About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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Reader Interactions


  1. And in case you need one more source of human reassurance: your words makes my heart happy 🙂

    I totally get that being-your-own-worst-critic thing. Just yesterday, I was trying to help someone understand how I’m my best AND worst competition in every arena – from grades (I’m a college student) to dance to writing to music to my relationship with God and now you see where this is going. Yep. Dangerous indeed. Competing with myself, I’ve found, is easier than competing with others but altogether unnecessary…because of this verse you held on to from Colossians.

    (Side note: have you ever heard the song “Completely Done” (Sovereign Grace Music)? If music speaks to you – it does for me – I’d urge you to check it out.)

    I hear often this talk of increasing/decreasing and He’s big/we’re small…and I wondered what it means, from day to imperfect day, to be small (in the right way). What does it mean for you?

    • Ah, that song is glorious truth! And yes ~ music is one of my love languages!

      To me, being small means turning outward, not inward. It means speaking Scripture so I see my value not overly or underly, but reality. It means focusing on Jesus in everything I have rather than on me and everything I don’t. It is hard but worth it.

      You are beautiful fresh air, Sonika. Thank you for your soul feeding encouragement. Love you. xo

      • We can talk about music – wahoo! Thanks for this wisdom, friend; I do love to learn from you. And yes, I agree that it is difficult…but I hope that we can live it out alongside each other 🙂 All the same to you and more <3

    • I agree with Sonika…I think we compete against ourselves and criticize ourselves way too much and unnecessarily. We are fully capable in God’s eyes and with God’s help…so next time we hear those inner judgemental and doubtful voices remember what God says about you!

  2. This is for me Kristen! I started a new job about a month ago and two days ago I went out to do a presentation which I think/know I flopped. I felt I had let my organisation down and since then I have been having serious doubts about whether I’m up to the job and have been so upset and terrified that I’ve made myself ill.

    So now this morning as I getting ready to face another day still feeling quite inadequate, and I read this post (I’ve not visited here for a few days) and I am blown away with how this message is totally directed to me.

    God bless you Kristen

    • Oh dearest, that is no fun. I’m praying now for God to grant you confidence afresh, and that your eyes see you and your abilities the way He does. We have fullness in Christ, sister! Let’s both walk in that truth!

    • Praying for strength and God-given confidence for you! May you feel and know that He is with you and will guide through everything! He gave you this job–He will help you keep it!

  3. Thanks for this! I’ll be repeating the “…and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” to myself and my family today! That is also a good one for getting rid of my complacency when I lack self control or don’t want to fight to control my tongue!!!

  4. “Devil static” — ain’t that the truth! I often scorn myself for that kind of speak, forgetting it’s a war and the Enemy wants to devour me, including my mind. I appreciate your perspective that we allow a roadblock when we don’t focus on His truth. This is powerful and transformative.

    Rich blessings, friend, as He shows you how we need you…how He needs you and your real-ness to give us encouragement that we, too, are “enough” just the way we are.

    • I think Holley Gerth first used that phrase “devil static.” It does perfectly describe his droning, doesn’t it?

      Thank you for your life giving words, Amy. You are joy to me!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing! Last night, at volleyball practice, I too fought off the impending watershed of tears, not because anyone else was criticizing me, but because I was criticizing me. The more I focused on my errors, the more errors I made, and so the downward spiral continued. What a great reminder this morning to see God’s grace rather than my own judgment.

    Thank you!

  6. Wow, this is where I was yesterday. I knew I was dealing with a mind full of lies but as I considered the state of my blog and my long list of unfinished to do’s, I couldn’t help but feel less than. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Annnnnd cue the full body goosebumps from the get go on this one. Oh man, you know how much I love you. You are not just an awesome encourager. You are so so wise. I love these lines so very much “Feeling small isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. But when our mind travels from small street to the corner of unworthy and untalented, we have arrived in a dangerous part of town. We are small because of our great God, not because of great people.”

    and then this: “If God is for me, who can be against me? May it not be me.”

    Amen and amen
    ~your sis

  8. How many of us women know exactly what you’re speaking of? Uh, all of us? Thank you, Kristen, for sharing this. I felt exactly the same way after getting home from Allume. As I was reading blogs from the women I met, amazing writers all of them, quite suddenly, I was small, insecure and (wait for it, wait for it) mad at myself for not being like “them”.

