Telling My Story: On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace

Telling My Story_ On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace.png

After a bit of a refreshing, much-needed break, I’m back again. I’ve taken the past few weeks to breathe, to refresh, to learn and grow and visit my friends, and reflect on life.

 

A while ago, I wrote a post called When Your Soul is Longing to Be Enough, and to this day, it’s one of my favorites. I want to continue on with that theme, with a new and different take on it – one that’s even more freeing.

 

For years, I’ve inwardly wrestled with feeling adequate, good enough, complete.

 

When people would tell me, “Oh, you’re so good at _____,” I’d brush it off, mentally tell myself they didn’t know what they were saying, ignore the compliment and continue to believe that I wasn’t good enough. Not as a person, or as a performer.

 

As I got older, and understood my faith a little more, I would hear it said, “You are complete in Christ! You are new and pure in Him, and that is where your identity lies.”

 

And I grasped onto that belief, holding it firmly, afraid it’d slip away. Because some nights, curled up in bed with my journal in my lap and pen in my hand, crying out to God, I’d begin to disbelieve again.

 

There was this dichotomy in my mind, this separation between who I was in Christ, and how I performed – how I really and truly saw myself.

At church on Sunday and while doing my devotions in the mornings, I’d be inspired to live out my life in this newness, this beautiful identity.

 

But then I’d try and live my life, and I’d see my failures, my weaknesses, my procrastination, my ugly perfectionism, my mistakes, my inadequacies, my doubts.

 

And to think God valued me, in my sin? That I understood. I understood that my sin – my shame, ugliness, all of that – I understood that Christ paid for that. Perhaps it was because I never fully grasped the gravity of sin; I’m not entirely sure. As for sin, that was covered in my mind –

 

yet I drew the line when it came to believing that God accepted me in my frailty.

 

I believed that my identity – my grades, and work, and friends, and hobbies, and all my failures in all those areas – I believed they were all on me. If I failed in them, there was something wrong with me.

 

But one thing I didn’t think about for the longest time was this verse, about God’s strength being more than enough for my inadequacies.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

 

I always, for years, clung to this verse. I quoted it and wrote it down and memorized it and told other people about how God’s grace was sufficient for them.

 

But I never internalized it. I never listened to the verse for me. I never understood that my weakness – my poor grades, my bad habits, my recurrent failings – they could be used in my life to show of something greater: grace.

 

John 1:16

“And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

 

Somehow, so many of us fall into believing that Christ died for our sin, but not our mistakes. Yet the beauty of His sacrifice for us is that He didn’t just die to scrub us clean, but to restore our souls.

 

Mistakes, failures, inadequacies, accidents – these all arise from the nature of this world, a fallen one. They arise because sin has permeated the fabric of the universe, rotting it from the inside out, poisoning it with evil and immorality and iniquity.

 

But Jesus changed things.

 

Newness in Christ, fullness and value, that all was given to us by what He did on the cross for us.

 

He erased our debt, and gifted His holy and perfect identity to us. He loves us, and likes us, and delights in us.

 

To be honest, that’s hard for me to fully grasp. My Creator…delights in me? He calls me beautiful? He sees my failures, and yet gives me His strength? He forgives my sin, though there is much of it? He gives me hope and peace, at my lowest points?

 

To truly think like this, to see our identity as one we find in Christ alone, and not in our achievements at all, whatsoever – it’s baffling at times. Attempting to apply this truth to our lives often is perplexing – how does the goodness of Christ pertain to the fact that I was late for work, and said all the wrong things, and failed that exam I studied so hard for?

 

Identity is this: that our shortcomings do not define us. The perfection of Jesus does.

 

Who I am is more than what I do.

 

Who I become is more than just my hard work I put into being a nice person.

 

Who I am is wrapped up in the essence of Christ Himself – the very One who died to restore the world, to reconcile it to His Father, as it was before the fall. To reach our hearts and make them new, to call us His own, to love and adopt us and make us sinners pure.

 

We all still fail. We do. We make messes and twist things into ugly jumbles of mistakes and shortcomings.

 

But who we are is more than that.

 

We have the righteousness and goodness of Christ in us, in every single way.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

We are the righteousness of God.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

We are new creations in Christ.

 

Colossians 3:3

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

 

We have new life because of Christ, and Christ alone.

 

Maybe you’ll still struggle from time to time, as I do every now and again, with making this fullness and newness tangible. But in order for growth to happen, there must be some sort of struggle. Friend, let us struggle to fight for truth in identity, and meaning, and purpose.

 

Now that you’ve heard my story, I want to hear yours. What have you struggled with, and how have you overcome it? And what has God been doing in your life lately?

 

aj

*aj

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37 thoughts on “Telling My Story: On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace

  1. this is beautiful, and something that i think we all need to hear! the trap of identity is such an easy and pervasive one. thank you for writing this today 🙂

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  2. I struggle with the same things, Amanda. Thanks so much for writing this beautiful post. It’s so easy to get caught up in what the culture tells us about our identity; especially as young ladies. I’m ashamed to say I’ve fallen into the trap way too many times… thinking my identity is in how I look, perform, or how much I do. But thank God for grace. Thanks again Amanda ❤

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    • Thanks for sharing, Ash. ❤ I can totally relate; it's so ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of aiming for perfection, being dissatisfied when we realize we're not good enough. But you're so right. Thank God for grace. 😉

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  3. “Who am I that the eyes that see no sin would look at me in love and watch me rise again? Who am I that the voice that calmed the sea would call out through the rain and calm the storm in me? Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of Who You are.”

