A number of years ago, I was asked to speak to our church congregation on the topic of being good enough.
Amazingly, it was a topic I had studied much over the past few years as I was writing my book, “I Am Enough”. The topic was based on a talk given by J. Devn Cornish titled, “Am I Good Enough? Will I Make it?“
You might be interested in reading my blog post titled, “I am Enough” which is an excerpt from the introduction of my book.
As I began to speak, I looked into the faces of the congregation and said:
“I imagine that there are some of you who came to church today with your ‘Sunday face’ plastered on. And maybe as you sank in to your bench, your thoughts went something like this, ‘I am here, and that is all I have to give today.'”
This phenomenon of putting on our “Sunday face” allows us to smile and be friendly. Yet inside we are sometimes sad, depressed, empty, or feeling as though we are failing miserably.
We smile because it is so much easier to offer a trite “I’m Good” when asked how we are doing than to allow people to see what is really in our hearts.
One Sunday morning I had a run-in with one of my daughters where she and I argued before church. It was that moment, and the build up of other moments, that left me feeling deflated, broken, and on the verge of tears.
As I sat on the bench in the chapel trying to maintain my “Sunday face”, I sat as close to the wall as possible. I couldn’t talk or look at anyone for fear that the dam of tears would burst.
The meeting came to an end and my husband, who had been at early-morning meetings, slid over beside me and asked what was wrong. Unable to hold back my tears any longer, I sobbed in his arms.
Like, ruin my makeup sobbed. I was not fine. My “Sunday face” was down.
Stephen Robinson, in his book, “Believing Christ“, shared a similar experience with his wife where she opened up to all the things that were in her heart. So many things that you and I understand about not feeling good enough. She said,
“‘All right. You want to know what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. I can’t do it anymore. I [just] can’t [do] it. I can’t get up at 5:30 in the morning and bake bread and sew clothes and help my kids with their homework and do my own homework and do my Relief Society stuff and get my genealogy done and write the congressman and go to the PTA meetings and write the missionaries . . .’
And she just started naming one brick after another that had been laid on her, explaining all the things she could not do. She said, ‘I don’t have the talent that Sister Morrell has. I can’t do what Sister Childs does. I try not to yell at the kids, but I lose control, and I do. I’m just not perfect, and I’m not ever going to be perfect. I’m not going to make it to the celestial kingdom, and I’ve finally admitted that to myself. You and the kids can go, but I can’t [do] it. …I’m not ever going to be perfect, so I’ve given up. Why break my back?’”Stephen Robinson, “Believing Christ”
Am I Good Enough?
Have you ever had similar thoughts to Sister Robinson? Have you ever wondered, “Am I good enough? ‘Cause I’m not feeling it today.” My prayer is that the Spirit whispers to your heart three things:
- You are exactly where you need to be
- You are amazing and more than enough, and
- God is aware and He absolutely KNOWS your heart
You and I live in a world full of people accomplishing great things and rocking some very visible talents.
And we compare ourselves to others using those visible talents and accomplishments as a measuring stick for OUR worth. Our self-talk quickly brings us to, “I’m not as good as…” or “I can’t do…”, which then leads to “I’m not…good enough.”
Our thoughts spiral downward. Sometimes we think we do not have many talents or we haven’t accomplished much or that other people have been blessed with more abilities than we will ever possess.
“And sometimes,” as Devn Cornish stated in his talk, “in our church culture, we become so disheartened by even the sincerest invitations to improve ourselves. We think silently, ‘I can’t do all these things’ or ‘I will never be as good as all these people.’” (J. Devn Cornish, “Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?”, Oct. 2016).
Theodore Roosevelt was spot on when he coined the phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Why Does God Think You Good Enough?
We all have worth. That worth is often manifested in our talents, gifts, strengths, and inner resources. Some of these talents and gifts are visible and wonderful and good and are used to bless the lives of others.
Some of our talents are not so visible but are equally wonderful and good and are still used to bless the lives of others. Some have the talent of:
Bearing other’s burdens
Turning to prayer
Having a happy heart
Pressing forward in faith
Having a listening ear
Each of us have talents, gifts, and abilities that shine, and often they shine in a completely different way from our sisters, brothers, neighbors, friends, mentors, parents, and acquaintances.
My three daughters, each unique and as different as can be, have always beautifully illustrated the concept of being good enough. In 2010, I journaled this about my two oldest:
Misha came in to this world as the younger sister. Amy could do this; Amy could do that. And always, Misha was in the ‘Amy shadow’.
Misha never felt that she was the ‘artistic’ one simply because she didn’t do art the way Amy did. And somehow, the way Amy was artistic was the only way to be.
As a mother to Misha, I have had to relearn a few things and understand new things and realize that there is more than one way to be artistic or tie one’s shoe or love someone or whatever.
Misha’s artistic abilities shine in a completely different way, and if you let her express herself, her creativity is out of this world. (July 16, 2010)
Dieter F. Uchtdorf once noted, “Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not ‘more’ of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will ‘make weak things become strong’ (Ether 12:27).
Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying… God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “It Works Wonderfully!“, Oct. 2015).
Would you agree that this discouragement is escalated by the Social Media Effect? Whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or any other medium, we vividly catalog our weaknesses or limitations while comparing our worst with someone else’s best.
We often feel we are not good enough.
Have you ever had thoughts similar to these? “They draw beautiful pictures and I can’t. I must be a loser.” or “They are a great cook. I burn everything. I will never be good enough.”
“We live in a world that feeds on comparisons, labeling, and criticism. Instead of seeing through the lens of social media, we need to look inward for the godly attributes to which we each lay claim.” (W. Craig Zwick, “Lord, Wilt Thou Cause That My Eyes May Be Opened”, Oct. 2017, ).
Life is all about celebrating our hidden talents and acknowledging our gifts, but, to be perfectly honest, there are just some talents that aren’t in our wheelhouse.
While I know that there are some skills that I just don’t have the knack for, I try not to beat myself up either for that lack. For instance, I am directionally challenged. When I lived in Utah, I always oriented myself with the mountains in the East.
Moving to Colorado—the other side of those mountains—I had to make a paradigm shift as the mountains were now in my West. I literally have to think, “North is ‘that way,'” which is pointing toward Canada, because I know that is where my parents live.
If I lived in a state without mountains, I’m not sure I would even know which way was North anymore!
Chris and I spent a couple of days in New Zealand in 2017. We wanted to get out of the city and tour the country side. That meant renting a car AND driving on the opposite side of the road. Fortunately, I wasn’t driving and the map feature on Chris’ phone was navigating.
I commented to Chris after we passed a detour, “Can you imagine navigating our way around with a paper map to get to where we needed to be?” He replied, “I can imagine me doing it. I can’t imagine you doing it!” (February 26, 2017).
Be confident in what you CAN do.
Try new things.
Celebrate new talents and gifts.
Find ways to improve to magnify you.
Our differences in this life as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors make each of us unique and our contributions worthwhile. I love this thought from Michelle Craig (“Divine Discontent”, Oct. 2018):
“The truth is that each of us is one generation away from Deity—each is a child of God. And just as He has done with both prophets and ordinary men and women through the ages, so Heavenly Father intends to transform us.”
And I mean, really wrap your arms around it and ‘own it’ for yourself. Sometimes we ‘get our knickers in a twist’ when we try to be all things to all people and feel as though we aren’t good enough.
We create parameters and impossible earthly deadlines for ourselves to “Be ye therefore perfect”—now, when we really should remember that God expects us to “be ye therefore perfect—eventually” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually“, Nov. 2017).
God Sees What We Are Not Always Able To See
If you are new to knowing the Kline family, here’s a fun fact About Us: My husband is 6’4″ and I am 5’2″.
While Chris’ height comes in handy for me when I need to find him in a crowd, sometimes his long legs far outpace mine. Last summer we were traveling and wanted to make a day trip to a small town called Orvieto.
I noted in my journal:
Getting to Orvieto was an hour train ride outside the city and another early start to our day. We had maybe five minutes to eat our breakfast and then run to the bus/tram stop. And then we waited.
You just never know if the buses and trams will be on time or not.
Since we were in a hurry, we decided to hop on a tram since our bus wasn’t appearing and as soon as we got on, our bus rumbled around the corner. We rode the tram for one stop.
Got off, hopped on the bus, took it to the subway station, and ran down the stairs to narrowly catch our subway train.
Once we reached the train station it was an all out run to the furthest possible loading dock in the station. Now I have endurance to run distances, but I am not a good sprinter.
And to keep up with my long-legged family was nearly impossible. Chris reached the train first and kept running past the train carriages.
As I watched in amazement and then mounting frustration, I just kept yelling in my head, “Stop running past all the train carriages and get on the train! Seriously. GET. ON. THE. TRAIN!” I was dying.
We made it with literally two minutes to spare. (June 19, 2018)
Now, what I did not realize was that Chris could see into each train car as he was running past them and could tell that all of the seats were full.
And since there was no international symbol for This Train Carriage is Full, I did not understand why he picked the furthest train carriage possible.
He kept running past the full train carriages until he reached a carriage with available seats. All I could see was that his legs were running and running and running.
Final Thoughts on Am I Good Enough?
God knows and sees what we cannot see. As Michelle Craig said, “Heavenly Father intends to transform us.” For those of us who struggle with feeling good enough—and we all do at times—and when it seems as though we are running and running and running, please know that:
- You are exactly where you need to be
- You are amazing and more than good enough, and
- God SEES all that you cannot see and He absolutely KNOWS YOUR heart
- I Am Enough—1 Powerful Affirmation
- A Mom Who Loves 3 Awesome Girls
- Bountiful Tender Mercies and 20 Seed Potatoes
Check out my Favorite Inspirational Things. You might enjoy this “I am Enough” Journal.