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“I’m Not Enough” and The Unending Lie of Worthlessness

by Julie Thomas

Welcome to Week 3 of our Untangled Summer Study!

Thank you for being here and for doing the hard work and seeking God’s face on all this! It’s been incredible for me to hear from you all and hear how God is loosening the knots…knots that have held some of us for years. YEARS! That’s no small thing, sister. Take a second to acknowledge the work God has done and give Him thanks for how He is in constant pursuit of our hearts. Oh, how He loves us, and how He wants to set us FREE.

This week? We’re diving into the tangle of WORTHLESSNESS.  This is THE one that messes with me the most.

Worth

So, a couple Saturdays ago I was working around the house, kids were playing outside with the neighbor kids, Wimbledon was on in the background and Serena Williams was playing for the women’s final. The girl is an amazing force on the court, so I stopped to watch her compete (and take) the title.

But as the afternoon progressed, here’s where my crazy brain went…”Serena’s arms are ridiculous. It would be so awesome to be in that kind of shape…I’m not in shape…I’m not even remotely in shape…I’m sitting on the couch, not working out for like the 47th day in a row…I’m a total slug.”

Then two of my kids ran through the door with a full report on how their sibling had said something horrible to one of our neighbor’s daughters. Seriously? Have I not raised you better? Awesome. My neighbor now probably thinks I’m awful as a parent, and soon the whole block will start questioning our family’s values (I know, so dramatic).

It all just sat on me and brewed. As the day wore on into the evening, I was in a compete funk, and my mood had turned into a justified sad-fest. I felt so defeated about who I was, my parenting and really, my whole life.

I caught myself in a moment of reality and stopped long enough to ask this question: How did I get here? Why am I in this funk? What have I been thinking about? Where has my brain gone that’s allowed me to wind up here?

I began to recount all the negative things I’d been saying internally that afternoon. It was A LOT. A lot of junk that I’d been telling myself for hours, and then believing it as if it were truth.

Why do I do that?

So, I decided to do an experiment. I decided to keep track of the horrible things I say to myself for 24 hours. Every time I put myself down or had thoughts of feeling worthless, I opened up the Notes app on my phone and wrote it down. Here’s what came out:

  • Serena Williams’ arms are incredible, and I’m old and out of shape.
  • My parenting is apparently out of touch since my child can say such unkind things.
  • I look awful in that picture I was tagged in.
  • I look awful period.
  • I can’t manage my finances.
  • My house is a wreck, that one project is still not done. I’m so inept.
  • My friends’ kids are involved in so many great camps and sports, I’m not providing good stuff for mine.
  • That friend has tried to connect with me this summer, she’s such a better friend than I am.
  • I haven’t called that friend enough, she’s probably unhappy at how lame I am as a friend.

Big shock: all of that internal dialogue made me feel horrible about myself. And mostly left me saying these three words: I’m not enough.

Why do we do that?

That phrase “I’m not enough” is so loud in our lives. We look at how we fall short, what we don’t have in comparison to others, and how we wish we could do more.

There are so many reasons we land here, feeling not enough. Our culture screams messages of performance, to “look right” and be “perfect”. Social media inundates us with posts and pictures, showing us that everyone else apparently has their act together, and we, again, fall so short.

But so often, beyond the externals, I am my own worst enemy in the battle of feeling worthy. I can beat myself up like nobody else. I withhold grace from myself, while extending it generously to others. I hold myself to unreasonable standards while offering acceptance to everyone else. All of this…generating only one thing: worthlessness.

But that is not God’s heart for me. AT ALL. 

What are the thoughts that you have about yourself?

It’s a really important question for us to answer, for us to recognize what we’re thinking about. Because I believe this to be true: 

Our thoughts lead to our words.
Our words lead to our actions.
And our actions make up the whole of our lives.

You have SO MANY THOUGHTS. Every single day, so much is swirling around in your mind. Often, you can keep those thoughts hidden and known only to you. Eventually, however, those thoughts will surface and turn into the words you say. Your words will inevitably influence and become how you act and move. Those actions will then make up how you spend your days, which then turn into a life.

