This article is for you and me both.
Because the raw truth is, I have often wondered if I am enough.
Today, I made red-skinned potatoes for dinner, instead of jasmine rice to go with chicken. That was not what was wanted. I refused to make rice in addition to everything else because I knew it wouldn’t be appreciated. And either way, I knew I’d feel like what I do is never enough. (We still had rice, I just didn’t make it.)
What our scars tell us.
Several times during my marriage, I learned that my husband had a girlfriend. Yeah, he told me they were “just friends” but I knew differently. Like somehow I was so stupid that I didn’t know the difference between an opposite-sex work relationship and one with romantic motives. (If they have to hide it or cover up their tracks, it’s wrong – they know it and you know it. Trust those instincts, they’re usually correct.)
But no matter what untruths I was being fed, I could not help but internalize that I was just not enough – not good enough, not pretty enough, not doing all the right things to keep my marriage healthy, and certainly not loved enough to keep him from straying. I was never enough. Even if all other women are so easily discarded and replaced in his life, why wasn’t I enough?
That abandonment scar is trying to tell us this lie – you’re just not enough! That we’re to blame for him leaving, abusing, cheating or continuing to look at pornography. That because he can’t see us as enough, that there must be something wrong with or missing in us. That somehow, we can make up for whatever is missing in his life, that causes him to lie, cheat, sneak, and deceive.
But we can’t!
We can’t be Jesus in anyone’s life. We can’t save anyone, we cannot rescue them from themselves, or put them on the right path. They have to want it, and need it, for themselves. No amount of wanting on another person’s part will change that person.
We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change. – Henry Cloud
These guys are very comfortable right where they are, so no need to change. Most just find a new partner and start the cycle all over again, because there was nor ever will be any painful consequences.
The judgment of others.
I like to be appreciated for what I do. Not constant pats on the back and tons of thank you’s – although pleasant, I don’t need that (because my love language is “quality time” not “words of affirmation”). But hearing criticism or being wrongfully judged that still hurts. I grew up in this kind of environment.
It’s a basic human need to be heard and understood (which is sometimes more important than being loved).
I know I need to break the habit of making it my problem if someone criticizes me, judges my heart before they know me, doesn’t like me, doesn’t understand, or even just feeling that they don’t. Because I know not everyone will like me, what I have to say, or what I believe, even if 98% of my readers tell me how I’ve encouraged and empowered them.
But that other 2% seems to scream louder than the rest. At least in my head sometimes. I recently watched Chonda Pierce’s mini-movie, Enough, on Netflix (I had several days in bed battling my Lupus) and I can relate to much of what she was saying about this topic. When we feel like we’re not enough, the meanies and critics hurt more than all the praise ever will.
The human race tends to remember the abuses to which it has been subjected rather than the endearments. What’s left of kisses? Wounds, however, leave scars. – Bertolt Brecht
There will always be opposition.
I receive messages and emails, mainly from men, telling me I’m wrong, (implying that I’m) stupid, or sexist (yes, I’ve been called that!) because I don’t coach and write to them too. I also receive (I’m sure very well-meaning) advice saying, “Jen, you should ________” (fill in the blank with create more videos, make better quality videos, do more interviews, write more often, write another book, send out more emails, don’t send emails as often, not sell products, create more products, do a podcast… and on and on.) Is your head spinning yet? Mine too!
Sometimes my emails get marked as “Spam” instead of someone just unsubscribing. This hurts other readers/subscribers as well. Several readers have told me they’re not getting my wanted emails or even their order receipts (after a purchase).
I’m sure most people don’t intend to be hurtful, maybe they just don’t understand, but it’s hard not to internalize all these things as my fault (totally my problem, not theirs!). That I’m not good enough. That all that I have been doing and continue to do is not good enough. That maybe this is not the “job” for me. I can’t speak right, can’t write right, can’t seem to keep up and support my family too. That scar that says I’m not enough, gets opened up wide when I think about it.
But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. – Job 36:15 NLT
Maybe God is trying to get my attention. I know that this is not the truth about me, but it’s still a struggle. This or anyone on earth can’t be where I find my worth.
You are a gift.
In all of this, I’ve learned that every single one of us is enough, even if we struggle sometimes, even if a small percentage don’t see it. It’s that 98% we need to listen to, and believe, not the 2%. I do have people in my life who love me just the way that I am, flaws and all. Learning and growing as I need to. They see past the pain and hurt that I’ve experienced in my life and see me as a gift. They take the time to understand and see my heart rather than assuming they know me from one blog post or video.
What you do is a gift to others. Whatever you do for your career, for your ministry, and/or for those who you love (and hopefully love you), is enough. Even if they can’t see the value that you bring to their life or all that you have to offer, you alone are enough. Their lack of sight is not your problem to fix.
God wrapped you up in the most beautiful packaging and gave you to the people in your life – your parents, your husband, your kids, friends, family, and so on. Just because they decide to throw you away, doesn’t say something about you, it says way more about them!
One day you and I will be gone and they will miss all that we’ve brought to the table, to their lives. And maybe then they’ll see. But until then, God sees you, knows all that you do, and knows your worth.
You are loved by Him!
Reminding myself too.
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Are you starting to feel your worthiness after divorce?
May God bless your healing journey,