• on November 6, 2017

Anxiety: Feeling Not Good Enough

Daniel Burton
by Daniel Burton

At some point we will all ask the question “Am I good enough?”  This question produces a considerable amount of anxiety within a person.  In fact, it is the idea of having enough that fuels anxiety in the hearts of people. When we worry about our finances, we worry as to whether we have enough to survive.  When we worry about our friends, we worry whether they have enough to make it through their own choices.  Deep down, apart from God, is the fear that we are not good enough.  For some this manifests in their job, working tirelessly as a means of proving their worth in what they do.  For others, it comes from sports involvement and performing the best they can.  Whatever manifestation this anxiety takes, like every other form, it weighs a soul down.  It strikes at our very core and our identity as people and chips away at our own self-worth. The cruelest of all anxieties is the question of whether we are good enough to be loved and accepted.  Yet, God has a subtle and beautiful answer to this question.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

– Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV

We strive so hard to prove our own worth through our own actions and feats, but doing so will never distill the anxiety but only multiply it.  Grace through faith is the key to calming our anxious minds.  In the end, our works are vastly insufficient to produce a self-worth of any value.  But this is not the stem of our anxiety but rather are we good enough.  We ask the question over and over presenting our best works forward to the people around us in hopes for validation of a question that can only be answered by God.  “Am I good enough?” The answer from a loving God who sought us out in our ruin, is a most assured and resounding “yes.”

Insufficiency of Works for Anxiety

The advice that people seem to revert to time and time again is to “just push through” as if powering through an anxious mind and thoughts produces anything.  It is precisely this thought that is dangerous to its core.  The belief that we are able to solve a spiritual and emotional problem through physical means and performances ignores the core tenants of the Gospel.  The truth is that our works are unable to produce anything resembling salvation for our eternity or even for our temporary anxiety we face.

When we place our stock in our works instead of in the risen Lord, we will always come up short. Click To Tweet

When we strive to simply do more to prove our worth, there will always be more to do.  There will always be someone who can do better.  There will always be something more to achieve.  When we place our stock in our works instead of in the risen Lord, we will always come up short. Every action we make can always be improved and go further.  If we attempt to answer the question “Am I good enough” by our actions, we will be found wanting and not good enough.  While we should strive to continue to grow as people, this is different than putting our identity in what we do.  We are more than our actions and more than our ability to perform.

By Grace Through Faith

God alone can define our self-worth and ease our anxiety of being good enough.  As Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, Paul puts our works into perspective.  They are unable to produce goodness or salvation.  The question “Am I good enough” while it cannot be answered from our works can only be answered by looking to the works of Jesus Christ.  His death on the cross for our sake and for our salvation define who we are and whether we are good enough.  We did not nor could we earn it, yet we are loved no matter what.  Our worth is defined by our identity in Jesus Christ and is made evident by God’s continual pursuit of our souls.  We are good enough because He is more than enough.

For whatever you do and however hard you try to perform, God loved you even before you began and will continue to do so forever. Click To Tweet

If no one else tells you today, believe this to be true.  You are loved by God beyond your ability to earn it.  God sees you for what He created you to be.  You bear the image of God and He considers you a dearly beloved creation.  There is no force on earth that can separate you from the love of God.  For whatever you do and however hard you try to perform, God loved you even before you began and will continue to do so forever. Whether you succeed in your endeavors or fail at every turn, you are loved and have immense worth.  Nothing is earned which means you cannot be disqualified by your actions.

Talk It Out

Where is your biggest struggle with being anxious over not being good enough?  How does the work of Jesus Christ define us and our worth?  

Check out the other posts in this series by clicking here: Anxiety

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