Your thoughts matter, because they become the driving force of how you live your one and only life. 

So, where are you today?

What messages are you hearing? What are you telling yourself? Do you believe that you are enough? Do you give yourself grace or do you find yourself buried in worthlessness? 

What if you began to believe something different?

What if you began to believe that you are precious? That you are cherished and loved beyond anything that you can ever understand? That you are wired to be all and exactly who God has created you to be?

What if you began to believe that you are, in fact, worthy? 

WORTHLESSNESS: NEXT STEPS
Take time this week to be intentional. Determine in your heart to stand up against those negative thoughts that contradict everything that God says about you. Here’s some ideas:

1. Make Your Own List.
For the next 24-hours, keep track of all the negative thoughts you have towards yourself. Whether it’s with pen and paper, or the Notes app on your phone, write it down. 

2. Begin to ask God to show you the “whys” of all that made that list.
What is going on with all those negative thoughts? What’s their root, their ground zero? Ask God to begin to shine a Light on it all.

3. Decide to Choose Truth. 
I say that at the risk of sounding cliche, at the risk of making it sounding so simple. Just choose joy! Just be happy!

Not at all. Deciding to choose Truth can be the hardest thing to do. We get so stuck, so tangled up in the lies of worthlessness. We’ve heard the messages for so long, lies so big they have begun to look real. To think that we actually matter can seem almost impossible.

But what if all you need is the tiniest of faith? The smallest amount of faith, offered to the Lord, asking Him to show you your value…your worth.

4. Spend time HERE.
God’s Word…how it gives Life to my soul…

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. I John 1:5

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Matthew 6:26

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.How precious are your thoughts about me, O GodThey cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! Psalm 139:14-18

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Decide to take that first step towards believing what is True. That you are absolutely loved, because Jesus Christ gave His very life for you. Open your heart to believe that He would have never allowed the pain and suffering He went through, or allowed Himself to be put up on a cross and die, for something that had no value…for someone who was worthless.

You are precious. Fight for that knowledge, for that Truth. Ask God to begin to expose the lies that have you tangled up, and see how God begins to loosen those knots of worthlessness.

See you back here Thursday. 

___________________

Want more on all this? Tune in to Life with Lisa Williams for more with Julie Thomas and Carey Scott, author of the book Untangled

Join Us In Community.
We will be on our Untangled Women Facebook Page today, our virtual coffee shop, asking questions throughout the day, encouraging you to trust God in this journey to get untangled from fear. Join us, we would love to hear from you.

 

 

Finding Our True North in the Middle of Fear

by Julie Thomas

Who does this? Who opens up their lives, recounting past hurts and insecurities for all the world to see? Someone who knows there’s HOPE on the other side of all of it, who knows what a God-healed heart looks like, and wants the same others. My friend, Carey Scott shares a story from her latest book, Untangled, and tells how fear tried to take her out, specifically in her high school years.

What is it about high school?

Comparisons, fear of not measuring up…it’s so crazy during that season. Being on the other side it’s easy to see that it’s such a little microcosm of your whole life, yet those four years feel like YOUR WHOLE LIFE. Unfortunately, those fears planted during those early years have a way of taking root and just…staying.

Carey shares…

In high school I was an excellent athlete, and secretly wanted to be number one on the tennis team. I had the physical talent but lacked the belief that I had what it took to achieve that lofty aspiration. And no amount of encouragement from my parents or my coach could convince me otherwise. I tried out for cheerleading and never made it. But my friends did. I’d sit in the bleachers burning with jealousy, wondering what was wrong with my herkie jump. Or maybe my classmates didn’t like me enough to vote me onto the squad. 

When my college entrance exam score came back low, I never shared my disappointment. Instead I laughed it off, saying I preferred a party school over one that was academically tough. But if I had been honest, I would’ve admitted to being afraid of putting in the time and effort necessary to make a good grade. What if I did and still scored low? It would have proved I really wasn’t smart enough, and I tried to avoid any situation that might confirm my fears. As my friends packed their bags for the bigger, more prestigious schools, I smiled and waved on the outside while hemorrhaging feelings of inferiority on the inside.
Untangled, p. 22-23

Fear shouts so loudly. And so early in our lives.

