Are You Not Good Enough?

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

I can do all this through him who gives me strength ~ Philippians 4:13 NIV

It was my first large speaking engagement back in the ‘90s. Why I said yes was beyond me. I had never stood up in front of more than a handful of women at my Bible study or our church’s women’s retreat. Even then, I didn’t have to use a microphone. And now, five hundred expectant women were going to be staring me in the face. To top it all off, the theme was Unshakable Confidence in Christ. Laughable.

Two weeks before the event, I attended a luncheon where my mentor, Mary Marshall Young, was going to be sharing a short devotion. It was in a very prestigious part of town that I did not frequent. One of those gatherings where the women’s purses and shoes matched . . . I mean made out of the same material. I was so uncomfortable as I slid onto my toile-covered chair and placed my Walmart purse under the table. And where was Mary Marshall anyway? I wondered. Oh, my word, she waved at me from another table across the room and left me to swim in the mermaid-infested waters alone.

The other ladies at the table all knew each other and began bantering back and forth. One just about swooned as she said, “What did you think about the speaker at our church’s last women’s event? Wasn’t he wonderful?”

“Oh, yes,” her friend replied. “He was so powerfully anointed! One of the best speakers I have ever heard. What a testimony!”

“I cried all the way through his story,” another chimed in. “Oh, how God worked mightily in his family.”

“And then Pastor invited him to speak on Sunday morning! I don’t think we’ll ever have a speaker as good as that one again.”
They went on-and-on describing this amazing man of God with words like anointed, formidable, dynamic, electric, and articulate.

“Where do you ladies attend church?” I asked, trying to contribute to the conversation.

When they answered, my little tea sandwich lodged in my throat and my heart flip-flopped in my chest. This was the same church where I was booked to speak in two weeks! To these same women!

I never mentioned to the ladies that I was going to be the speaker for their next women’s night out, because at that moment, I wasn’t so sure I would be. I have no idea what Mary Marshal said in her devotion. All I wanted to do was grab my Walmart purse and escape the scene.

Lickety-split, I power-walked to my car as fast as I could without looking like I was running. With my face set like flint, I drove over to that church. All the while, Satan was whispering in my ear. “Who do you think you are, going to speak at that church? Did you hear the caliber of people they bring in? That man came all the way from across the country. You are just coming from across town. What could you possibly have to say to these women that would make any difference. If I were you, I’d bow out now before you embarrass yourself.”

And you know what? Even though I knew it was the devil, I believed him. After all, what he was saying made a lot more sense than the “My New Identity in Christ” list posted on my refrigerator door.

“Excuse me,” I asked the church receptionist. “I’d like to purchase a tape of the speaker you had for your last women’s event.”

“Oh sure, honey. He was really great.”

“Yes, I heard.”

“Here you go,” she said. “That will be five dollars.”

I went out to the car, popped the tape in the console, pressed play, and braced myself for an hour of power.

I heard nothing.

Pressed fast forward. Pressed play. There was nothing.

Flipped the tape over. Pressed play. There was nothing.

Pressed fast forward on side two. Pressed play. There was nothing.

The tape was blank.

Then God began speaking to my heart.

Sharon, you do not need to hear what my servant said to these people two weeks ago. The tape is blank because I do not want you to compare yourself to anyone else. It doesn’t matter what he said. I gave him a message. I will give you a message. I can speak through a prophet, I can speak through a fisherman, and I can speak through a donkey.

Who are you “performing” for, my child, them or Me? Do not compare yourself to anyone. You are my child and I am asking you to speak to an audience of One.

I didn’t bother getting my money back for the defective tape. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

So next time Satan taunted me with the words, “Who do you think you are?” here was my reply:

I am the bride of Christ.

I am a co-heir with Christ.

I am a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God.

I am more than a conqueror through Christ.

I am a temple of God. His Spirit lives in me.

I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies.

I have the power of the Holy Spirit in me and working through me to do all things God has called me to do.

And who are you?

Today, if the devil dares to tell you that you are not enough, simply remind him of who you are and who he is…a defeated toothless lion that all growl.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel You’re Not Enough


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message……

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

When I was six years old, I skipped off to school with a new box of crayons, a Swiss-polka-dotted dress, and fresh hope that I would be smart. But first grade only confirmed my greatest fear. I was “not enough.”

As soon as my first-grade teacher held up that initial spelling flashcard, I knew I was in trouble. We lined up our miniature wooden chairs in a row like a choo-choo train. The teacher held up a spelling flashcard for us to identify the word. If we missed the word, we had to go to the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I just couldn’t spell to save my life. For some reason, I especially had trouble with the word the.

I’ll help her, my teacher must have thought. She made me a nametag that read

t-h-e, and I had to wear it for two weeks. Students came up to me and asked, “Why are you wearing that tag?” “Is your name ‘The’?” “You must be stupid.” “What’s wrong with you?”

