I invite you to study a particular fear with me, one that plagues people of all cultures, professions, and generations. It’s a fear that I have undeniably experienced, sometimes to an extreme, and it’s a fear that I guarantee you and the next person to read this post have experienced as well.
It’s the fear of not being good enough.
If this is something that makes you shudder, don’t fret! I bear good news.
The fear of not being good enough–and all sorts of fears, for this matter– doesn’t have to rule either of our lives. It doesn’t have to be the reason that keeps you or me up late at night, afraid, restless. There’s a solution–a cure you might call it– to fear, and it’s attainable for anyone and everyone. Keep reading, and you’ll find out what it is soon enough.
A Personal Struggle
Since I’ve began blogging consistently last month, I’ve grown acutely aware of the uneasiness that gathers in my chest just before I click the “publish” button. Only last week did I pinpoint this uneasiness as really the fear of others thinking I’m not good enough as a writer.
One night, with fingers flying over the keys, a familiar sense of dread settled over me, drawing melancholic thoughts to the foreground of my mind. As an amateur writer with virtually no experience in the big publishing world beyond this nascent blog, I’m always wondering to myself, “Is my writing good enough? Is what I have to write valuable? Am I good enough?”
Sitting there, the questions eddying in my head, I knew it was time to turn my eyes from the glare of the screen to something, or more accurately someone, else.
If you know me or have been following my blog for a while, you know who that someone is. Yep, Jesus, God incarnate.
To those of you who have zilch interest in this “big guy in the sky”, I humbly implore you to give me at least five more minutes out of your day. Do it, if not out of a genuine desire to learn the mystery of this figure then to at least hear the rest of my story, to glean the insights of fellow human being. I’m not sure how what impact they’ll have on you, but you won’t find out unless you finish reading.
Who are You?
I’ve divulged a bit on myself, now I want you to consider your own identity. Not just the superficial “my name is so-and-so; here’s where I work; I like golf” but also the deep, hidden parts of you– your insecurities, secret pleasures, boasts, and the like. There must be many because if you, like every other human on this earth, are indeed human, you’re probably a pretty complicated one.
Identity is a way of organizing the infinite pieces of ourselves into manageable files. On one, we’ve taped the label “parent”, on another maybe “pediatric nurse”, and on another perhaps “2018 Mustang Grill’s karaoke champion”. What if one of those files were to tear? Or even dissolve? What happens to your identity?
Let’s say you’re a dancer. You’ve been dancing since you were three, you’re friends and family have always lauded your dancing, your entire career is built upon this ability. Then one day an accident leaves you paralyzed from the waist down. Who are you now? How do you define yourself if the main component of what supposedly made you, you is stolen forever?
This example may seem slightly unrealistic. After all, who only has ONE identity, right? I agree. I said it myself–humans are complicated creatures. But the purpose of that example was not to argue we each have this one big attribute that make up who we are and if we lose it, we’re doomed. The example is supposed to demonstrate the fragility of our identies.
I think if you take a closer look at your own life and the world around you, it’ll be impossible to deny this fact. Life is precarious. We can never truly anticipate its next move. Can you guarantee that tomorrow or in the next five, ten years to come you won’t lose your job? Your savings? Your kids? Your spouse? Your passion project? Your own life?
Many of us either personally know or have heard of stories of people who have lost such things. Perhaps you’ve experienced such heart-wrenching losses yourself. If so, I’m sorry. This is how reality works. There’s no guarantee of anything, only death…though there is an exception, but just one.
The Solution for You and Me
My previous assertion about death is as close to absolute truth as humans are going to get. Unless you’re someone who believes in Christ. Then that statement doesn’t apply to you by even 0.00000001%. For those who are wondering how can this be so, I’ll explain.
Christians and many non-Christians alike share the knowledge that God loves them and Christ died for them. The difference between these two groups is that Christians find their primary and most treasured identity in Christ. This is their ultimate secret to battling all sorts of fears. (If you’d like to learn more about the core truths Christians believe, read my previous post here.)
What does it mean to have an “identity in Christ”? It means basing your self-worth not in anything you have done, but in what God has done for you. An identity in Christ means YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, no matter if you’re wealthy or poor, sick or healthy, male or female, hot-tempered or level-headed, popular or unpopular. This can be so because if you’re identity is in Christ, then he determines whether you’re enough, and he says you are.