When did stories of fear begin in you?

Fear twists around and stirs up all sorts of stories, some filled with horrible outcomes. Others are just subtle enough to predict certain embarrassment and failure in front of others. Every fear-filled-story wraps us up in a poisonous lie and basically extends an invitation to the enemy to falsely predict our future. All of it, through the years, keeping us from the life of freedom that God absolutely has for us.

We are in our Untangled Summer Series, and last time we looked at the three ways fear messes with us: fear for ourselves, those we love, and the unknown. We looked at several verses in God’s Word about fear, but today we’re going to zero in on just one, because I think it contains of the biggest weapon, the antidote, against the poison of fear.

So because God’s Word has been my true north and healed my tangled heart so many times, I want to beg encourage you to sit with these words and let them wash over you as we take a look at the words of Paul to Timothy, his “true son in the faith”, speaking directly to this idea of fear:

Old-Compass

 


“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 

Just a little background here, because sometimes it helps…

This letter to Timothy was considered to be Paul’s very last. Paul knows he’s close to death, so he shares strong and final charge to Timothy to not be afraid, but to do whatever it takes to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If anyone understood the meaning of hardship, it was Paul. However, Paul knew His God, and had seen and experienced too much to let fear win the day.  He wanted Timothy to do the same.

I believe there are four incredible truths we can soak up here from Paul’s writings, as we stand against fear in our own lives:

#1. FEAR is not of God.
Fear of man, fear of what may come, fear of failure, no matter when it began in you…none of that is from God. NONE OF IT.  

#2.  God has instead given us POWER.
The word POWER here is the same one used by Paul in Ephesians 1:19-20, where it says this: 

“I pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Exact same word, used in both places, revealing a Truth that surely breathes life into our fear-weary hearts:

The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the very power that is available for us to counter our fear.

We are not asked to stand against our fears by ourselves. The “incredible greatness of God’s power” is within us, fully available to defeat our fears. Seriously. Sit in that for just a second or two…His resurrection power at work, inside of you.  

#3. He has instead given us His LOVE.
He hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, He has given us His love. His amazing, unfailing love. His love is not determined by my past or present circumstances. Not by how well I perform or how much I do for Him. He just loves me. And because of that all-encompassing love, I am able to stand against fear, because His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:16-18).

#4. Instead of fear, He has given us a SOUND MIND.
We have SO MANY THOUGHTS every single day. So many opportunities to become fear-filled. Our thoughts need His security, His prioritizing…His transformation. Romans 12:2 says “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Girls, we have full access to His strength of mind, but we must continually ask Him to transform our thinking from the inside out.

God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

Here’s my challenge to you:

  • Write down your fears. Be honest and make a list. Then next to each one, write down God’s Truth to counters that fear. For instance, I would write “I’m afraid that I’ll never be enough for my family”, then next to it, write “God’s power is at work in me, and He is my strength to be exactly what my family needs”.
  • Memorize 2 Timothy 1:7. Or find your own verse on fear here. Then speak it, over and over again, so it becomes louder than your fears…we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony…

Sisters, let’s stand against the lie of fear. No matter where fear began in your life, God is bigger than it all and wants to be your source for strength and healing. Will you pray with me?

God, I praise you that You are with me, right now. All this fear I have inside has gripped me for so long, and I want it to be gone. Lord, you know what causes my fear, You know the root of it all. I give that fear to You and I ask you to remove it from my life. Because I trust you, I open my heart up to Your love and your healing. My fear is not of You. Instead, You have given me power, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead. You’ve given me Your unfailing love. And you’ve given me a sound mind. Transform my mind from the inside out. Thank You that Your perfect love casts out all fear. Help me to stand strong in the Truth of Your Word today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Today we’re over at our Untangled Women Facebook Page, our virtual coffee shop where we’ll be talking more about all this. Join us here. There is something so powerful in sharing your story and hearing from others, knowing that you are not alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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