Well, I learned how to spell the word the, but that’s not all I learned. I learned I wasn’t as smart as everybody else, and once again, not enough. And even though I ended up doing well in school, many times I’ve still felt like that little girl in the caboose of the spelling train.

Moses was a man who felt he wasn’t good enough. When God spoke to him through a burning bush and called him to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage, he had a big case of the “not good enoughs.”

That’s when he had a one-sided argument with God. Moses told God he was the wrong man for the job. He wasn’t brave enough, strong enough, smart enough, eloquent enough, charismatic enough, or confident enough.

At one point, Moses said, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-15).

Moses was 80 years old when he had his argument with God at the burning bush. But even the weakest knees in the hands of I AM can become a mighty force to be reckoned with.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that you too, at one time or another, will struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy just like Moses did. And the underlying statement feeding the sense of worthlessness is “I’m not __________ enough.” You can fill that blank in with any number of qualities.

But here’s what we need to remember: Whatever we feel we are not, God is. He is the God who fills in our gaps; He is I AM who fills in our blanks.

When we say, “I’m not strong enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not wise enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not bold enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not smart enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not good enough,” God says, “I AM.”

Once we let go of the lies that we are not enough and take hold of the truth that we are more than enough because of Jesus’s presence and power in us, then we will be set free from paralyzing insecurity and be on our way to experiencing courageous confidence to do everything He calls us to do. It’s time get out of the caboose and sit up front with the Chief Engineer.

You want to know something amazing? One of my greatest weakness as a child was spelling words. And now that is what God has called me to do today…write with words. I stand with Paul who lamented about his weakness: “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

That’s what happens when we allow God to fill in our blanks. He turns what we perceive as our greatest weakness into our greatest strengths.

What is God calling you to do today? In what areas do you feel that you’re not enough? Oh friend, because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, and His power in you, you are more than enough! Don’t forget it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

NOTE:  Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Spread Too Thin


Thank you Logan Wolfram  for today’s message.  

“I know I don’t look it…but I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”  Bilbo’s words from Lord of the Rings rattle in my head. You’ve probably felt the same way at some point too, right?

Even the basic demands of life can leave us feeling over extended and stretched out. You spread thin across jobs, spouses, children, church, extracurriculars, and whatever else wants to suck time and energy away from you. Sometimes what’s left of us is so thin it feels as if we have become nearly translucent. Eventually, to avoid anything that requires more, we began to avoid anyone who wants more too.  All the spreading thin will eventually scrape away even the good parts life. When you have nothing left to give, if you give at all, people just get whatever is left over.

But here’s the thing, you may look ok. The pieces that are visible from the outside appear put together. But instead of running your life, it seems more accurate that life is running you.

I know you get this. You’re living and loving and doing your thing and somehow find yourself in a place where you hardly even know what’s happening anymore. Life isn’t happening with you, it’s happening to you.  One day you’re doing the planning, and then something weird happens and all the planning is now the ruling factor of your life.  Jobs, kids, spouses, sports, carpools, church, friends…it is all too much and you become mechanical in your execution of tasks or you shut down completely.

I get it friend. I burned the candle at both ends for a long time.  Somewhere in there though the candle broke in half and I found myself burning both sides of the candle at both ends and whatever was left in the middle got burned up.  Which really means that I burned out.

And what probably burned me out more than anything else was when I inadvertently started burning bridges that I didn’t even mean to set fire to at all. I hurt friends because I didn’t make time for them. I felt alone because I was so overwhelmed that I disconnected myself from the people and activities around me that I loved. I stopped doing things that I enjoyed like art, or creative projects, even cooking dinners that tasted good.  But dinner wasn’t the only thing that had lost it’s seasoning, my entire life had begun to feel that way too.

When it comes to making extra space for neighbors or friends or even just one more person, sometimes it feels like you just can’t.

2 Corinthians 12:5 reminds us that we need not boast about ourselves, except about our weaknesses.  Because it is in our weakness, that the Lord makes us strong. In a very area of his life where Paul struggled and asked the Lord to remove the struggle, Jesus said to him “ “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He goes on to declare that he would “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.1

I know what it is to be worn out, spread too thin, stretched beyond my limits, and I know that’s not the way you want to begin a new year either.

Scripture is full of people who felt not enough and spread thin across too much. But as we begin to search the Word of God to find more in our thin places, it seems most often the greatest thing God asks is that we trust Him even (and especially) when we come up short.

He asks us to offer what little we have to him so that He can make much of our offering. And in doing so, He makes much of His goodness to us. In the places where we have little, he promises to make more. In the areas we feel weak, when we lean into Him instead of ourselves, he promises to make us strong. He takes the moment we come with little left to give and blesses us with a Kingdom kind of leftovers that aren’t so much all that remains, as they show God’s abundance, excess, sufficiency, and strength.

Maybe spread too thin is the very place that God wants to show us exactly how much abundance there is for us? That instead of trying to spread ourselves over the world around us, we can uncover what can be when we spread our lives across the abundance that is the Bread of Heaven himself.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!