What you believe about yourself and the standards you apply to your own life will determine whether or not you ever accept that you are enough.
To give you some back story, I have notoriously put mountains of weight on my own shoulders, thinking that it was something required of me.
Take, for example, the types of stories we all hear about where a person sells all of their possessions and buys a one-way plane ticket to a third-world country. They then go and start an orphanage with absolutely no resources and somehow end up becoming wildly successful and now travels the world to tell all about it.
I would hear stories like this and go home and start thinking about how I have too many worldly attachments. A lie began to form in my heart, telling me that I cared too much about money and I how am too unwilling to lose everything all for the sake of the Gospel.
I took these stories and beat myself up with them.
What was supposed to be an inspiration to dream bigger with the Lord, became a pressure to make it happen.
Yet, the truth is that no one ever asked me to do any these things and the pressure that I placed on myself to up and live this kind of life actually just weighed me down, and consequently, made me feel like I wasn’t enough.
Another example was about 5 years ago when I was living back at my parent’s house after going to Bible School and spending a summer Missions School in Mozambique, Africa. When I came home and started trying to settle back into my life, I had a breakdown.
My mom heard me crying through my bedroom door and came into my room to find me in an emotional mess. She called for my dad and the three of us sat on the floor as I cried and apologized, saying, “I can’t save a million people, I’m sorry. I just can’t do it!”
My dad turned and looked at me and asked, “Grace, who told you you had to save a million people?”
I took a moment, thought about it and told him:
The truth is that I have heard the most amazing stories of individuals having an impact on millions upon millions of people. I have been in the same room as people who have planted thousands of churches, impacted an entire country’s religious status. They have seen thousands of people converted in a matter of seconds, raised people from the dead and even they, themselves, been raised from the dead! I have sat in rooms, huts, and chapels with these people being told that I, too can have this kind impact on the world.
But this information can either inspire you to go after those huge dreams in your heart, or it can completely crush you underneath the weight of what “could be.”
I let it crush me
I don’t have any answers other than this:
We live in a day where success, depending on your sphere of influence, looks like being the best in your field. Achievement means standing out amongst the crowd. We’re all trying to climb this ladder of social impact that feels like a never-ending cycle of highs and lows of self-esteem. Self-imposed standards of what we assume are required of us to live an “impactful” life.
I took these stories of greatness as mandates; not as inspiration. It became too much – I had to learn to agree with my heart when it was telling me that it couldn’t take any more pressure. I had to learn how to be honest with where I was at.
I had to let go.
If I can be any encouragement to you as you read this, I want to tell you that you are more valuable than the pressure you’re under. Sometimes loving yourself means saying “no” at the invitation to an opportunity that may give you more influence, but crushes your soul. Let God be God and learn to be His child.
If you have dreams like mine, it is up to God to see those things through. You cannot get there on your own.
Go at the pace of God
So I encourage you to go at the pace of God, and if He says “run” – RUN! But if He says “rest”, you need to trust that He holds your future and He alone can make those things happen. He alone can promote you to where you need to be.
You are so much more than your social impact.
I’m so glad I decided to be a friend of Jesus instead of a slave. And I’m so glad I decided to lay down my ego and my impossible standards for a life that I can actually enjoy.
My new standard is to be loved.
And that’s where true life begins!