I Just Don’t Quite Measure Up

While driving to work last week, I was listening to a leadership podcast. I love listening to podcasts in hopes of making myself a better pastor and leader, but that day was different than most of the other days. That day it felt like the more I listened to the podcast, the more insufficient I felt. I began to say things to myself like, “I’ll never be as good a leader as all of these people on this podcast. I’ll never be as successful as they are.” With those few lines I started the pity party and the comparison trap. It took me a few hours and some prayer to really shake this feeling of unworthiness.

It’s not only me that feels unworthy because of the comparison trap. You probably do it as well. You don’t feel like you are as good a parent as you should be. You don’t take as good of vacations as all your friends on social media. You aren’t as good of an employee as your coworker. Then here is the big one. You don’t feel like you are nearly as good of Christian as the next guy.

All of these thoughts and emotions can become overpowering and overwhelming to the point that we refuse to move forward because “what’s the point in trying anyways. I’ll never be good enough.” Our comparison of ourselves to other peoples perfectly manicured images they put on social media will constantly leave us dejected and defeated. We can’t measure up to those standards, and we never will. If you have ever felt unworthy and unfit, then I have three great concepts that will help you walk through this struggle.

  1. You aren’t good enough!

When John the Baptist is describing Jesus in John 1 he speaks a phrase that has always struck out to me, and I have held fast to it for years. He said, “He (Jesus) is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” John the Baptist says Jesus is so incredible that I’m not even worthy to tie up his sneakers. John the Baptist already had countless followers and had great success, but in the midst of all of his success he knew it didn’t matter because Jesus was greater and he would never be good enough.

I know this doesn’t feel very uplifting, but you aren’t good enough. I know the world wants to tell you to feel good about yourself. Just find beauty inside of yourself. Try harder, but regardless of all of those clichés. You aren’t good enough, but that is the greatest news in the world because of point two.

  1. He is good enough and that’s enough!

Jesus is absolutely good enough and that is completely enough. You are and will always be a failure at times, but our failures are further opportunities for God to demonstrate his goodness in our lives. This is what Paul meant when he said, “‘My (Jesus) grace is sufficient for your, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

When I don’t feel good enough, I have to remind myself that it’s ok because He’s good enough, and that’s enough. Am I going to find my identity in my own abilities or in the Savior and creator of the universe? If you feel like a failure today, that’s ok. Your failures are simply opportunities for God to demonstrate how good he really is. These first two principles are incredibly important when you are struggling with feeling unworthy in any area, but the last principle is a reminder you need to give yourself every time you start to go down the road of comparison.

  1. Don’t compare your middle to somebody else’s end.

I want all the goods without any of the bads. I want to arrive at the destination without the struggle of the journey. I want to be as mature a Christian as the other people I see around me, but I forget others had to go through their own journey before they arrived where they are. It sometimes feels like they just arrived and didn’t have any of the same struggles I had.

When I do this, I’m comparing my middle to somebody else’s end, and every time this thinking will fail me and leave me stuck. You will gain forward momentum when you stop comparing your middle. Because every time you compare your middle to somebody else’s end, you will always fall short. It’s like me trying to compete in a 5k with a person who trains for marathons. I’m not going to be able to keep up. Live your own story, and don’t try to live through somebody’s else life.

This life is too short to constantly be comparing ourselves to everyone else.  It’s also too short allow our feelings of unworthiness to rob of us the joy God has planned for our story.  Your life matters most when you don’t just allow your weaknesses to crush you, but rather you see them as an opportunity for God’s grace to shine all the more through your struggles and weaknesses.  You might not be good enough, and that’s ok.  Because He is good enough, and that’s enough.


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