It's a declaration. A shaming statement. The one I know isn't true but for some frustratingly elusive reason, I still get ensnared and agree with it. Recently, I even started to own it.
"I'm not good enough."
And, there it is. It doesn't always approach me so directly or reveal itself so clearly. Sometimes the source is manipulative, sneaky, or the lie is simply masked as something easier to digest.
It can be fleeting ungratefulness. I wish I was more (extroverted, funny, personable, eloquent, nurturing ...)
It may be a me-versus-her comparison. I can't do what she just did.
It could be a veiled judgment. You're swimming in the wrong pond. You aren't skilled in this area.
It might even be a soft threat. It's taking you away from your real responsibilities and making you fail at them too.
It's an identity crusher. Who do you think you are?
I look backwards in time and try to determine when I started to embrace the thought. Yes, I know it's not truth. I always have and always will know this. In fact, it's the oldest enemy-promise in The Book. Yet, it still charms me in the darkest sense of the word. It slithers around my insecurities, takes hold of my weaknesses, and pulls me under as oil-thick waves of doubt close around my heart. Actually, it starts as a thought, but it soon morphs into a feeling. I realize I've been "had" when the feeling rolls into a choice.
I can't do this. Why am I still trying? It's hopeless. (Insert helpless self-condemning sigh.) I should just give up.
And, I almost did.
I can't believe I'm sharing this. But, I must. If I continue to sit with it in my secret places, the devil will win. It's where he wins all his battles - in the dark.
So, I'm bringing it to light.
On two occasions these past two months, I had this thought: I wish I had never even written this book.
I struggle with perfectionism. In fact, I'll be discussing this in greater detail on the stage later this month. For now, know that my whole life has been filled with the weight of expectations. Growing up, life wasn't easy but it was smooth. I worked hard, and it payed off. Though, most assumed that everything was easy for me. I made the straight A's, excelled on all the sports teams, joined all the clubs, and so on. Their labels and expectations turned into my own labels and expectations. So much so that if anything was difficult, I thought I wasn't supposed to be doing it.
And, that's where the world and a life following Christ intersected with a sonic boom.
In order to write Clay Jar, Cracked, I spent three years staying up late at night while the rest of my family slept. I needed the quiet ... the space to write. To cry. To write again. I had never been a very good writer and have no formal training, so I had to learn how to write. My ever-patient editor and I spent hours on the phone painstakingly going through each paragraph to ensure my story flowed well for the readers. Three. Long. Years.
That was the easy part.
It took another two years of self-publishing and then for the more traditional publishing process. There were covers to design, back cover contents to write, photographs to take, a biography to write, genre comparisons to make, price points to research, copyrighting to work through, phone meetings, marketing calls, fundraisers, book launches to plan, ....
That wasn't the hard part either.
No, the "Not Good Enough Lie" was reserved for this third stage. The enemy was waiting for when I was the most deeply invested and the most fatigued to snake into my mind and wreak havoc in my soul. As we all know, it's when he's most effective - when we're at our weakest.
This third stage is the most critical. It's the point when most authors fail, for it's when we're most likely to give up. This segment is the on-going, long-term commitment to promote our stories and our messages, despite the needle on the gage moving up only tics at a time. Sometimes, the needle even falls back to zero. It's the most disheartening point of an author's journey. I hate it.
All I ever wanted was to share my story in order to be a source of hope for others, but this world of books, publishing, competition, and other stressful activities dragged me away from my purpose. I had become so focused on numbers, finances, what other authors were or were not doing, and on what book buyers were thinking and doing, that I lost site of the WHY. I actually forgot why I had written my book. I forgot that God was in control.
I started minimizing God's power and plan as I bought into the lie that it was all up to me, and that I wasn't good enough. Not good enough a marketer. Not dynamic enough a speaker. Not extroverted enough for interviews. So, I almost quit. The wrong side almost won.
Thankfully, I'm not alone, and God reminded me from where my strength and power can come if I just let Him do His work.
I am good enough because I have the Holy Spirit. I am good enough because God equips those He calls. I am good enough because I don't have to figure it all out; He already has. I am good enough because I don't have to be perfect; He already is.
2 Timothy 4:17 --
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.
And, He stands with and strengthens you too.
Influenced by rest and relaxation, Philippians 3:12-15, 2 Corinthians 13:9, 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, my story as told in the book Clay Jar, Cracked, and my prayer life.
©2012-2017 Cortney Donelson. All rights reserved.
Cortney's book, Clay Jar, Cracked: When We're Broken But Not Shattered is available now on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and other retailers, as well as at www.cortneydonelson.com! Visit www.cortneydonelson.com for more information and to learn about the "I'm a Clay Jar" Encourager Class for groups! To schedule speaking engagements, please email Cortney directly.