When You Feel You’re Not Enough

Song Of The Week

Song: Whole Heart (Hold Me Now) by Hillsong UNITED

Mood: When you’re alone at your wits end

Tastes: Refreshing

Sometimes, we don’t feel enough.

Just when you think you’re merely aiming for ‘enough’, it quickly becomes ‘not enough’.

Let’s say you’ve just graduated and got a new job; your starting salary is $5,000. You’re content. You feel fine. And when I mean fine, I don’t mean okay, I mean fineeeee. You did it. It’s your first step into a world of possibilities.

The next day, you go out for dinner with your high school friends (assuming you’re all still close).

“Hey guys, I got a new job!”

Collective applause

“That’s great, man!”

After some friendly small talk, business talk finally creeps up onto the table.

“So… how much do you earn?”

“I get $5,000 per month. That’s pretty decent, I think.”

There was a brief silence, one so short that you could easily miss it if you didn’t feel the words linger in your mouth.

“Oh… that’s… great!”

Another pause

“What’s wrong…?”

“Oh… it’s nothing. It’s just that… well… is $5,000 per month really enough?”

Someone then dives into how much you’re gonna have left after you pay off your rent and bills. Someone else delves into how you need to start saving up for your retirement funds for when you retire 45 years later. And someone brings up another accursed topic — Children.

By the end of dinner, you all part ways in a nostalgic group hug. Your heart aches when you watch everyone part ways, but something else‘s tugging at your heartstrings: It’s not enough. I’m not enough.

There’s an all-too-obvious root to this problem: We base our achievements on things that are based on human standards set by (guess who?) other humans. Whenever you give someone else the authority to measure your success, it’s a slippery slope to failure.

It’s only human for us to fix our minds on the things we can see. After all, humans were genetically coded to watch their surroundings for any sign of danger. When one was ostracized by the group, it meant more than loneliness, it meant starvation, dehydration, and eventually death.

But things are different now. There aren’t anymore big cats around us constantly stalking us, ready to pounce the first moment we let our guards down.

Becuase of our long history with external validation, the desire to seek people’s validation is as strong as thirst. It’s essential for us to feel validated so we can thrive in this world.

But this way of living not sustainable anymore. External validation is fragile. One moment someone praises you and you feel on top of the world, the next someone mocks you and you feel down.

Where Can We Look?

If you tell yourself “I’m enough for this, I’m enough to be loved,” there is a problem.

I’m not enough. I don’t have the right measurements in me to make sure I’m enough.

On the one hand, we run the risk of personal biases whether it’s too lenient or too harsh with ourselves. Some look past their flaws, expecting some super human to completely love them; others amplify their dysfunction, believing no one can ever love them. When we look inwards, the depth of our measurements is limited. We don’t posses enough knowledge and clarity to understand how much we know or don’t know about ourselves to make a fair, objective decision.

Moreover, when I feel that my external conditions don’t reflect what I feel on the inside, our convictions start to waiver. The evidence around us are in conflict with how we feel.

On the other hand, when you tell yourself you’re enough, you run the risk of becoming complacent. It may be unconscious, though.

Complacency takes root in your heart like water seeping down cracks: It’s fast. When we are the ones who convince ourselves we’re enough, we might phase out the role God plays in our lives, idolizing ourselves and our talents (which were ultimately ordained onto us by God).

Call To Action

The simple fix comes to mind when you think of the underlying reason is to just stop seeking external validation.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? It really is actually. Or maybe not…

Well, it’s an easy thought, that’s for sure.

It’s easy to tell yourself “okay, I’m not gonna base my value and faith on worldly things. No! I’m gonna base my faith on what God has done for me! Amen!”

Then an hour passes and you forget that you even declared that to yourself.

It’s so important for us to keep reminding ourselves of things we want to achieve. Whether it being a reminder on your phone to a dream board you hang in your room. Just get your promises into your head everyday. Before long, it’ll be a part of you.

On top of that, there’s another problem with us. We search for external evidence to verify how we see ourselves. What’s more is that the evidence we seek has to be updated regularly. What I mean is that something someone said yesterday, you may feel that you’ve outgrown that compliment. It’s just not sustainable

So this is what you need to do: Remind yourself “I’m enough of myself to be who God created me to be.

And therefore, we have to feel like ourselves. Obedience to God is to be authentically ourselves.

Pray and seek God in what you should do. There are certain desires that are planted in us that we didn’t plant, but we grew them. It is these wholesome desires that are uniquely ordained onto us by God. They’re what God has set us apart to do.

So, run after what makes you feel alive! What was it that you connect with? Where is the kid inside of you telling you to run to? Not the evil desires, but the ones that make you smile.

God bless you and be content!

– Tobias

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