Hello, new seasons – recent college graduates, can I get an Amen?
I’m starting to learn that life is full of change and transition. The second I think that I may have something figured out, BOOM, time for change. I believe that the Lord makes sure that I am constantly turning to Him and His wisdom instead of my own inner strength and thoughts and He definitely uses the tool of change in order to do just that.
I graduated from college early May (whoop whoop!), was blessed with a beautiful puppy the April before (thank you Mom and Dad!), was offered a new real-world job mid-May (AH PRAISE GOD), and was asked by the most incredible man in the world to be his FIANCE at the end of May (WHAT IS THIS REAL LIFE?).
So many good things, so many new things, so many things that leave me on my knees with the Lord praying, “God, how? How do I live these new roles? How do I adult? How do I measure up?” I have never felt more inadequate in my entire life. I feel completely unprepared and untrained for the new roles God has lead me into.
Thoughts keep flooding my brain:
“Nothing you ever do is good enough.”
“Someone else could do this better.”
“You can’t measure up.”
Yikes. These are not the truths that Jesus whispers in my ear. These are lies straight from the mouth of the devil. Recognize that, sweet friend. These negative thoughts have really been taking a toll on me, so I dedicated July of 2018 to learning what God says about this feeling of not measuring up. Here are some of the main points I have discovered –
1. I am not good enough.
When I first started thinking about this post, I just knew that the first point would be: “I am enough.” or “You are enough.” But after researching and reading the word of God, I learned that those statements, although they may make us feel warm and fuzzy, are simply not true.
Don’t misunderstand me. You ARE wonderfully made in the image of God. You ARE chosen. You ARE forgiven. You ARE His child. You do NOT need to be perfect in order to come before our awesome God. But the truth is that I was never created to be “enough” on my own. I will never measure up in my own strength. I was so caught up in “being enough” that there were days that I would not call on the Lord for help in my new roles. God qualifies the unqualified and God wants to make His power known through you. If we could be “enough” (whatever that means) all by ourselves, then we would have ZERO need for God’s power and the Holy Spirit to move and work through us.
2 Corinthians 3:5 states, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” If Paul felt unqualified to do anything on his own, then surely I am also nothing without Jesus bridging that gap.
2. The “comparison trap” is simply that – a trap.
“There’s no win in comparison” is a phrase Andy Stanley teaches in his “Comparison Trap” sermons and books. This concept emphasizes that no matter who you size yourself up against, you lose. If you compare yourself to someone and think of yourself as less than, you lose. If you compare yourself to someone and think of yourself as greater than, then you also lose.
Fixing my gaze on other humans instead of on my perfect Jesus is a huge trap. I truly care about other’s comments and concerns and have always been known to wear my heart on my sleeve. I take what other’s say to heart and have been praying for a lighter, more care-free disposition. Putting my worth in the words of others will only leave me feeling empty on the inside. Comparing my own accomplishments to the accomplishments of others will mean that someone is losing and, unfortunately, I am often that loser.
Comparing myself to other people is a trap that distracts my mind from searching for Jesus. What are you trying to measure up to? Is it a person? Is it a worldly standard? You were not made to measure up, beautiful creation. You were made for relationship with Jesus.
3. God doesn’t set the bar, He replaces it.
When I began to intentionally call on the Lord for help in this area, He began to change my perspective. He began to teach me that His plan for me in my job may not have anything to do with me completing a to-do list of tasks. Maybe His plan is for me to spend an hour speaking with and comforting one person in my workplace. Maybe His plan is for me to be humbled in my new position and understand that I have so much more to learn. God isn’t helping me to reach some weird expectation of accomplishment that I have set in my head, but He is showing me that instead of reaching for “measuring up,” I need to reach for Him.
Instead of reaching for that bar you have set for yourself, reach for Jesus. He then will equip you to fulfill His purpose for your life. Everything else seems so much less important when we look through His lens instead of our own.
Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
Sometimes God’s will doesn’t make any sense to us. Trust Him anyways. Trust that as we seek Him continually, day-by-day, He will equip us and show us which direction we should go.
4. It’s a daily struggle.
Yay! I researched this problem, meditated on the word of God, and prayed about it a few times so I shouldn’t struggle with this anymore, right?
Very, very wrong.
The idea of not being “good enough” is a pride issue that I have to lay down at the foot of the cross every single morning (more like every single minute). The thoughts: “I can do life on my own” and “I was created to accomplish instead of surrender” are sin problems that I struggle with daily.
5. The Holy Spirit Will Help You.
This month I have been reading the book I Want It All by Gwen Smith. (Side note, totally recommend this book to anyone and everyone – it’s AMAZING). In her book, Gwen describes how we, as Christians, can call on the Holy Spirit daily to be our intercessor.
Did you catch that?
We can call on the Holy Spirit to bridge the gap between ourselves and His power, peace, comfort, love, and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit gives us free access to God anytime we need Him. This concept is one that I had never really put into action until this month.
One Monday earlier this month, I woke up not wanting to go into work, feeling very dark and empty. I spent time with God and still felt like that day was going to be the struggle. I practiced praying for the Holy Spirit to bridge the gap between me and the peace of the Lord. The sweet, perfect peace that surpasses all understanding.
The prayer went something like this:
Lord, I feel so weak today. I feel emotions of sadness and discontentment as I enter into this work day. I am asking that the Holy Spirit would bridge that gap between me and your beautiful peace today. I cannot walk through this day without you walking right beside me, Jesus. Thank you for this day. Thank you for this feeling because it reminds me of how much I need you. I love you. Amen.
Y’all. After I prayed this prayer – after I intentionally recognized my need for the Holy Spirit in my day – God bridged that gap for me.
I was still tired and weary but I felt so very connected to my Redeemer as I prayed this prayer every hour I remembered to do so. I pray that you would learn to pray for the Holy Spirit to bridge that gap between yourself and the Lord if you have not already done so. This concept was life-changing for me.
It may be a daily struggle, but I think that this is the way God designed it to be. He doesn’t want me or you to forget how much we need Him every single day. Oh, He bridges our gaps and fills our empty spaces. He changes our desires daily in order to do the work that He has planned for us to do.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” – Philippians 2:13
We were not created to measure up to this world’s standards. We were created to chase after Jesus and represent Him in all we do. I may not be enough on my own, but oh, greater is HE who is in me that he who is of this world (1 John 4:4.
If you want to hear my crazy self speak on this topic, then I encourage you to check out my first “Take Ten” video:
PC: Summer Huls (she’s amazing – go check her out)