I often feel like I’m too much and yet somehow also never enough.
There are some days I can confidently carry the responsibilities of life with ease, and then other days, I used to believe I just didn’t have “it.” You know, whatever that “it” is that some people seem to have where they’re just good at life? I often felt like something was wrong with me, and for the life of me, I couldn’t fix it. But then God took me on a journey I didn’t know was even possible. The longer I live on the other side of it, the more I believe He wants to do the same for you.
So I’m going to share my story. It’s a story of how God speaks to us. How He’s constantly pursuing us. How he wants to lead us to deep healing and fullness, and how He’ll use anything to help us hear him. While you read, I have a challenge for you. If anything comes to mind for you, write it down.
It was the middle of July, and I was solo-parenting my three girls for the next week while my husband was out of town. It was OK, though. I had mentally and emotionally prepared myself for this week. “I’ve got this,” I told myself.
The first 36 hours went fine. Then came hour 37. I woke up to a few piles of dog vomit and dog turds lying around my bedroom and bathroom floor. Coooool. Well, at least it’s out of their system right? Ugh. So wrong.
For the next three days, one of my dogs has constant diarrhea. Also, it was summer break, so my kids were home all week long. Plus, my usual sitter was out all week, and I couldn’t find anyone else to watch the girls so I could go to work. By this point, I’m not so sure my one-woman pep rally could carry me through anymore. Mentally and emotionally, I was spent.
I unraveled pretty quickly for the rest of the week. The list of things that seemed to go wrong as I slid very downhill rapidly to a massive pity party felt endless.
I accidentally gave my diarrheal dog buttered rice two days in a row.
I remembered 10 minutes before my counseling appointment that I had an appointment.
I failed desperately at keeping my grass alive through a mini draught.
I broke a wine glass.
I forgot to buy coffee (of all the weeks, HOW could I forget?)
I yelled at my kids more than I care to recount.
And the list goes on. Now, I realize these are not real problems. These are like, first world problems. But the intense emotions I was feeling because of these silly issues occurring back to back? Those were real problems—intense emotions like shame, guilt, anger, sadness. There was serious pain attached to my perceived “failures,” and I didn’t know why.
I had this nagging feeling that God was trying to get my attention, I reached out to a mentor of mine—a woman who guides me whenever I have questions—especially spiritual or relational ones. Most of the time, we just process how God is trying to get our attention and what we think He might be saying. We met the following Monday once my husband returned. Everything was back to normal: my dog stopped uncontrollably pooping, the rain came back, coffee was replenished, and my kids still told me they love me. All should have been right in the world, but it wasn’t.
As I began to share with my mentor, tears were forming under my words, and I hated it.
“I am too much, AND I’m not good enough. Somehow I feel inconsequential and small AND yet somehow, if I’m not careful I’m going to break everything.”
I start rambling, and the weight of the week prior spills out. I’m definitely crying now. I’m so frustrated. I feel so broken and helpless. I hear myself talking, and I feel ridiculous that these are the things I’m crying about.
ALL THE WHILE, playing like background noise in my head is that stupid Maybelline commercial from when I was a kid. You know the one. It’s actually been sitting there all week. Like, always just under the surface of my normal conscious thought, waiting for a quiet moment to solidify its catchy tagline into my thinking.
“Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.”
Now I really break. “I wasn’t born with it. I don’t know what “it” is, but whatever “it” is, I don’t have “it.” As I spoke that lie to life, a memory from childhood comes rushing back. It was suddenly clear that God was showing me when I first started to believe I wasn’t enough.
I’m sure I’d seen Maybelline commercials before, but at this moment, something different happened. I agreed with that catchy little lie. Funny how God uses memories as one of many ways to speak to us.
There I was, six years old, just watching some cartoons, waiting for the commercials to end, and BAM! That ridiculous tag line took root in my mind that I simply wasn’t born with “it.” I accepted a negative self-judgment. It wasn’t traumatic. It wasn’t abuse. It was simply the nature of being a little human growing up in a world that is disconnected from its Maker.
The Bible makes it clear that we’re all broken. None of us have what it takes to be good enough on our own. But the good news (literally, that’s what the Bible calls it) is that we don’t have to—that’s why Jesus came. He came to be what we can’t be, and make us into someone new—the best versions of ourselves that we could never be on our own.
As I broke down with my mentor, I was finally admitting a lie I had believed about myself for way too long. Even better, I realized how pointless it was to try to fix it on my own. What I needed was to let myself break down and let Jesus step in to do what only He could do for me.