    Thank you, dear Kristen!

    • Oh yes, Jamie, don’t I know.

      When I feel the ugly urge to compare myself like this – and I feel it more often than I’d like to admit – I remember an (in)courage post the beautiful Angie Smith wrote a while back where she encourages us to ask God to humble ourselves and lift others up–> https://aws.incourage.me/2011/06/esteem.html Doing this helps me turn outward rather than inward, to focus on praising God for the gifts they bring to the table.

      And so I praise Him for all the beauty *you* bring, darling. You are cherished and loved and I’m so thankful to have you in this community! Shine on, sister! You bless!

  9. Thank you for sharing Kristen! I couldn’t hold back the tears as I read this. Somehow I grew up thinking I was never good enough at anything. Pretty much a failure at life! I know who I am in Christ, but this is something I still deal with daily. What a wonderful reminder that I AM ENOUGH in Christ!!!

    • Such an awful lie, Victoria! Telling on the enemy and proclaiming this anthem with you: I am enough in Christ! We have fullness in Christ, with more than enough abilities to do what He asks of us! So thankful for you and all the beauty you bring. ((Hugs))

  10. Oh man… It is an encouragement to hear the “you’re not alone” message today. I spend so much of my time torn between being in the public eye and feeling ridiculously separate & invisible. The devil’s tactics to call out any negative thing he can get his hands on… whatever question marks might be floating around my brain, to get me to focus on WHAT ISN’T instead of WHO IS… those things can weight down so heavily and unnecessarily, as you so aptly point out.
    If God is for us, who can be against us?? NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. I will cling to this, and keep clinging, and keep seeking His truth over my life. If that’s courage, then once again, today, I say, “I think I can…”. In Christ, I can.
    Thanks for the message of hope. I sure needed it.

  11. Thank you Kristen. For sharing so honestly. I think we all come to this place more often than we’d like to admit, no matter what we’ve “accomplished.” Even though we’ve never met, you’ve always been such an encouragement to me. Every word you put your hands to (and heart to) are so important. I know they have been to me.

  12. Through sounds of sobbing and blurred words due to tears, I say to you THANK YOU. Thank you for being open. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for being vulnerable and open just when I needed you to be! Confidence is robbed by comparison but resurrected by hope that is in Jesus! He is our ultimate confidence builder and confidant. (in)courage is such an encouragment!

  13. It’s interesting how easily we slip into self rejection. As if our self rejection is any better than the rejection of others. It’s not self protecting it’s self damaging. What deception.

  14. Oh girl … I know. Really. I feel the same way every year at Relevant/Allume. I look around and see only what I’m not … and the Holy Spirit (through dear friends and a deeply discerning husband) reminds me it’s all for His glory anyway. All of it … and when I lay down my insecurities right next to my abilities and my fears right next to my accomplishments, He does His thing! Every time … He gets glory because He IS glory! And I’m left in awe at His bigness and my smallness draws up close and relishes the truth that I’m not … but He Is.

  15. Thank you so much for your message and incourgement. I have a weekend coming up that I dread and it sounds so silly. On Saturday I have a baby shower to go to and hate the thought of just walking in by myself and talking to people etc. And the best part is there is no reason to feel this way(I keep telling myself that any way).
    On Sunday I will be helping my daughter at a craft fair, but I feel I’m not really that much help and my daughter is just being nice having me there. That probably isn’t true.
    When I read this back this does sound silly but I’m going to send it any way.
    The sad part about all of this is I’m 57.
    Thank you for this message any way and it does make me feel better and I have lots of faith that’s for sure.

  16. All I can say is thank you for giving these feelings a voice…..you spoke right to me this morning – Thank You & God Bless You. Praying to speak them myself to myself!

  17. We are small because of our great God, not because of great people…those Words are so true and such a real comfort to me! We all need Jesus just the same. Thank you!

  18. Thank you for posting and for your vulnerability. It’s a fight to keep my confidence too, Kristen. I’m thankful that even when the devil spits those lies, we can remember that God is on our side and He has given us powerful weapons like Colossians 2:10. I’ll also be speaking that over my life and my family. In and of my own self I’m nothing, but in Him, I have fullness … enough.

