By Haley Arndt
As I am sitting here to type this, I am in the midst of finals week. Coffee is pumping through my veins to make up for the absence of sleep from the past week (in my defense, I thought going off of four hours of sleep sounded like a good idea at the time). I have a stack of textbooks piled up on my desk that are just waiting to be opened for the first time in months, and I have asked St. Joseph of Cupertino to intercede for me more times than I can count (he’s dope guys, check him out). Stress, exhaustion… I have more motivation to sit in a hammock outside than in a small, sweaty classroom… you feel me?
Despite the dread of tests and papers, there is also a joyful anticipation that comes along with the end of a school year, and that is called SUMMER. While my friends around me chat about their summer plans—working, lifeguarding, camping with family, hanging out with friends, sleeping until noon—a wave of anxiety washes over me. My summer is going to be much different. My summer is going to consist of sleeping in kind strangers’ homes, sharing how cool of a dude Jesus is, and singing the banana song over and over and over. Yep, that’s right folks, you guessed it… God has given me the amazing opportunity to spend my second summer as a Totus Tuus missionary! Woohoo! And guys, I am so stoked about it! Seriously, I have been counting down the days since January until I am back doing the thing I love—letting God use me as His instrument to bring greater glory and praise to His name through the youth in our area.
But lately, I haven’t been feeling the usual excitement that comes when I think about the upcoming adventures God has in store for me. Rather, there is this pit in my stomach. There’s this little voice in my head whispering, You’re not holy enough to do this, you’re not smart enough to do this, you’re not funny enough to do this. You’re not good enough to do this.
And then I am stuck. Stuck in the suffocating trap of self-doubt, worthlessness, and despair. All I can see are my faults, my weaknesses, my downfalls… and I am sucked deeper into the darkness. It leaves me gasping for fresh air. The whisperings of failure ring through my ears and I start to believe in them. I think to myself: They’re right. I’m not good enough for the job. I’m not cut-out for this responsibility…I should turn around and quit.
We’ve all been there—the moment when the whisperings of self-doubt and worthlessness become louder and louder and we start to believe them. Maybe you’ve turned down amazing opportunities because of these whisperings. Maybe you decided not to apply for that one position because you doubted yourself. Maybe you’ve turned away from friends, family, and God because of the deafening, bitter words.
But guys, these are straight-up lies from the Evil One. This is what Satan wants. He wants us to believe the lies, to draw us into his darkness, to cause us to doubt our God-given gifts, and to turn us away from our Heavenly Father who loves us so, SO stinkin’ much. Satan revels in our anguish and misery. He does everything in his limited power to make us think that we are less-than because when we fall into the “not good enough” trap, we turn to things of the earth and to things of sin to bring us meaning and worth, temporarily filling the empty void of hopelessness in our hearts. That is where the devil thrives. Yes, it is true that we may lack in certain areas compared to others (hands up if you sometimes wish God had graced you with elegance and sophistication, but instead you are flat-out awkward as can be, like me). But that should not outweigh the unique aspects of ourselves that God personally gave us to do good works. That should not deter us from living our most full, fruitful, joyous lives. That should not be the reason we shy away from opportunities and dwell in our dark corners empty of self-worth. Because here’s the thing…
You are good enough.
As King David writes in his love letter to God:
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
You are good enough. And not because you might have a 4.0 GPA, not because you are the MVP on your basketball team, not because you have been the lead in the musical every year. You are good enough because you are a wonderfully and fearfully made child of God. Not only are you “good enough” in God’s eyes, but you are chased after and desired by Him. Wow. Just let that sink in. The Creator of Heaven and Earth wants you just as you are. God knows your faults, He knows your mistakes, and He knows your sins. But despite our ugliness, He thinks we are precious. And it pains Him to see us fall into the trap Satan set for us. It pains Him to see us degrading our own beauty and worth because He individually crafted every one of us with our own unique gifts, talents, and, yes, weaknesses.
Brothers and sisters, today is the day that I encourage you to stop listening to Satan’s lies. Be confident in the person you are because you are a beloved and worthy daughter/son of the Lord Most High. Stop thinking of yourself as less-than or not-good-enough and begin to live in the full glory that God has uniquely crafted for you. Stand up tall and embrace all those characteristics that make you who you are. Once you are confident in who you are as a wonderfully-made child of God, you will be unstoppable. [insert mic drop here].
For all of us out there who struggle in the darkness of thinking I’m not good enough, please know that I am praying for you.