Want to know what the “you’re not enough” lie feels like? In an act of momentary insanity, I took to Instagram and shared about the book proposal I’m currently writing and tagged several writers I admire. Instantaneously, a wave of insecurity hit me and I wanted to delete the post. Who am I to write a book proposal and why in the world would you tell the writers who have influenced your work?!
The “you’re not enough” lie isn’t easy to shake.
Still feeling squirmy, the post is still there because it’s not about me. Even when my faith in the task ahead is wobbly, it’s always about what God is doing through me.
What’s behind the “you’re not enough” lie?
Fear, doubt, and unrealistic expectations.
It’s the trifecta of emotional warfare. When these three threats take aim at your passions, it full-on emotional battle.
Fear has a huge effect on the decisions you make every day. Fear of failure and rejection overwhelms what your mind knows in truth. How many times do you stop before you take the first step because you’re afraid to fail? How many times does someone else’s potential opinion stop you in your tracks? What if you do something great and no one else likes it? When failure and rejection seem like the only possible outcomes, not starting at all feels like protection.
Even when you know God is asking you to step forward, it’s still hard. Believing the “you’re not enough” lie is easier than seeing how God can use you, with all your quirks and baggage, for something great. Ask me a couple months ago and I would have said that doubting God wasn’t a problem for me. He’s not my problem for sure. I don’t get angry with him or rant about his injustice in my circumstances. So, doubting God isn’t a problem for me. Instead, I doubt God in subtle ways. When I doubt myself and my abilities to do his work—I’m really doubting God’s ability to use me. I assumed my feisty personality, not so sparkly history, and propensity to swear when stressed are automatic disqualifications, so obviously I got someone else’s assignment.
Fear and doubt, along with a good dose of perfectionism bring us back to that Instagram post. Most of those writers I admire are also members of Hope*Writers. They’re my go-to people for all things writing—best-selling authors, book marketers, tech gurus, and cheerleaders for all things writing. But even writer-friends are intimidating when fear and doubt take over.
Overcoming the “you’re not enough” lie
For more than a year, I’ve quietly hidden the smallest beginnings of this book, never sharing my idea. I believed my idea wasn’t good enough, my platform was too small, and no one would be interested. Compared to my writer-friends, my work was mediocre at best. (Yes, this is the nonsense that plays in my head.) But then I shared that post and do you know what happened? They cheered me on, sent messages, started asking questions, and were awesomely encouraging. Of course, this is what I needed and I never would have gotten it without that post.
Now that the news is out, this little (huge) dream feels real, awesome, and still intensely scary. I still worry every day whether a publisher will like the book and whether readers will want what I write. But, the support from friends confirmed what God was already doing.
My writing coach (the brave friend leading me through the book proposal process) suggested I practice solitude for 3 straight hours to get close to God and clear about my book. Just the idea sounded horrible to me (you know, always with the list of things I should be doing), but someone who follows rules and checks boxes, I retreated to my bedroom one afternoon last week with my bible, pens, her outline, and a notebook. The kids were told to pretend I wasn’t home, unless someone was dying, and to screen my calls. (They did such a good job with my phone they even screened out their father because it wasn’t an emergency.)
Considering questions about calling and gifts, my mind was drawn to scriptures, as if my memory was opening places my hurried mind had forgotten. As I refreshed my understanding of spiritual gifts in 1 Peter I found the reassurance and confirmation I needed.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you…Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5: 6-11
Start believing truth
On our own, we are not enough, but with God, we are abundantly gifted. Fear and doubt are not from God. The “you’re not enough” lie is just that—a lie. If you truly want to over the “you’re not enough” lie, you must start believing the truth God has already revealed to you.
You are a beloved daughter of God.
Christ redeemed you and gave you freedom from the past you’re holding onto.
Every part of your story, even the ones you want to forget, can be used by God to reach others.
You are defined by your love for God and faith in Christ, no bad day or mistake can convince him to give up on you.
There are people in this world who need you.
You were never meant to carry the load alone. God’s always with you.
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