“I’m not good enough.” I know you feel like that sometimes. I know that because everybody feels that way at least sometimes. It seems to be a default of the human condition, especially in a culture where we are so profoundly influenced by external factors. We can easily, readily see what other people are doing and achieving. And our society is subconsciously driven by the fear of not achieving, so it takes a conscious effort to actually accept and believe that you are good enough. Because you actually are.
Let’s rewind for a minute. When was the last time you thought, I’m not good enough? Maybe someone actually told you that: You didn’t get the job. You didn’t make the team. She broke up with you.
You literally were not enough. For them. You were not the right match for them. That does not mean you are not enough, it means you were not the match for what they needed. Can you see the difference?
Who determines your value?
Who are you giving the power to determine your worth? If you believe you are not good enough, you have allowed an external circumstance to define you. You don’t have to live like that.
Not feeling good enough will manifest differently in different people’s lives. If you’re like me, when you don’t feel good enough, you hustle harder. It looks like proving you’re worthy through achievement, through being the best, through grasping for external goals as defined by our culture.
Alternately, some people deal with not feeling good enough by running in the opposite direction. They try to prove their worthlessness through self-destruction. Self-harm. Hurting others. Is that you? It looks different in everyone’s life, but if we rewind the whys of destructive behavior, we can usually find it…the belief that I’m not enough. If you’re hurting yourself or someone else, please tell someone. Click one of the links above. Or tell someone in your life who you trust.
Here’s how God sees you
In the Bible, there is a story Jesus tells (read it here) to illustrate how he values every human being. In this story, a man goes out early in the morning to hire help to work in his vineyard. The workers agree to the wage of one dollar a day. Later in the day, he hires more workers and agrees to pay them the same—one dollar for the day, even though they are starting at noon. Still later in the evening, same thing. He agrees to pay the workers one dollar, even though they only have an hour left to work in the day.
The guys who agree to work at dawn are ticked. They made the same amount of money as the guys who came in right before sundown? The estate manager replies, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you…are you going to get stingy because I am generous?”
Jesus’ story feels unfair and upside down to us because we are used to putting a price on nearly everybody.
This story shows a different way of determining our value based upon the fact that we simply are. We get treated generously by God regardless of what we do or who we are. That’s just true, good news.
I have to quote Eugene Peterson here because his comments on this passage really revealed so much to me that I’d never seen before:
“[Jesus’ parable] is the simple, direct declaration that God calls you, which means you are significant, and that God gives you generous gifts, which means you are highly esteemed.
The workers in the parable found that no matter what time in their lives they got in on the work, they were still needed.They also found that no matter how many or how few hours they had put in, they were treated with dignity and grace.
The moment they decided to listen to what God said to them and pay attention to how God valued them—not to what others said about them or how they felt about themselves—they were on the way to getting their act together.
The moment you decide that, you will, too.”
You are Highly Valuable
Please let that sink in. No matter who says what about you, God sees you as highly valuable. He loves you, he is on your side and he’s actually coming after you. Jesus told this story to help you see it. To help you see that the truth is, your value is not determined by how much money you make, how well you play a sport, who says you are beautiful, who admires you. Your value was determined a long time ago and it cannot be changed by external factors.
Have you ever been in love? If so, you placed the highest value on the object of your affection. That person was more highly valued than anyone else in your life—They were your beloved. Do you know that is exactly how God describes you? He calls you his beloved. He sees you has HIGHLY VALUABLE. Not because of what you do or do not do. But because you are his child. His beloved child. The object of his affection.
Today is the day that you see yourself the way God really sees you, created you, and is begging for you to see yourself. Whether you came at the beginning of the day (those are the people YOU think are good enough) or you were hired at 5PM (those are the people YOU think are less valuable), you are considered of HIGHEST VALUE. PAID THE SAME WHETHER YOU WORKED ALL DAY OR ONLY AN HOUR. That is the best news, and you’re gonna have to believe it.
A lot of people recommend self-love as a remedy for not feeling good enough. But to me, the most unattractive human quality is someone who is “into themselves.” If you’re working on loving yourself, chances are you will attract other selfish people to you. That’s not what I’m getting at or what I want for you.
Confidence is attractive, but genuine confidence is believing that I am no more or less valuable than anyone else. Have you ever considered this? That is right-sized confidence as far as I’m concerned. That’s the message of the parable. We are all valuable to God, no matter what our circumstances look like. Whether we are a successful pastor or a man on the street corner. Both are valuable to God and are the object of his affection.
If I could give you an assignment today, it would be this: work on living a loving life, instead of working on self-love. What does that mean?
Real love gives and expects nothing in return. It is self-giving, not considering the worth of its object. Living a loving life is a decision. The more you love others unselfishly, the more your life will be filled with love.
How would your life be different tomorrow if you dropped the belief that you’re not good enough and truly believed that God esteems you and is on your side? How would you feel?
Valuable? Confident? Beloved? Those are true about you. Your value has already been established and it’s the highest value you can imagine. Highly esteemed. That’s you. Whether you’re at the front of the line or the end. That’s you.
written by Kerry D’Ortenzio