Feeling unlovable or “not enough” for God is a theme that seems to keep cropping up in blogs my daughter and I follow, particularly those of young women. How sad that any believer would feel unworthy of God’s love! And I can only imagine how tragic the reasons for these feelings must be. My hope for these dear ones is that they would meditate upon the many promises of God’s gracious love in his Word—promises that have nothing to do with our own feelings, merit, or behavior, and everything to do with his goodness and mercy.
One of my favorite passages in Scripture that describes God’s love for each one of us is Psalm 139. This chapter describes his continual loving presence, beginning even before birth.
…thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. —Psalm 139:13b-14
As a teenager undergoing the most painful of awkward stages, I latched onto those verses. God’s hand had been upon me as a tiny unborn child, shaping me into a distinct and unique creation. How reassuring to know that his love did not depend upon my opinion of my appearance, intelligence, or personality. He made me to be not just “enough,” but absolutely marvelous among all other things he had made.
In college, I took a Bible class including a study of Ephesians. The professor had a gift for bringing to light the beauty of verses I’d never given more than a passing glance, including this one.
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. —Ephesians 1:6
He discussed that verse for an entire lecture—well, more than discussed it. He obviously delighted in that verse, and his delight spilled over onto us. He explained that through God’s glorious grace and the sacrifice of his beloved son, God had already caused each of us to be accepted. We didn’t have to earn brownie points with him. We didn’t have to attempt to be “enough” on our own. Seeing us in light of Jesus’ sacrifice, God had already accepted us. All we had to do was accept him in return.
Early in my marriage, I had the misconception that it was my husband’s job to fill my well of emotional needs. At that time, I was so upset by his inability to do so that I was convinced he didn’t love truly love me, and I not-so-sweetly told him so. But after I calmed down and we talked things through, he said something I’ve never forgotten.
“If you don’t like yourself—I mean, if you’re not happy with you as you are, you’ll never be happy with me or with our marriage, no matter what I do.”
Even then, he knew me so well. After some soul-searching, I admitted he was right. I was not happy with myself. Why? Because I did not feel “enough” for anyone—myself, my husband, or my God. Whenever I felt needy after that, I tried to ask myself: was my husband really to blame, or was I feeling guilty about something else, or inadequate for other reasons and lashing out at him? Most important, was I daily drawing strength from the realization of God’s love for me? Sure enough, when I focused upon that relationship above all else, I began to feel at peace once again.
To this day, being happy with myself means being secure in my relationship with God. When I know I am earnestly seeking to live in a way that would please him, I know I am “enough.”
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God…Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. —Psalm 42:5, 8
Aren’t you thankful you are more than enough for God? I’d love to hear from you.