I’m curled up on the corner of my couch, laptop in front of me, thoughts swirling in my mind. It’s been one of those days when no matter how hard I tried I still felt like I fell short. Have you ever had one of those days too?
I click keys and spill out my thoughts. I fill up the page and then hit “delete.” I do this over and over, clearing out the clutter of my inner critic. I keep going until I type one line that makes me pause…
Just because something I do could be better doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.
That might seem obvious, but to me in that moment, it felt revolutionary. Because until then I would have typed those words differently…
If something I do could be better it means it’s not good enough.
That is the anthem of perfectionism, the anxiety-provoking mantra of the “try harder” tribe to which I’ve belonged my whole life. I can tell you this from experience: those kinds of expectations will make you crazy. Because here’s the reality, we are not in heaven yet and therefore everything can always be better. If I wait until everything is as good as it can possibly be before I let myself be happy, I’ll be waiting until the day I die.
I place my fingers back on the keyboard and I type one more statement . . .
Just because YOU could be better doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.
This is what grace means: that we in all our mess and brokenness are still enough. It means Jesus went to the cross and rose from the dead so that we could be holy and whole. It means that when He said “it is finished” He also declared “it is enough” over our humanness.
The enoughness we long for can’t be found in improving our performance or becoming a perfect person. It can only be received, not earned. This is transformational, heart-freeing news.
I start writing statements . . .
Just because I could be a better wife doesn’t mean I’m not a good enough one.
Just because I could be a better writer doesn’t mean I’m not a good enough one.
Just because I could be a better friend doesn’t mean I’m not a good enough one.
How would you fill in that blank?
Just because I could be a better ________ doesn’t mean I’m not a good enough one.
We live in the tension of who we are now and who we will one day be in eternity. Despite our best intentions, we will mess up today. Even when we try our hardest, we will fall short. This is the frustration and limitation of being a human on earth. But it is not something we can fully fix; instead, it’s a reality to embrace. Why? Because it shows us how much we need a Savior.
I finally stopped typing and had a list of at least twenty statements I’d completed like those above. It felt like a weight had lifted from my heart. I went online and found a hand-lettered image of the word “enough.” I put it on my desktop as my screensaver so I could see it over and over again. (I briefly considered getting it tattooed on my wrist but I’m scared of needles so we’ll go with this for now.)
It’s the word so many of us need to hear today: Enough.
Yes, we will always continue getting better at what we do, becoming better as we grow into the people God created us to be. This is the joyful work of a lifetime that God promises to complete the moment we step into His presence. But the incompleteness of that process now doesn’t mean we are failing. It’s so important for us to know deep down that’s true. Maybe it’s a reminder you needed too.
Just because you could be a better ________ doesn’t mean you’re not a good enough one.
That’s true today no matter what because of what Jesus has done.
Holley Gerth’s brand new devotional, What Your Mind Needs for Anxious Moments: A 60-day Guide to Take Control of Your Thoughts, releases next month! Want a sneak peek? You can read the first 3 devotions for FREE! If you’re among the 1 in 5 Americans who have anxiety, enter your email here and you’ll receive encouragement from Holley’s new devotional right away.
Ariel Krienke says
Just because I’m not good at exercising doesn’t mean I’m not enough. Thank you
Thank you for this. I was literally just thinking that I really need to “get my act together”. I am a mom of 4 and school starts soon. My life feels a bit messy in general right now. I checked my email as I was taking a short “break” to sit down with my toddler and drink my tea, when I saw this devo. God’s timing is perfect, and this was just the encouragement and reminder I needed this morning.
Holley Gerth says
So glad this was timely for you, Iris!
Nikki S. White says
“The enoughness we long for can’t be found in improving our performance or becoming a perfect person. It can only be received, not earned. This is transformational, heart-freeing news.”
Yes, what heart-freeing news! Thank you for delivering it to my “try harder” heart. God has shown me this truth again and again, but I am still learning it. (and that’s OK!)
I was deeply moved by your words this morning, Holly. Clearly, they were enough.
Holley Gerth says
I’m still learning this truth too, Nikki!
Rachelle Coffland says
I agree, as a wife, mother and working professional I am constantly thinking I could (should) be better. I don’t spend enough time giving myself grace that I have done enough. Thank you for this article this morning.
Anna Gibson says
Just because I could be a better daughter in law doesn’t mean I’m not a good enough one. Thank you for this!
Holley Gerth says
Oh, a big AMEN to that!!
