Fear, imposter’s syndrome, inadequacy, performance anxiety, or identity issues. Whatever you want to call it, it’s that aching fear in my heart that I am just not enough. This heart ache colors so much of my life: my relationships, work, sense of well-being, ministry, willingness to try new things, and my body image.
Any good Christian girl could tell you that our identity is found in Christ. But what about those bone crushing in between times while the Holy Spirit grows my limited understanding of who God is and who I am?
Or how about when I feel crippled by social anxieties or not feeling good enough at my work? I want to help people — my job is to help people because I’m a counselor.
Or what about feeling like a failure or coward in life and ministry? And perhaps (one of the most shameful of all) are the times that only overindulging in food or restricting food seems to be a safe place to hide.
Sometimes my relationship with food seems like my only friendship. When the shame of weight gain looms heavy. When what I do and how well I do it defines me, and I never seem to measure up.
Do you ever feel it too?
You’re not alone.
Three Practical Ways to Work Out Your Faith
Though the paralyzing fear of not being enough is powerful, I am placing my hope in Christ. As I grow in fully understanding God’s love for me and who he is, I choose to walk by faith. Some practical ways of working out my faith while I wait for my heart to fully understand my wholeness in Christ are through love, gratitude, and meditation.
I experience glimpses of freedom from inadequacy through love! Love frees me to soften my heart, to focus on the needs of others, and to – even for just a moment – hear their heart and perhaps meet their needs. Something I may not otherwise have the courage to do becomes attainable when I know that someone needs help and I am capable of offering it. That’s freedom! That helps me in my obedience to God. Like I Peter 4:8 (NIV) says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Gratitude also allows me to shift my heart from what I lack to the fullness of the life that God has given me (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). With gratitude I’m free to focus on thankfulness to God for his good and gracious gifts: my purpose, my relationships, and my talents. Gratitude often releases me from the self-absorption caused by fear and allows me to love God and love others more wholly.
The meditations of my heart and my thought life are also huge for me in this battle. Logically I understand the truths of the Bible but I am waiting on the Holy Spirit to fully reveal these truths to my heart. When I fix my eyes on the things of eternity I can see beyond the moment, beyond myself, and sometimes even see beauty in the darkest places. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) encourages us to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — anything excellent or praiseworthy.” What an encouragement to dwell on the lovely, eternal things above.
Am I Enough?
As I meet with God to try to fully understand what it means to place my identity in Christ, I’m working out my faith through tears, through prayer, through relationships, through love, through gratitude, and through the meditations of my heart. I ask him so often, “God, do you love me? Am I enough?”
Some days I retreat and concede that I am not enough. But in God’s patience and grace he calls me back, he loves me, and he doesn’t give up on me. He tells me that I’m lovely. That he delights in me and cherishes me. My hope is in him and he will have his bride (Revelation 21:2). My freedom is found in Christ alone!
I pray, Lord, that your steadfast love saves me. Come and make me whole, come quickly, and come set everything right. I pray that you will free me from any self-absorption that perpetuates my fears. Thank you that you will not stop your work in my heart until it is complete because you are my relentless redeemer (Philippians 2:6). May the words of Isaiah 33:6 be true of me: that my faithfulness to your call is my wealth, that wisdom and devotion are my triumph, and that reverence for you is my greatest treasure. May you be my greatest treasure, Lord. Amen.