Rachel Hollis recently blocked me on Instagram.
Although I agree with many of her points and think she is a talented speaker and businesswoman, the foundations of her message motivate me to speak out.
Her message and the self-esteem gospel–summed up in phrases like “believe in yourself, follow your heart, and don’t break a promise to yourself”–put the responsibility for ultimate happiness, joy, satisfaction, and freedom from shame and sin onto the individual. While we have a responsibility to choose happiness, true joy, satisfaction, and freedom are only found in Christ.
So I’m not going to be upset when a famous person disagrees with me. It just motivates me to tell you:
You’re not the hero of your own life. You’re not the author of your story. Don’t follow your heart.
Work hard. Make hard decisions. Take risks. But give the glory to God. Rely on his power, not your own. Trust his guidance in your life before your own. Know that your heart is deceitful above all things and can’t be trusted. Have bold audacious faith to trust that God will write a better story than you so you don’t have to hustle relentlessly for it.
Jesus is the hero of your life.
Jesus is the author of your story.
Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life.
True freedom is found when we believe that God is the source of our joy, freedom, and satisfaction, because that frees us from the responsibility of those burdens.
Girl, You’re Not Enough
People comment that telling women they’re not enough is too negative, or dangerous, or a step backward. But we only find true freedom when we embrace that. When we profess that we’re not enough, we find the freedom to quit trying to be enough. When we know we have full acceptance from Jesus, the God of everything–that is when we are truly enough. It’s not dangerous to tell women they’re not enough, it’s dangerous to tell women they are fine as they are. Because you, me, and everyone you see is desperately in need of a savior to free them from that deep feeling of inadequacy.
So this is the good news:
You’re not enough.
There is One who is. Jesus. He lived a perfect life on Earth and died blamelessly in our place. He took our sin and traded it for his goodness, perfection, redemption, and glory. THAT is what makes us enough. It’s the only thing that makes us enough. He takes our place and says that when we believe Jesus is the Lord–that we’re not enough– he will stand in our place and make us completely “enough.”
Timothy Keller says in his book The Reason For God, “Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from him (168).” He continues, “Kierkegaard asserts that human beings were made not only to believe in God in some general way, but to love him supremely, center their lives on him above all else, and build their very identities on him. Anything other than that is sin.” The Self Esteem Gospel preaches that the center of our lives is ourselves, and that we should build our identities based on our desires, feelings, and who we want to be. “…the primary way to define sin is not just doing of bad things, but the making of good things into ultimate things.” Many of the ideas the Self Esteem Gospel preaches are good things, but they make those good things into ultimate things, like Keller says.
The Self Esteem Gospel tells us that a change of mindset and positive thinking will solve our feelings of inadequacy and “not enoughness”. But those methods keep us stuck in the problem we’re desperately trying to escape. Mindset and positive thinking won’t change our problem that is rooted in a world in need of redemption.
If feeling inadequate and “not enough” is something you can’t seem to shake, I would encourage you to talk to a friend, pastor, or, preferably, a Christian counselor. There might be a history of abuse, shame, or neglect in your life that is keeping you from seeing your worth and value in Christ. Find someone who will speak truth into your life and help you see that you are enough in Jesus.
Just because we know we are not enough doesn’t mean we aren’t worthy of love and dignity. We don’t measure up to the standard of God without Christ, but He still says we are loved, chosen, and worth dying for.
I want to be clear that being treated with anything less than respect, honor, and dignity is not what God wants for you or has done for you. Accepting that you’re not enough means giving up striving to be enough but gratefully accepting the one who is.
That feeling we all get that you’re not enough? It’s right. But it should direct you and I to the one who is. The one who loves us so much he came into our brokenness and died in our place. “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30). Instead of pushing away that feeling, let’s embrace it–because it’s the only way to true freedom.
You are not responsible to find happiness, joy, satisfaction, and freedom from your shame and sin from within yourself or from your own efforts. Jesus has already done that for you.
The world tells you that believing you’re not enough keeps you trapped. Jesus says that professing you’re not enough is the only way to freedom (Romans 10:9-10).
So, girl, wash your face? No. Girl, you’re not enough.