    It’s really hard to make this a living reality…I think that’s where the struggle is for me. I see myself fall short all the time. I see myself making mistakes, saying or doing things I shouldn’t, having a bad attitude about things and situations I don’t like, freaking out when things don’t go the way I expected, and then I tend to beat up on myself for doing those things. Yeah, I should work to overcome it. I absolutely should. But that doesn’t mean that God’s grace doesn’t cover it. It doesn’t mean that Jesus’s blood didn’t wash those things away. He loves me anyway, and I’m still a work in progress. I’m going to make mistakes, and God loves me anyway.

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    • That’s a great song. 😉

      I relate to that. I think we were talking about this the other day, that the more we strive for perfection, oftentimes, the more we fail. It’s frustrating — but sobering as it reminds us not to keep our eyes on ourselves, but on Jesus. When we’re focused on Him, we don’t want to sin; whereas, when we’re so focused on eradicating it from our lives, we often trip ourselves up more.

      So it’s a process. It’s about grace. And love. And the Holy Spirit.

      Thanks for sharing, friend 😉

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  4. Thank you so much for this post, Amanda. Although I wholeheartedly believe in Christ’s grace and my completeness in Him, it is so difficult to remember that Truth in reality, and it’s even harder to live it out. This post was a such a refreshing reminder and encouragement to live my life confident in Christ. Thank you so much!

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  5. This post is absolutely beautiful, and definitely something I needed. Your words are always written so powerfully.

    I think my struggles are…well, actually pretty similar, haha! I often struggle with not being ‘enough’. I consider myself to be rather average. Average intelligence, average looks, average talent. Sometimes I find the voice in my head telling me I’m even below average, to the point where it’s very difficult to love myself.

    And having God think I’m beautiful??? How can that be, when I can’t even find the beauty in myself? But I know that IS how He sees me, even if it’s difficult to believe. It’s just hard sometimes.

    I absolutely loved this post. It’s really given me a different angle to view my life, and I’m forever grateful to you for that. 🙂

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    • Thanks a bunch, Kenzie!

      It IS hard sometimes. It’s hard to see ourselves how He sees us, when we see our flaws…but because of Christ, He doesn’t see them. He sees righteousness. Beauty. Holiness. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

      Thank you for all of your ever-encouraging comments, girl. They mean more than you know!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amanda,this is something that really hit me hard today.

    Not even knowing that you Amazing Amanda struggled with all of these things and more. Always thinking you have not once been affected by any of these issues. I am so sorry for always just thinking boy Amanda’s life is perfect,she’s always so happy,everything is 100% OK all the time.

    I love you so so so much and always will. I have even though I’m mega old have always looked up to you and certainly always will. I will always be here for you my precious beautiful niece Amanda Joy Beguiere.

    Thank you for sharing what’s on your heart,what you personally struggle with and how eloquent you are.

    You are beautiful and again thank you for sharing!!!

    Love,Auntie Katie

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    ________________________________

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    • Thanks for your kind comment, AK. 🙂

      Most of us have silent battles we fight inside, lies we have to learn to combat with truth, even if everything looks fabulous on the outside.

      I love you too, and thanks for commenting!

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  7. This was incredible, Amanda! Seriously, I think this is something most Christian girls deal with (not sure about guys, but they probably do too 😉 ).
    It’s so hard to grow up in today’s culture. Satan uses so many things to get to us, and to speak into our lives, telling us lies about ourselves. Telling us we need to measure up to the world’s version of perfect/cool/popular/amazing/beautiful. We HAVE to do everything everyone else does, and if we don’t, we’re failing. It’s so tough sometimes (most of the time).
    But God sets a different standard.
    (Movie quote time 😀 )
    I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God. – God’s Not Dead 2

    I have used those exact words to describe myself sometimes: I’m not enough.
    And boy, do those three words have a way of really getting a person down.
    Thank you so much for this encouraging post, sister 🙂 . Its so encouraging to hear that we’re not alone in our struggles.

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    • Our culture is a tough one. Maybe they all are. 😛 But yeah, it’s frustrating to seem to be playing the comparison game every day. Nice quote!

      Thank you for your encouraging comment! You’re definitely not alone, Hayley. 🙂

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  8. Oh my goodness, yes… I am so much the same way. I’ve always been anxious for people to “like” me, and to be seen as someone good, and to always be “the best” at things. There have been several instances over the past year or so where God has used disappointment or failure to kill my pride in a way I didn’t enjoy, but looking back I can see how necessary it was. 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a verse that I absolutely love, too. =)

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  9. Wow, Amanda, that was just what I needed to hear this week. Thank you for your openness and willingness to share what God has been doing in your life. Miss you friend!!!

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  10. Thank you so very much for this Amanda! I’ve been wrestling with this as well, looking at all the mis-steps, slip-ups, and mistakes I make everyday, and somehow getting this idea in my head that I’m disappointing God. But that’s not true. Because when God looks at my life, His faces shines, He smiles. (Num 6:25) Because when He sees me, He sees His beloved Son. And I know when He looks at you, He is absolutely beaming! Thank you for all that you do!

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