Holly, as usual, your post has hit the mark! Reading your posts always makes me feel uplifted, encouraged and more importantly, hopeful! Thank God for you and your wonderful gift!!!!
Holley Gerth says
Thank you for those kind words, Cheyla!
Diane Burns says
I actually have Tetelestai tattooed on my wrist for the same reason…Paid in Full! I had it tattooed last year and I look at it all the time as a reminder, I love it. I am one of those 1 in 5 with anxiety and at times it is all consuming so I need to constantly remind myself that God’s got it!
Holley Gerth says
That word is so beautiful, Diane!
Janet Williams says
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Holley, I can’t even tell HOW MUCH your words hit home today..
Pearl Allard says
Just what I needed to hear after the day I had yesterday! Thank you.
Thank you for this Holley!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Thank you Holly for sharing you heart. What you wrote was so true. We can all at times think we are not good enough at anything or what ever we are meant to be doing that day. Should it be Wife a Mother Sister or Friend. We can get this idea in our heads look at so and so what a great Wife Mother Sister and friend they are. We shouldn’t do that. We should never strive to be like them. God made us just the perfect people he wanted us to me. He has different ways that he wants us to be Wife Mother Sister and Friend to these people in our lives. God does not want us to try and be anyone else. Only be the perfect people he made us to. We all have our own unique ways of being a Wife Mother Sister and Friend. To the people we know. As God made us all different and he would not want us to try and be someone we are not. God loves us for the people we are. That he loves and made us to be in his eyes. So God loves us the beautiful people God made us to be.You remember you are a Daughter of the King and that King is Jesus. I say Amen to that. I had to learn to be myself and not try to be anyone. As God showed me Dawn you are unique just the way you are to me. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little
I love this truth… but, what if we don’t want to simply be “good enough”? Just because I could be a better mom, doesn’t mean I’m not a good enough mom. My heart really has trouble settling for being a “good enough” mom because I do want to be that “better” mom – for them. Good enough doesn’t actually feel “good enough”. Ugh!
Thank you for this. My mama’s heart needed to hear it. It feels so defeating sometimes to feel as though I fall short as a mom. I try so very hard. Thank you for the encouragement today to keep going and keep trying.
Teresa Christie says
Us ladies always seem to struggle in this area. Sure we can and should strive to improve ourselves but recognizing we are already ENOUGH, because of the finished work of the cross, is so liberating. Thank you Holly
Marilyn Bradt says
Thank you so much! After sitting up most of the night worrying and searching for an answer about my dog child and my husband’s distance this gave me the peace to pray and move on with my day. Blessings
karyn j says
thank you SO MUCH!!! i literally just wrote the fill in the blank statement on my mirror, in my journal, and on a sticky to remind myself and to speak into and over myself when i forget or when the pesky lies of perfectionism and not enoughness creep in. i love this post and thank you for reminding contrary to the lies, i am NOT the only one who sometimes feels this way!
Becky L says
Being a mother to an adult daughter who lives with us can be a struggle at times. Sometimes I feel like not talking to her. Too much to explain but I know most of the time is good. I appreciate your post Holly. Thanks for encouragement. I plan to keep walking even though I still have problems walking at times after my fall in 2020. God is always with us. PTL!!! ❤️
Judy M Wagner says
Thank you for this, very timely. My father passed away on Aug. 2, 2020 after being on hospice for over 2 months. I have been having a difficult time thinking I wasn’t a good enough daughter for those months. I have always been a perfectionist and a bit obsessive/ compulsive and always wanted everything perfect. I felt like everything I did for my dad was wrong or not good enough. We even fought several times those days because my care and actions were not what he wanted or needed. I just felt like I couldn’t do the right thing. But my care was enough for him as his daughter. The care he really needed then was from the Lord, the relief of pain and the freedom from a body that no longer functioned the way my dad wanted it too. And who was I to think I could provide that kind of care? Only God could do that. My dad passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord that morning and a few months later I received a clear message that it was all good. God is good– all the time! And I am enough!
Beth Williams says
Great encouragement as always! I have felt not good enough at lots of things over the years. God has been working on me for years to help change that mindset. I see others baking homemade bread, sewing quilts, etc. & I feel less than. Suddenly God had various people tell me I’m a good cook. They really like my food & want my recipes-even the one who makes homemade bread. WOW! I have to give myself & my family grace. Allowing us all to mess up still be enough & loved by a great God.