“Hey, Erica! I was hoping to see you today.”
Erica turned to see Chloe coming up behind her in the church foyer. “Oh, hi, Chloe.”
“I wanted to show you something,” Chloe handed Erica a piece of paper.
Erica looked it over. “A piano contest?”
“It’s more than a recital; it’s a songwriting contest. You come up with a song and some lyrics and then play it and sing it at the contest. I showed it to Ashley and she thought you’d be perfect for it!”
“So there’d be people judging me?”
“I know it can be a little nerve-racking at first, but you’ll do great. I can help you practice, if you want.”
“I don’t know, Chloe. That sounds…” Erica hesitated.
Chloe smiled. “Think about it. You can let me know next Sunday if you want. I really think you’d be great at it, Erica!”
Erica re-read the paper as Chloe walked away. Singing one of my songs. In front of judges. And an audience.
She folded the paper and stuck it in her pocket. Not likely.
We live in constant fear that others will see us for the frauds we feel we are. We’re afraid they’ll think we don’t measure up. That we’re not good enough.
News flash, friends. We don’t measure up. And we’ll never be good enough.
All the self-help books and feel-good motivational posters we can read will never bury this inescapable truth: You and I are not good enough. Whether the people around us tell us so or not, it’s true. We fail, make mistakes, and look ridiculous. Sometimes all in the same day. Even in our best moments we’re mired down by memories of past mistakes and fear of future ones.
It’s time to face the music. We’re scared of being found out.
But what if we already have been?
The Bible Says…
We spend so much time worrying about the thoughts going through other people’s minds. Other people. People just like us. What about the thoughts and plans of the God who made us?
Our mind-reading attempts on other people rarely land us anywhere productive (or even accurate), and it is even more ridiculous to think we could ever guess the thoughts of God. In an extraordinary gesture of kindness, God wrote His thoughts down, and gave them to us.
We don’t have to wonder.
God knows us and everything we try to hide.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
“And he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts’” (Luke 16:15).
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10).
“For he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).
We have nothing good in us.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (Psalm 51:4).
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Can’t Get the Medicine Without the Diagnosis
The Bible seems to agree with our self-assessment on our bad days. We have so much we want to hide, but we can’t—God sees it all. Ironically, though, it is only through acknowledging these hard truths about ourselves that we begin to find a way out.
The secret to our fears of insufficiency is knowing they are true: We are messed up.
It is one of the most hope-filled words in the Bible. But. Here those three letters remind us that our future isn’t determined by our past or even our present, but by the all-powerful God who is writing our stories.
“…[W]ash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:8-9).
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:4-8).
Like a doctor who knows his patient’s only hope is through radical medical intervention, God tells us the truth about our hearts. And then He provides the antidote. Because of the free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be whole and clean and perfect and complete.
God has seen our deepest, darkest secrets – even things no one else knows about – and knows just how dark and twisted and bad we are.
But He didn’t leave.
All of these fears we have that people will decide we aren’t worth their time and walk away?
We are not worth God’s time. But He isn’t leaving.
He paid the debt for our darkness by giving His own Son, and freely offers to accept us as His own. His adopted children.
All of those fears and insecurities have no basis anymore. We have been made alive! We have been given the perfect righteousness of Christ! We are loved by God!
And when God is for us, “who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
We are free. Free from trying to measure up or resting on our own abilities to be enough. Free from bondage to others’ expectations or our own goals. Free to live for the God who rescued us—and for Him alone.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).