I’m not good enough! Do you ever say this? Well, good news…

by Jennifer Dyer

A while back, I agreed to help a friend publicize a project. As I writer, I am aware of how much social media presence means in today’s world. Numbers are king. And I, my friends, am not big stuff.

The publisher of the project asked everyone interested in helping to fill out a survey.

The info they wanted? Numbers. How many hits does your website get? How many people “like” you? Do Wookies and Droids in the galaxy far, far away follow you?

As I read through the questions, a growing weight settled on my chest. Half of the things they asked I didn’t even know.

In my mind, the survey asked the question: “Are you good enough to help us?”

“No! I’m not good enough! Not by a long shot.” I started to believe I wasn’t good enough, so I shouldn’t try to help out my friend. Other, better people would help her. (How wrong is that? I was going to let fear and feelings of inadequacy stop me from helping someone!)

“I’m not good enough” clouded my thoughts, jaded my sight. Every time I tuned into any of my online channels, I despaired at what I saw. No one liked me. I wasn’t making an impact. I should just quit. And I should eat some worms.

Phooey.

All my creative efforts stalled. Instead of doing what I do best, I spent my time worrying about why more people didn’t like me. My doubts poisoned all my efforts.

I some time in prayer, mostly whining to God about why life wasn’t fair.

But God was gracious and didn’t toss me a piece of cheese to go with my whine. Instead I saw:

* Focusing on what others have is wrong and harmful to my own heart. That includes feeling envious of their success. It only leads to distress and distracts me.

* I had to face that I was trying to be in control. That leads to anxiety and doesn’t change anything. You’d think I would have learned this during my extended illnesses. Controlling most things in this world is as futile as controlling the wind with my bare hands.

* Do what I do best and let God take care of the rest. Does this mean I give up? No. It means that I focus on what I do best. I will dedicate a bit of time each day to learn how to navigate the social media world and making genuine connections with people, but I cannot control what other people do. I can only control the choices I make.

* I choose to relax, to write to share God’s love and grace with others, and to let the rest go.

* I don’t have to please the masses. I only need to please my Audience of One.

How about you? Have you ever tried to “control the wind?” How did you get through it?

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If Only.

I have a nasty case of the if onlys. Sometimes it’s worse than others, but I seem to never quite get over it. Perhaps you’ve also been infected and recognize the symptoms. If not, it starts something like this:

If only … I could lose five pounds, my jeans would fit better and I would be happier.

The infection gets worse from there:

If only … I had a bigger house, it wouldn’t be so messy. If only I had a nicer car, I wouldn’t be late since I wouldn’t have had to check the tires. If only I had a new oven and a better fridge, I would be a better cook. If only I made more money, I wouldn’t have to worry about the bills.

It goes on to infect other areas of life, especially my mothering: If only I had her personality/disposition/waistline/house/car/dog … etc, I would be a better mom.

It becomes acute when I start thinking: If only … I were different, things would be better.

Is this good, right, noble, and pure thinking, the kind in Philippians 4: 8? No.

Many years ago, while I was in college, God gave me a good dose of reality at the height of my eating disorder, which helped me turn this kind of toxic thinking around. One Sunday evening I arrived at a church meeting and met a new girl. She was adorable–thin, cute, and nice. After that, my if only disease went into fast forward. If only I looked like her, I could be cute, thin, nice, and happy. It was all I could think about–how I didn’t look as good as she did in her jeans and my life would be so much better if I did.

I would have gone home deflated had she not had the courage to tell me more about her life. She was in recovery from a severe eating disorder and had just been released from a treatment center. That night was one of her first nights out. Ack! I had spent the entire night being envious of a girl in worse shape than myself. The irony caught me in the heart. I don’t have a clue what the sermon was that night, but I hope I never forget God’s stirring in my heart.

I often think back on that moment when I have an if onlys relapse. Then I take a good dose of the cure: thanking God for what He has given  me.

May your day be thankful.

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