Big Questions: Am I Good Enough?
There must be something wrong with me. Everyone else has it together—they’re living fulfilled lives, with lots of friends and deep connections, but I feel so lonely. Maybe it’s because I’m too socially awkward. Or too boring? Or too emotional?
I’m just too much for people to handle. Or maybe I’m not enough?
Maybe I’m just not worthy of love. I need to work harder to hide these crazy parts of myself, because if people really knew what I was thinking and feeling, they would be horrified. They would be so disappointed in me.
I wrestle with these kinds of thoughts often, and even though I know they’re not 100 percent true, something about them feels so real and accurate about me. Why is it so easy for my mind to repeat these same thoughts over and over?
The answer is partly in the way our brains are wired. Our brains are designed to look for patterns and to create neurological pathways, so that thinking a thought or doing something becomes easier and easier the more we repeat it.
Learning to drive a car is hard at first, but the longer you do it, the easier it becomes. The same thing happens with our thoughts. The more we think something, the easier it becomes to think that same thought again because our brain creates a pathway to make it effortless. Our brains essentially get stuck in a neurological rut.
So how do we get out of these ruts?
1. We need to first realize that we have a real enemy who is attacking us with lies and accusations. The Bible calls this accuser Satan, and all this accuser has to do is repeat the lies to us enough times so that we start to believe it.
2. After we recognize that our thoughts are actively under attack, we need to identify the lies that we are believing. For me, it would be that I’m not good enough so I have to work hard to prove that I’m worthy of love and acceptance.
3. The final key is to replace the lies with the truth. I was talking to a friend about the lies I struggle with and she shared with me this mantra that she repeats to herself: “I’m not what I’ve done; I’m not what I have; I’m not who others say I am.” It was such a relief to hear those words, because I felt like it was unlocking some of the mental cages that I had been trapped in. Those words she shared are 100 percent true, and truth always brings freedom.
So if I’m not what I’ve done or what I have, and I'm not who others say I am, then who am I? The Bible tells me that I am loved, chosen, forgiven, worthy, free and made new.
I repeat this process of identifying the lie and replacing it with God’s truth sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes multiples times an hour. Some days, the sheer number of times the lies pop into my head feels discouraging.
But I remind myself to keep going, because I don’t want to stay a slave to those thoughts and be trapped in that unhealthy way of thinking. I know that only by taking control of my thoughts can I create new neural pathways that ultimately lead not only to transformed thoughts, but to a transformed life.
Find and share more thoughtful answers to life's questions at the Big Questions playlist on YouTube.