Psalm 51.5 says, “Lord, I have been a sinner from birth. From the moment my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
“All have sinned” language might feel intense. But “sin” simply means anywhere we’ve missed the mark of the goodness God intended for us. Even an unsuspecting little 6-year-old watching a commercial when I silently and subconsciously agreed that I wasn’t enough.
The realization that I’d been trying my entire life to be seen, wanted, noticed, loved, etc. cracked open at that moment. And when it did, Jesus’ truth was able to speak so much louder than a mascara commercial. I realized that I didn’t have to believe that lie any longer.
The more I let myself admit what I’d never wanted to face, the more God took me to a deeper place of awareness and healing. As silly as it seems, He really does speak to us in all sorts of ways. My thoughts began to fill with scenes from a kids’ movie (#momlife) as I realized I’d been on a similar identity journey to one of the characters.
“Do you know what I feel like?” I continued with my mentor. “I feel like the girl in that movie Wreck-It Ralph.” If you aren’t familiar with Wreck-It Ralph, the movie is about a bunch of arcade characters who come to life, and one of them doesn’t get to be part of her own game because she glitches. And glitches are dangerous. Glitches are less than.
“I feel like a glitch. I feel like something got crossed in my wiring.” I recounted painfully. I have always felt like I can’t do things as well as other people. I can’t do things right. I mess it up. “Some days, I’m fine, and then other days, I glitch.”
I continued processing, and I’m full-on ugly crying. As the next revelation begins to unfold, slowly, I begin to smile. “But, you know what happens at the end of the movie?” I say, choking through the sentence. “She finds out that her birthright was stolen from her. That someone made her glitch on purpose. She’s actually a princess, and at the end of the movie, she gets her crown back.”
You see, it wasn’t lost on me at this point what God has been trying to show me. How He’d been trying to heal me of a deep-seated belief I’d held about myself for a very long time. A belief that wound itself so tightly to my identity, I could never have disentangled it on my own. A belief that kept me from owning who I was as a redeemed daughter of the King.
Later, when I had time to decompress, I started reflecting on the strange journey my memories had led to. Oftentimes I get pictures or words in my head when I’m talking to God, so I asked God to heal me from this memory. I wanted to “repent” or turn away from thinking, “I don’t have it.” Here’s what happened next.
In my mind, I went back to that memory of six-year-old me back in front of my TV. Everything was the same except that now I saw Jesus sitting in my living room. This time, I saw Him turn off the TV mid-commercial. He opened the blinds, and sunlight came pouring into the room. My little six-year-old self stood there watching His every move.
He came over to me and knelt down, taking my hands in His. He looked at me and said, “Catie, I made you with eternity in mind.” With that, He produced a crown out of nowhere and placed it on my head.
You know. Just a casual day when Jesus, the King of Kings, interrupts your memories and heals a part of your soul.
Is that weird? Maybe, but if you don’t know, one of the perks of following Jesus is that you’re now an heir to His Kingdom (Galatians 4:7). God looks at me and says the same things over me as he said to Jesus. He calls me beloved. He calls me His child (1 John 3:1). He reinstates the authority He always intended me to have, and he speaks into my identity (2 Corinthians 5:17).
He tells us that the enemy of His Kingdom has come to steal, kill, and destroy, but He has come to give us life and life to the full (John 10:10). Believing lies about who I am doesn’t allow me to walk in my identity. It shuts down the fullness of who God created me to be, and He died to set me free.
Perhaps you know the lies you believe about yourself, and I’m sure there are some you aren’t aware of because maybe you don’t allow yourself to get there. When our negative emotions surface, we typically do one of three things: Avoid. Blame. Wallow. Maybe you hit all three, but I want to give another option.
Bring your negative emotions to the one who created you and knows you better than you know yourself. Bring ALL of yourself to the one who knows every hair on your head and every thought as you think it. Jesus wants to reclaim every part of your heart and renew your mind in order for you to live in His freedom.
Practically speaking? This will require time to reflect and ask—why? Why the pain? Why the reaction? Why do I keep feeling this way? It could take a week. It might take longer. It will definitely take a community that you trust and the ability to be vulnerable as you tell God and others about the darker parts of your life. BUT His redeeming freedom is on the other side of it. That’s the funny thing about encountering Jesus—he always knows exactly what to say to get to the heart, and he wants our minds renewed by Him. He’ll use anything (memories, unexpected thoughts, or even mascara commercials and a kids’ movie) to show us the way.
So bring them, all those lies and doubts, and lay them down. Don’t live another day letting a lie tell you who you are. Instead, turn to the one who made you and crafted your identity Himself. And when another lie comes to the surface, because it will, take bold steps of vulnerability to dismantle it. Keep talking, digging, and chasing after His truth, because it really does set us free