When I'm Not Good Enough

My grandboys started school this week—a new school in a new city.  At their ages—6 and 7—they usually make friends pretty easily, though that is not always true.   For most of us our school years were a challenging (and often painful) journey, striving to figure out who we are and where we fit.

I still remember my first week in junior high school. That’s when I realized: I’m Not Good Enough.In elementary school I was. I had friends, even boyfriends. I was “in,” though being in wasn’t a big deal then. I was in a writing club. I made good grades. I outran the fastest boy in school. I was definitely good enough.

Four elementary schools fed into our junior high. But only one of those schools was the "right" one. I did not go to the right elementary school.

So what else is new? Junior high/middle school is torture for everyone. But a recent conversation with my husband as we walked the beach gave me a startling revelation: That junior high discovery has followed me through my entire life.  He kindly told me I was often thinking/saying “I’m not good enough.”

A few examples:High school: I wasn’t good enough (read, popular enough) to be elected editor of the school newspaper, so I had to settle for copy editor.

College: I wasn’t good enough to be selected as a Goodfellow on campus, though I had as many or more activities and contributions to the university as others who were chosen.  And I wasn’t chosen as sweetheart of my boyfriend’s fraternity, even though he was the president.

Writing: I am a pretty good writer and editor, but not really great. I have never been as good as I would like to be.

In love: I broke an engagement to follow God’s leading. Surely a new love would follow. I felt not good enough as I waited nine years for my (wonderful) husband.

Parenting: My first baby cried for 4 months. I could not comfort that child. There was no way I was good enough as a mother.

Homemaking: Well, we don’t need to go there. I mostly don’t care that I’m not good enough in this arena. Reading to my children was much higher priority than cleaning, et al. Writing is a higher priority now. Even in cooking, which I’m pretty good at, I find myself pointing out what is wrong with a dish so people know I know it isn’t good enough.In so many ways—I could name many more—I have told myself, “I’m not good enough.”

I had no idea.

Then, as I walked the beach alone the next day, God had another message for me.

He reminded me, “I made you. I was there, forming you exactly into the woman I wanted you to be. You are intricately, fearfully and wonderfully put together.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

There was more:

“My daughter, you are my work of art, my masterpiece. And I have great plans for you. I have created you for specific roles in building my Kingdom.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Just one more thing:

“Judy, you are good enough. You are more than good enough: You are exactly what I had in mind!”

What about you?  Where have you thought you aren’t “good enough”?

C2013 Judy Douglass