Have you ever done something, or conversely, forgotten to do something that you then feel bad about? Or more specifically that makes you feel bad about yourself. I’m not talking about evil things, necessarily, just honest mistakes or blunders. You get that aching, hole-in-your-gut feeling. You over analyze every word and look from those around you, wondering if they still think you are good enough, all the while beating yourself up on the inside because you yourself aren’t certain anymore that you are good enough.
We all have, and there are a different ways we deal with that feeling. Some use it as motivation to do better and try harder, and some find a scapegoat to blame. Some may overcompensate and they come across as super confident, while others may pull back just hoping to not be noticed. Some simply quit. We all try to find some means of handling it so we never have to feel that way again. While some approaches work better and are healthier than others, none of them are an absolute fix.
Christians, quite frankly, too often haven’t been very helpful. “Jesus loves you. Just come to Jesus and he will make you feel better.” No doubt, Jesus does love you, and in coming to him you may feel better about yourself, but if you really look at it, this approach implies that the God of the universe exists primarily to make me happy. I’m going to say something here that, for some of you, may rock your world: God never promised that in this life you would be happy. He promised peace. He promised joy. He promised strength for the day, but he never promised happiness.
So what do I do when I feel like I’m not good enough? Jesus gave the answer in Matthew 6:33. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Now be careful here, this isn’t a formula that will fix your life and make you happy, but when you remove your happiness as the central motivation of your life and replace it with knowing Jesus these other things kind of fade. What actually happens is that you begin to find your confidence and your sufficiency in your identification with Jesus rather than in your own strengths and abilities. This is, in part, what Paul, who was very confident and able, was talking about in 2 Corinthians 3:5. “We are not competent in ourselves . . . our competency comes from God.”
Your problems may or may not be solved, you may or may not be happy, but you will know that you are good enough, because Jesus has made you to be. You will still make mistakes, but when you are pursuing something greater than yourself, namely Christ, your mistakes, and for that matter your successes, are overshadowed simply by the fact that he is more important.