  19. […] Sometimes, the things that make us ugly cry hardest are bold faced lies the Enemy shouts to condemn. Lies I too often grab onto and run away with. Today, I’m sharing a story about a time I did just that, but also how I’m bold faced telling on him. Join me and bravely share your story, too?   […]

  20. Kristin,

    I’ve spent the better part of this week stumbling all over that issue! Comparison has kept me stumbling like a drunkard between arrogance and despair. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time berating myself for not being like the other gal and all the while missing the point. God has not called me to be like her, or do what she’s done. He’s called me to do what HE asked me to do, and to be like HIM.

    If I’m striving for that, no matter how imperfectly, I have been faithfully obedient–and that’s what he asks. Someday I’m hoping to hear, “Well-done good and FAITHFUL (not perfect) servant. Come! You belong here! Enter into the joy of the Master you faithfully serve!”

    Thanks for being so candid. I can relate.

  21. I love it when several are sharing similar thoughts on the same day. This week our (in)courager group is talking about Balance and Time Management in ministry…something I crashed and burned at several times. I was so so hard on myself. I’ve run to the bathroom in every house we’ve been (9) in the last 12 + years and cried and said similar things to myself. I beat myself right down. For me the perspective changer happened when I started counting gifts last year. I began to see that there were actually good things, blessings in the middle of the mess…in the middle of the mess *I* was. That God has me right where I am, here and now, and it’s exactly where I need to be.
    What a way to tell ourselves the Truth! I love what you share here at (in)courage Kristen. So glad your voice is here. We need to hear these things.

  22. I absolutely feel like this most days. Thank you for the reminder–and the book suggestion too! I read Holley’s Amazing book and then promptly gave it to a friend.

  23. Thank you for your words…reading the comments shows us, I guess, that we all feel small – in the inadequate way – at some point or another! Thank you for the reminder that the God who created the universe is for us, and knows us, and created us for His purpose!

  24. Thank you for this post and sharing your insecurities with us. I feel this way far too often. I’m a very shy person, so any new experience to me is nerve-wracking. Just last night I attended RCIA at my local church and felt so insecure going in there when I know little to nothing about God. The thought of being surrounded by people who go to church regularly and who ‘know’ God was completely intimidating to me. Sounds silly, right? Even as I walked to church, I prayed that God would give me the confidence and courage to make it through the class, and not turn around and walk back home.

    Thank you for the reminder!

  25. Thank you for sharing. I deal with low self esteem and low confidence on a daily basis.
    I pray and try to stay in the word. I also read women’s blogs to stay encouraged.

    I am trying to start a women christian’s blog and I keep getting these voices in my head that say you are not good enough. You can’t do this. But I know, that practice makes perfect and “I can do all things through christ who strengthens me”.


  26. Thank you. Especially the verse on fullness from Christ. I have been in the midst of a battle with depression for months and some days I literally feel like a shell that is beginning to crack, much in need of that fullness. I am amazed at how many times I’ve opened the email from Incourage to find a blog post that pierces my heart with exactly what I need at the moment. I truly appreciate your honesty.

  27. Thank you so much for posting this! Boy did I need to hear this today. I just started really diving into writing more, and just started a new blog. Most days I’m really excited about this and where God has me but today was just the opposite, it was discouraging and sometimes I doubt because I don’t know where I’m headed. But that really isn’t our job to know is it?
    Thank you again for the reminder that we are complete in Jesus, and we are enough. As much as I sing the lines if God is for me who can be against me, I never really thought that I could be that stumbling block, but the truth is I really am sometimes. This gives me a new perspective. Thanks!

  28. Wow. How your words today sound just like me. I have always struggled to feel as though I belong. I am my own worst critic. However in the past few weeks as I have been faithfully completing the Colossians bible study I am learning that God has always given me everything I need to be good enough. In fact I am so much more in His eyes. During this season of change and uncertainty for me your words “I have heart desires and soul dreams I want to birth. Some may need to be laid to rest on altars” brought tears to my eyes. Not in a bad way please know. It’s just that I have been hearing that still small voice of God tell me that I need to let go of some of the dreams I have had for myself to allow room for the dreams He has for me. It is always painful to let go of what we want but I am going to have to in order for God to bring to me what I need. Thank you as always for your words. They so often give voice to what so many of us are feeling.

