since then, I haven’t looked back, and when those doubts about my sufficiency try to creep in, I throw them right out with the phrase Jesus taught me: I am enough because He is enough. We can’t trust our feelings. They lie. What we can trust is God’s words about who HE is, and who we are when we commit our lives to Him!