I received a phone call today from one of my closest friends. He caught me in the middle of a very reflective moment.
He responded, “Hey. What are you doing?”
I said, “Thinking about how inadequate I feel today.”
“Well, you do suck!”, my friend replied.
We both laughed. He was obviously joking, but there’s nothing like the honesty of a really close friend to help put things into perspective and cut through the tension when it gets too thick.
INADEQUATE. That’s how I feel sometimes. I know that God loves me, I know that He sent His Son to die in my place, and I know that the blood of Christ covers all of my sin. I know that when I received Christ I moved from the position of “a sinner” to “a Saint”. But, even though I know these things to be true, I still struggle with occasional feelings of “not measuring up”. And, I might be wrong about this, but I’d be willing to bet that you do, too; at least on some level. The reason we struggle with this is because the enemy wants to trick us into feeling this way.
Last night I did something that I rarely do: I watched a sermon on tv. The preacher was Dr. Charles Stanley, whom I have a lot of respect for. Dr. Stanley’s message was entitled, “The Messages You Send Yourself”. He spoke about the importance of having a healthy self-image. In other words, making sure that you see yourself as God sees you. I’m going to take a moment to do some blatant plagiarizing because I feel that Dr. Stanley’s message is relevant to us all. Therefore, anything you see in italics are his thoughts, not mine.
Dr. Stanley said, “Remember, the enemy targets our heart because that’s where he can do the most damage for the Kingdom of God.” That statement really resonated with me. He also said that when our heart is scarred, there are certain messages that will continually play within us:
-I can’t do anything right.
-I’m a failure.
-I’m an ugly loser.
-I never get any recognition.
-I can’t see anything good about myself.
-I don’t deserve good things.
-I don’t belong.
-I’m a worthless nobody.
These messages damage our relationship with God and others. They keep us feeling lonely, isolated, and unworthy; that’s not at all how God intends for us to live! He wants so much more for us because we are His children and He is the perfect Dad.
The next time you’re struggling with feelings of inadequacy or “not measuring up”, think about these things:
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (see Philippians 4:13.
- My success comes from trusting God (see Proverbs 16:3).
- I am God’s beloved child (see Ephesians 5:1).
- I am eternally secure in Jesus Christ (see John 10:28-29)I am wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:14).
- God gives me good gifts out of His unconditional love for me (see James 1:17).
- I belong to God’s family and I am a co-heir with Christ (see Romans 8:17).
- Christ died for me so I will live for Him (see 2 Timothy 1:8-10).
There’s no doubt, words can be harmful. Remember that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names / words will never hurt me.” That’s not true, words are powerful and they can hurt if we let them. The good news is God’s words are far more powerful than any other. God’s messages of love have the power to counteract harmful words that have been plaguing you. They can also help you have the confidence you need to face anything that comes along. If you’d like to watch Dr. Stanley’s message, just click here. It helped me. Maybe it will help you, too.