  29. Amazing. Thank you for your transparency and honesty.

    Yes. Definitely get that feeling. I had my own little private meltdown on Mon night of this week feeling like a “failure”. So glad that you had friends to hold you up and give you right perspective on who you *really are*.

    In Christ is the only place to be.


  30. Oh. My. I have been having a royal pity party of my own, believing every lie the Enemy can tell me: not good enough, not enough, not smart enough. And to that you’re a failure at everything, and you will never amount to anything. And furthermore, you are alone. Thank you for your words. I am enough. I am a child of God, adopted into His family just because.

  31. Thank you! I found myself in the ‘dangerous part of town’ last night while lurking around the #FMFParty on Twitter… new to the whole thing, it can be overwhelming and everyone seems so connected and already in relationship there… it’s just too easy to wander down a quiet side street unaware of what lies in the wait around the corner! Thanks for the reminder… and the honesty so we not only find our way back to safety, but our eyes are opened to actually see those walking ever so slowly back to the Light right along side of us!

    (Deep breath… off to write my Five Minute Friday post now!)

  32. Well, there was this little room on a recent Saturday night with cupcakes that I was feeling awfully small in but I so appreciated your hug and encouragement. Thank you for that and for the vulnerability in this post. Lisa-Jo highlighted all my favorite spots 🙂

  33. Kristen, Gaww, this is just beautiful. You could’ve been writing my experience and heart so many times over and yes, it is a struggle to hold onto the truth about ourselves. I just wanted to say how much meeting you impacted me. I felt completely loved and accepted and I know you don’t know, but your words to me affirmed something that I didn’t even know I needed. A gift from God, really. I am blessed to know you and to listen to your heart.

  34. Kristin- did you see the ‘Be Small’ prints that Annie did at Allume?! First thing that I thought of when I read this. What a treasured message.

  35. Kristen…I am sorry you had this experience, but I love that you shared this with all of us. You know, at Allume the times that I got to talk with you are a treasure to me. You are wise, witty, funny, beautiful, write lovely words that speak to my heart…all of the things the evil one tells me I am not. Thank you for being YOU!


  36. Kristen – ok, ok, so, I am replying to you two times today! Your words are so real and raw and touch right where God has aimed them today. Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I am so with you in these emotions! Funny thing is, meeting you in person, you are absolutely beautiful and charming (and very clearly a great writer!). That we would remember to be small to Him, yet not stand in His way to live up to our potential for Him (self-talk here) 🙂
    Love to you, friend.

  37. Oh these crazy insecurities can creep up at the most inopportune times! But it was God’s time and He surrounded you with beautiful friends to ease the burden.
    You are enough and I am enough because HE is enough!
    (p.s. It happened to me at Allume when Sarah Markley made us all say “I am a writer” out loud…I was smack in the front row crying all snotty with too many tears to even see to find a tissue in my purse!)

  38. I would hug you if I could. So I send you a cyber hug… Big one. And say thanks. The enemy wants to silence you. Don’t let him. Keep sharing. We need you.

  39. Beautiful! I love when people can be real and make themselves vulnerable! It is so helpful to feel like you are not alone and God never wants us to feel that way. Iron sharpens iron! You are so loved… look how many women you have helped by putting yourself out there. 🙂 Thank You!!

  40. I always feel small and I am never good enough. I wonder why I even blog. I am so glad that you were able to receive encouragement! Thank you for sharing your heart. YOU ARE BLESSING OTHERS! Be blessed:)

  41. Oh yes, I’ve been there myself these last couple of days. My words have been “I can’t seem to do this, I haven’t got the willpower that others have”. However my God is a great big God and when I put my trust in Him and not myself, my attitude changes. I become strong in Him. One of His gifts is self control and today I accept that gift and realise that is a strength I was meant to receive. Self doubt is not from God so I can say no to that.

  42. I will never forget the day, fresh out of college and attending my first annual conference of like-minded professional artists….. and like you, running to the bathroom with tears in my eyes that I didn’t belong – wasn’t good enough, and never would be. That was 20+ years ago. Today, I own a small business in the same profession and have learned a lot, grown a lot, tried earnestly to follow the path that was laid out before me. I am still not the best of the best, or even close for that matter! But God has shown me that the gifts He gave me are good and useful, and He has placed many clients in my path that appreciate what I do have to offer. We don’t need to be what other people are…. God gifted us each with our own unique abilities and talents, and there’s surely a place for us to shine!

