I just got off the phone with my best friend since 7th grade. Her name is Megan*, and she is one of my favorite people on Earth. First, she makes a mean grilled cheese, and second, she is one of the most loyal people I know.
Now, between Megan and I, there are five kids. We’re lucky to get a few texts out to each other a day. They usually look like this:
Me: Ezzy peed on the white rug. I need a new one.
Megan: I could use a few throw pillows.
Me: Home Goods?
Me: Are we bringing the kids?
Megan: Do we have a choice?
Me: A girl can dream, right?
Ezzy is my two-year-old, by the way. And she’s a human. Not a dog.
And this is a real conversation Megan and I would have.
So when Megan called me—an actual phone call—at ten o’clock in the morning on a summer day, I knew something was wrong.
“Hey?” I answered. “What’s up?”
“I just need someone to talk to,” she said. “I feel so defeated. I feel like a failure.”
I listened with my heart aching as Megan talked about how tired she was. How empty and depleted she felt.
Her baby is teething and still nursing. She’s trying to get her older kids ready to go back to school. She’s carpooling them to practice, doctor’s appointments, and friend’s houses. Not to mention the laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, baths, meal preparation, and the cleaning. Oh, yeah, Megan wants to connect with her husband, too.
No one loves being a mom more than Megan. And I don’t know anyone who is better at it. But today she felt like a failure because she was giving everyone every ounce of herself, and it still didn’t feel like enough. She didn’t feel like she was enough.
I look at all she does for her family and I want to (and do, actually) say, “Hey, you’re better than I am. I quit nursing about fifteen minutes into this whole parenting thing. The laundry piles in my house are massive safety hazards, and the last home-cooked meal I made for my kids was a cereal and milk buffet.” **
And then suddenly, I don’t feel like enough.
I feel defeated.
I feel like a failure.
Have you ever felt like that? Like Megan and me? Like, no matter how hard you try, something is always left undone? Like your best is never sufficient? Like you don’t measure up to the standard? Have you ever felt like a failure?
Having these types of thoughts in moments of weakness is one thing, but letting them take root in our hearts is another. If we truly start believing we aren’t enough, we will push ourselves beyond healthy boundaries to compensate for what we perceive to be areas of deficiency. And there is no joy there. There is no hope in that way of thinking or living. Because it leaves no room for grace. No room for Jesus.
I have a crazy idea. What if we believed what the Bible says about us is true? What if that defined us, nothing else and no one else?
We’d believe we are . . .
- Justified and redeemed (Romans 3:24)
- Accepted by Christ (Romans 15:7)
- Chosen, holy, and blameless before God (Ephesians 1:4)
- Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
- Righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24)
- Made complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
I suck. Like, no, really. I am selfish and insecure and flakey and needy and my two-year-old pees on things.
But my fleshly weaknesses do not define me. My worth was eternally forged on the cross when Jesus exchanged His perfection for my filth.
On days when I feel like I’m doing a good job at life, and on days that I feel like I’m totally screwing everything up, my worth is the same. It never changes, and it never will.