As a seventh grade student, I sat in music class eagerly awaiting the chance to show my music teacher the instrument I had made. I wanted him to be proud of me, to say, “Well done!”
Several of my ideas for instruments had failed, but I had finally come up with a stringed instrument made from a cardboard box and rubber bands of different widths and lengths that were stretched to make a variety of sounds.
My classmate presented his instrument before I had a chance to show mine. I can’t remember details, but I do remember I thought it was fantastic. So did the rest of the class as they clapped after he demonstrated it. The next thought that went through my mind was, “Mine is not good enough. It doesn’t measure up to that.”
When the teacher asked, “Does anyone else have an instrument to present today?” I kept silent. I hoped Mr. P wouldn’t notice the paper bag beside my desk which contained evidence of my inferiority. After class I hurried to the bathroom and threw the instrument into the trash.
Whenever I battle “not good enough” feelings—which I have fought most of my life—I think of that day years ago.
Since then God has done so much to set me free from the badgering voice in my head that tries to convince me “what you have to offer is not good enough” which translates to “You’re not good enough.”
My battle with “not good enough” feelings flares up when God calls me to use my gifts. I look at books that are bestsellers, and I want to hide my own writing in a desk drawer. I observe thriving evangelistic ministries, and I want to forget about witnessing to a neighbor. I hear public speakers who encourage thousands and sometimes millions of people, and I want to back off from opportunities to speak to small groups that invite me to share my insights.
Despite my doubts about being qualified, God has used me to reach others through my writing, witnessing, and public speaking.
God has also called me to sing for others, and “I’m not good enough” can echo in my mind much louder than the words to songs He calls me to sing. My argument is, “If You want me to sing, why didn’t You give me a beautiful voice?” Then I remind him of singers I hear on the radio.
Despite my sense of “I’m not good enough,” God has used me to soften hearts of listeners as I see people cry after I sing a song (No, it’s not because my singing is that horrible) and tell me how much what I sang touched their hearts.
And when I play my guitar and feel like such a novice, people express deep gratitude for sharing my musical abilities. One man even said lately, “You’re a great guitar player.” I’m realizing that if people don’t play an instrument, they appreciate others doing so—even if they aren’t professional.
God reminds me repeatedly that He honors my best efforts. He doesn’t compare the gifts I offer to what others offer. And He reminds me of the truth of the saying, “Little is much if God is in it.” If I use all of my gifts to help people and honor God, I see tremendous results take place—in my heart as well as in those I reach out to.
When I’m bold enough to offer my gifts, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem to me, He never says, “They’re not good enough.” Instead I hear Him saying when I obey His calls to serve others:
“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV
How about you? Do you hold back from serving God with your gifts and talents because you feel, “I’m not good enough?” Today if God calls you to use a gift to grace someone else’s life, say “yes” and discover how He can use even small offerings to change people’s lives.