  43. Oh, Kristen. This: “We are small because of our great God, not because of great people.” This is such a huge part of my heart. We are all so small, all so significant in Jesus. This is so vulnerable on your part, and I’m so thankful for your words here & your presence at incourage. You are loved.

  44. Kristen… Thanks so much for your honesty here… It is fresh air. In your feelings of smallness may You encounter the God who sees YOU and knows YOU and delights in YOUR expressions of YOUR HEART. (Okay, so this is my prayer for me too.)

    Thanks for your heart and your encouragement…

  45. Oh thank you, you are enough, you are chosen to be his wonderful daughter and use your precious God given gift to BLESS little old me…
    As I head to work today I need a steady stream of confidence! I am enough and I am God’s hands and feet in my workplace, His loving, gentle, merciful daughter, and I just needed a reminder that while I am in God’s will I don’t need people’s acceptance, for I have His love and that by far is ENOUGH!
    Bless you xx

  46. Oh if i had only read this as soon as I got it in my email. My eldest sister is perfect or at least seems more perfect than I am. I struggle with comparing myself to her. It is a terrible flaw on my part. Thursday night, my mom was praising my sister’s efforts and I felt insignificant. Lately all I ever feel is insignificant.
    Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone in this struggle.

  47. I fight myself with not feeling good enough more often than I’d like to admit.

    Thank you for your words and honesty. I needed this today. (I really needed it yesterday and the day before that, too!)

  48. I know the small feeling so well. I live such a small life I sometimes get lost in it.
    In contrast to the verse you quoted, I recalled the verse I read earlier this week :
    For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground;
    he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2)
    He became small! For me.
    Thanks for sharing and being honest. For you that do this so well struggle with the same thoughts.

  49. Oh have I had those moments! So many of those moments! They happen. I’m learning to fight them. I’m learning to fall back into the presence of God and rejoice in how He made me. I’m learning to live life as ME, not comparing myself to others. Remember, I said “learning”. I’m not perfect at it. 🙂 I probably never will be. But I don’t think I’m meant to be perfect at it. Because if I were, I might stop falling back into God. And He loves me too much to let that happen.

    I used to beat myself up in the bad moments, chastising myself for acting “so high school!” But y’know what? It’s not just “high school”. It’s human. We don’t grow out of it. We will always long to feel good enough. So I don’t beat myself up for that any more.

  50. I have “devil static” all the time. Working in a medical clinic as the only CMA (medical assistant) with 3 RNs and 2+ NPs it is easy to feel a little “dumb, stupid, not good enough”.

    I have shed many a tear over my job & prayed immensely too. God has shown me that this is where He wants me and I’m good & smart enough to do this work!

  51. Kristen Strong. You are my new hero. Thank you for your brave words. Beautiful. I have been there. Wait. Let me make that present-tense. I AM there. I struggle with this. Present-day….

    I wish I could give you a real hug, but parantheses will have to do. ((((Kristen)))) And you are immensely talented! Just sayin’.

  52. Thank you so much for sharing! God is calling me to something different than what my current profession is…man is it scary to listen to His voice. Your post was so encouraging…thank you.

  53. Kristen – what a wonderful share. It takes courage to lead with your vulnerabilities. Thank you.

    In recent weeks I have found myself in several rooms where those around me feel like experts. They claim they’re not. I sure feel like they are.

    Similar to you I feel a small in their presence.

    Emotionally I’m learning to just be honest about how I feel (like you did with this post). To just say you feel uncomfortable.

    Practically, I’m learning something too (we all need a strategy once we accept our weaknesses and accept who we are).

    Ira Glass produces a show for NPR called This American Life. In a recent interview he talks about how:
    – You want to be a story teller because you have good taste
    – You will produce things for years and year before its any good. Your own taste will tell you that what you are creating isn’t good and it won’t be.

    He says: “The most important possible thing you can do, is do a lot of work.”

    Here is the interview – skip to part 3 if you want to jump to the above section: