You see her sitting across from you in the coffee shop. You know, the professional woman who is typing away on her Mac. She is dressed head-to-toe in Ann Taylor and Michael Kors and her hair has looks like she just left the salon. You jealously gaze upon her, wishing that your life could be successful, too.
I sat with a group of beautiful women in the historic Hilltop House Restaurant in Fayetteville, NC. I was a visitor at the “Fayetteville Women’s Connection,” an outreach of Stonecroft Ministries. For the last nine months, I have been preparing to become a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. During this time, I have written and rewritten my testimony – my story of how I came to know Jesus – to share with Stonecroft groups in the future.
The time we had all been waiting for arrived. The speaker stepped up to the podium. I was excited to hear her speak and to learn more about what a Stonecroft meeting was like. I began the meeting sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to learn.
She began her talk by engaging the audience by asking them their favorite Disney movies. Pretty soon she had us saying, when cued, “Once upon a time…” She smiled and nodded as she drew us in with her story. She was a dynamic speaker who had her thirty minute presentation completely memorized.
Panty hose – check.
Cocktail dress – check.
Statement necklace – check.
Cute heels – check.
It was the time of year for holiday Christmas parties and we had been invited to one with my husband’s coworkers. I was all set to look festive and fun in my new dress but on the inside I was a complete wreck.
The month prior, when the invitation came, I panicked. The dress attire was “cocktail/holiday festive” and my “little black dress” in my closet was over 20 years old. In those 20 years, my body had changed thanks to children and gravity and fashion had certainly changed, so that little black dress would not do. For my birthday, a fashionable friend took me shopping for a new little black dress.
She helped me put together a killer outfit but sadly it did not give me an ounce of confidence. My brain was stuck in a profound memory that was ten years old, and took place in the Landfall Country Club bathroom. I’m in this bathroom and I’m looking at lean, fit, refined women in their sleeveless fashionable little black dresses. Then I look at myself and I was frumpy, dumpy, and woefully out of style.
The truth is, I struggle to fit in with the refined, cultured, country club set. I grew up roaming my grandmother’s cow pastures helping my dad feed his cows. I know more about how to call cattle (OY-EE!) than I do about how to dress for a cocktail party. I’m not fashionable or fit or refined, and it leaves me feeling like I’m not good enough.
And as I look at my clothing for this next corporate Christmas party, I still feel the same way. I won’t fit in. I can’t compete. Compared to these women, I’m not good enough. I don’t have any Spanx and my eyebrows aren’t waxed and my fingernails are never painted. But I can call a cow – does that count?
My feelings are not unique to just me. When you go to work, you may look around the table and think that you are not smart enough. When you are at the park, you may see some “super moms” and think that you are not as good at parenting as them. You may look at your sister and think that you will never be as successful as she is.
Will we ever feel like we are good enough?
And just who said we weren’t good enough?
The lie of “not good enough” started in the Garden of Eden. The serpent, that beguiling liar of old, hinted to Eve that without the knowledge of good and evil that God had, she was not complete. She was not good enough just like she was. And Eve bought into that lie and tried to make herself someone who she really was not meant to be.
Just like me with that fancy cocktail dress and statement necklace, trying to look like a country club girl when really, I’m just a plain country girl without a club.
In that country club bathroom ten years ago, a lie was whispered in my ear as I looked at those beautiful, fit, fashionista women. A lie that told me I was not good enough. And I believed it, hook, lie, and sinker. Just like Eve, I took a bite of the apple.
When you are sitting at the conference table and you think everyone else is smarter than you are, you are listening to a lie. When you are at the park and all the moms seem to outshine you, you are listening to a lie. When you are out with your family and the other women seem more successful than you, you are listening to a lie.
When you hear “not good enough” you can be sure that you are listening to that ancient lie that started in the garden.
What is the truth? When God made Adam and Eve, He said that they were good. They were complete, sufficient, good enough. They didn’t need anything more than what He had given them.
Everything that God makes, he calls “Good.” When He made you, He put the best of His amazingness in you. He made you creative and clever and wise. He made you fun and beautiful and valuable. Don’t believe anything otherwise.
Sister, you are good enough.
When you go to the gym,
Or head to your play date,
Or make a presentation,
Or take an exam,
Or meet with your child’s teacher,
Or attend a family gathering,
Or just head out with the girls,
“I am good enough.”
And when I head to the next Christmas party, I will do the same.
It’s that time of year when your mailbox is full of Christmas cards and Christmas letters. I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas letters. When we became parents I wrote them to keep friends and family updated on how Gregory and Hannah were growing and developing. I share the comings and goings of our family and I try to keep it light, cheery, and funny. I hope that my friends and family enjoy what I write to share with them.
Personally, I enjoy receiving Christmas letters and learning about the lives of my friends and family. But some Christmas letters, straight up, make me feel like a big fat failure.
This date night with my husband of twenty years didn’t turned out as I had planned. I had hoped that we would be enjoying hamburgers and fries and running errands like old married couples do. But as I took my shower at 5 PM I realized that I would not be going out at all. A migraine had ravaged my body earlier in the day and taking a shower completely exhausted me. I sadly shared with my husband that he would need to go out alone and run the errands because my body needed to rest. I felt like such a failure.
The Proverbs 31 woman is one who provides for the needs of her household and I couldn’t even go out to the grocery store or CVS. I want to be able to put healthy meals on the table and shop for my family and go out on a date with my husband. But in this season there are times when my body won’t allow me to do those things. So I feel like I have failed my husband and failed my family and failed in my responsibilities.
Do you ever feel like a failure too?
The sanctuary was filled with people who had turned out to remember a friend. A dear member of our church, Phil Walls, had gone to be with Jesus a month ago, and a large crowd came to celebrate his life. As the pastor turned over the microphone for friends to share memories about Phil’s life, the people responded en masse. The service moved past the one hour mark, and still people lined up to share their moving tributes of the impact he had on their lives. We learned how Phil was generous and fearless and how he was willing to go and serve. He would drop everything to go and meet a need and went out of his way to minister to people.
Two weeks ago I attended the IF:Wilmington women’s conference in my hometown of Wilmington, NC. There were around 800 women that attended with me. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ because we were young, old, and middle-aged (me!) as well as black, white, Hispanic and Asian. I was privileged to serve at the conference as a greeter so I was able to speak to many of the women who attended.