Growing up in church, as a first-born daughter of a pastor, I felt that pressure to be the perfect example of purity and holiness. Tormented by constant shame and condemnation, I was the first to repent at every church service; from the age of six! I giggle when I wonder about how this might have looked to the members of the congregation, when they saw the pastor’s child first in line for prayer at the altar every Sunday. Maybe they thought I got pocket money for breaking the ice. Ha!
Condemnation had been the most familiar companion for most of my life. Striving for accolades and attention will make you good at many things, but the one thing I really excelled at was feeling bad about myself. If medals were handed out for that, I would have needed a separate trophy room in the house.
The strange thing is that I grew up in a household where grace abounded. My father has a heart for lost sheep and he exudes the love and grace of God. There was no pressure on me to perform and I received a healthy amount of attention and affirmation. However, the enemy’s first assault on my heart left a wound so deep, that it made me believe that I would never be acceptable to God. I would never be good enough.
(You can read a little bit more about my story here.)
As a result I tried very had to please God, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to hit the mark. The harder I tried, the worse I seemed to become. As a result I became more entangled in the mess I tried to fix; hopelessness started to settle in.
Looking back, I wonder why I tried so hard to make myself acceptable to Him, when Jesus already took care of it (2 Corinthians 5:21). The truth was that I was good enough because of what Jesus did for me. I didn’t need to work at being accepted.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”
Romans 8:1 AMP
When we are constantly working to be good enough we tire ourselves out. We drain every ounce of energy we have in an effort to reach a standard that is humanly impossible to attain. This is a great strategy of an enemy who wants to keep your heart tangled up in lies.
The one who controls the heart, controls the (wo)man. Therefore, there is work to be done, but it is not the kind of work that I had been doing all my life. It is not working to be good enough, it is working to stay untangled. It requires an ability to identify the lies fired at your heart and remove it.
For me, this meant that I had to pay attention to the thoughts of condemnation that entered my mind and take them captive. I had to replace each of those thoughts with this truth: “The Father loves me. He is fully pleased with me. There is no condemnation towards me!” Using my faith, I had to release those words by speaking them out loud and I had to continue doing this, until I started to believe it.
My dear friend, the Father did not intend for us to live tangled up by the lies of the enemy. Your heart is precious, not only because Jesus died for you but because it is the very place from where all the issues of your life flow. Your heart is your power-source. It can generate life or death. That is why you have to be fiercely protective over it. Don’t yield it to the enemy any longer. Don’t share your power with him. Fight to get your heart back. It is possible, and it doesn’t require an extravagant miracle. You only need to make a simple shift.
When thoughts of condemnation come, be prepared to release your faith:
“The Father loves me.”
(1 John 3:1)
“He is fully pleased with me.”
“There is no condemnation towards me.”
“I am good enough.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
There are still moments when I catch myself trying to be good enough. Especially when I start looking around me and see mums doing a better job at raising their children; or authors that are more skilled and speakers that are more eloquent. It’s easy to start to entertain thoughts of inadequacy when we are so busy trying to be good enough, that we are not paying attention to our thought life. So I have to intentionally and continually remind myself of this truth: I am good enough.
My friend, I pray that you will have a moment to pay attention to your heart. Are there any lies trying to entangle it? Thoughts of comparison? Thoughts of condemnation? May you have the courage to take those thoughts captive and remove each lie from your heart. Allow the Father to speak these words of truth over you:
“Beloved, you are good enough.”
Today, I hear the Father’s gentle voice: “My Redeemed. I see no fault in you. Your heart is good. To me, you are not just good enough, you are perfect. Nothing will change my heart towards you. You are constantly on my mind. The thoughts I have about you are thoughts of Peace and Love. Rest in my Love. Embrace my grace and draw near. I am here. Always.” ❤