Something I have struggled with my entire life is the feeling of inadequacy, like I can’t quite measure up to the expectations of those around me.
It filters into my marriage “Does my husband really think I am a good wife?”
It filters into my friendships “Am I just bothering my friends? Do they really actually like me?”
It filters into my parenting “I’ll never be a good mom. Look how I failed yet again!”
I’ve always just assumed it’s a part of who I am, that I will always battle this insecurity, so I may as well learn to live with it.
That is until recently.
Recently I became aware that it isn’t just a part of who I am, but rather Satan’s attempts to get me to believe anything other than the truth of who God has made me to be in an effort to keep me from doing that which God has called me to do.
It took my daughter struggling with many of the same lies I hear on a daily basis to really get my attention.
When my husband and I were blessed with the gift of our beautiful children, we made an intentional decision to pay attention to their gifts and talents and encourage them to put forth their best effort. We didn’t want them to feel that our love was based on their performance, but we also want to raise godly people who do their best for God.
So it came as somewhat of a shock to me when I noticed several months ago our newly crowned teenager, Emma, begin to tell us she wasn’t good enough. That she wasn’t smart enough to do math. That she couldn’t spell. That she wasn’t good at anything.
This is a girl who gets straight A’s. Who we are consistently told by her teachers how talented a writer and artist she is. Who recently discovered a hidden talent for acting. Who has always been brimming with confidence.
I wrote a bit of it off in the beginning to hormones. Emma is our first teenager, so of course we are learning this parenting of a teen thing on a daily basis. As youthful as my husband and I may feel, we *ahem* aren’t as young as we used to be and tend to look at our teen years through a filtered lens.
(Although, for the record, I am way closer to my teen years than he is.)
On report card day this past fall, I noticed a disturbing trend on Emma’s shop class marks. Because her class is at the high school in a neighbouring town, the teacher included a breakdown of the mark with all assignments and tests. Each assignment had a lower grade, until the last one, a failing one.
Let me be frank – practical arts is not in our family’s genes. We are why God created handymen. So it didn’t really bother me that her mark wasn’t great, I just wanted to know what happened. As I talked with her about, she broke down in tears, telling me how stupid she is.
And that’s when I knew it wasn’t just hormones.
The enemy was filling my precious girl’s head with lies.
The same lies he has filled mine with for decades.
I sat her down, and after giving her some practical advice on how to handle asking for her teacher’s help, I told her that the things she was believing about herself simply weren’t true.
I told her that Satan is intimidated by all the good gifts God has given us because he knows that God can and will use them for His glory. I told her that he will do anything – even make us believe false truths about ourselves – to stop that from happening.
Once she realized I wasn’t just telling her she is smart and beautiful and talented because I am her mom, she started to let the truth sink in. I let her know that God is so, so proud of what He sees in her. We talked about how when Satan begins filling our heads with lies, we can fill our hearts and minds with God’s truth, and I offered to help her find Scripture to refer to the next time she began to believe she was not good enough.
I can tell Emma got it. She no longer tells me she is dumb, or untalented. Her shoulders aren’t so slumped and her chin isn’t dipped so low. She is walking in the truth that Her Father has created her, and like all His creation, He looks on her and sees that she is good.
And definitely more than good enough.