He demonstrated this by willingly giving himself up to pay for your sins on the cross. Paul, one of the Bible’s authors, marveled at the fact that rarely would anyone be willing to die for a good person, yet Jesus chose to die for you and me even when we we’re absolutely drenched in sin. If Jesus believes you, me, and the rest of this broken world is worth loving and dying for even when we did not love him, care about him but were, according to the Bible, his enemies, then friend, we are totally enough. His love has spoken.
In the last section, we examined the scary temporariness of the world, but now, let’s discuss the mind-blowing unendingness of God. The Bible says Jesus is the beginning and the end, the one who’s existed in the beginning before time and space, the one through which everything in this world was made. God is eternal. His kingdom, which you can call Heaven, is eternal.
God Himself has promised that there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of Christ. Therefore, all those who stake their identity in him as their Lord and savior never has to face death, never fear losing their identity, never need to doubt whether they’re good enough. Seems like a win-win-win to me.
Before closing this section, I must insert a caveat because it’s easy to take what I’ve just written and run a false course. The effects of his salvation, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life is only available to those who have repented of their sins, believe in Jesus as their savior from sins, and follow him. It makes sense. In a gift exchange, someone can offer you a gift, but YOU are responsible for either accepting or rejecting it.
Additionally, just because Christ willingly died for you does not mean you can keep on in sin. Your identity, whether it is in Christ or not, depends on your convictions and your actions. He calls all his believers to pick up their cross, deny themselves, and actively obey him. If you’re only going to keep gratifying your sinful ways without remorse, that’s not a new identity in Christ, but a continuation of your old identity in the things of the world.
One last thing, our identity in Christ does not nullify the other ways we identify ourselves. You can totally be both a Christian and 2018 Mustang Grill’s karaoke champion no problem. It’s just that your identity in Christ should overshadow all other identities, affecting every other aspect of your life. Christ should play a part in how you manage your finances, interact with strangers, play sports do anything.
So, yes, there is effort on your side of the relationship, but to have the security the love of God offers is worth it a thousand times over.
My Story Again
Back that fateful evening.
Beholding the jumble of words scattered across my screen, I turned the question “Am I good enough?” over and over in my head till the light from my laptop dimmed. Eventually I wondered to what standard am I holding myself? It became immediately clear to me that by questioning my worth, I was placing my identity in something apart from Christ, in this case my ability to write well.
How can I forget? How can I forget to respond to the love Jesus has shown me? You’d be surprised at how often I fail in following my savior, in emulating his love for God and others. I complain when things don’t go my way. I grow irritated and judge others secretly in my heart more times I’d like to admit. I’ve both unintentionally and intentionally perpetuated gossip. These are just the milder items on the list.
God is never surprised at my weakness. No Christian is perfect to the point where they can 100% refrain from gratifying their sinful desires while on this earth. Thankfully, God gives us continuous grace, the supply of which He says is sufficient for covering ALL our sins past, present, and future.
In the days to come, I’d pray that I would constantly remember my most treasured identity is in Christ and nothing else. I’d often consider how fleeting this world is and how God has already prepared for me and the rest of our Heavenly family a permanent residence with Him.
Sounds like the struggle with worth and identity is nearly closed, doesn’t it? Everything’s folded and wrapped, ready to be stowed in the back of mind as a thing of the past. Right? Not quite.
I’ve got to confess that I still wrestle regularly, at least a few times a week, with the fear of not being good enough as a writer. I still sometimes wonder why bother with this blog or writing at all. Who’s going to care? What impact can I possibly make?
God has given me a definitive answer to these worries. He calls me to trust in Him. So I try despite my tendency to worry, doubt, and fear. I try because I know God is with me. He is not only the almighty God of all of creation but also my personal friend and helper, someone who loves me and someone I love. I trust that as long as I persist in writing for Him, He will use my writing and this blog for His own glory. This, as someone who has a newfound identity in Christ, is just what I desire.
Additional resource for finding a Christ-centered identity : https://www.desiringgod.org/topics/identity-in-christ
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Hey there, it’s Macy! If you’re new to macythoughts, I encourage you to check out my About page to learn more about who I am and what macythoughts is all about. Also feel free to connect with me via social media. I love meeting new people and would always cherish a new friend.