I bought myself a pack of gold stars today — just marched right into the craft store and claimed them. No one stopped me and said, “But you haven’t earned those. You can’t just go running around with gold stars for no reason at all.” I didn’t get locked up in imposter jail. The cashier looked entirely uninterested in my purchase.
This purchase was the culmination of months of me saying to Mark, only half joking, “I just want someone to tell me what to do and then give me a gold star for doing it.” With all the uncertainty in the world, I just want clarity followed by kudos. Is that too much to ask? I’m an expectations-meeter, and this past year has upended all expectations. How am I supposed to function without knowing the rules or what’s next? Maybe you’ve felt that way too?
I’m doing an online life coaching course as continuing education, and yesterday the instructor talked about how we all approach life either from a position of “good enough” or “not good enough.” He told the story of a CEO who came to him for coaching because he felt dissatisfied in his career. This CEO started out in the lowest position at the company and seemingly little to offer. But he worked hard and got a promotion, then another, and so it went until decades later he reached his current position.
“Why am I not happy,” the man wondered, “When I’ve been successful?” The problem, it turned out, was that he still didn’t believe he was good enough. He needed the next promotion as proof and when those ran out, when he reached his dream, instead of feeling satisfaction, he felt despair.
I thought about this later and how it felt a lot like my need for gold stars. “Just one more gold star,” I’d tell myself, “then I’ll feel okay about who I am.” I’ve had my share of spectacular failures, but I’ve also had enough success to make those promises to myself start sounding hollow. Yes, maybe for a few minutes or a day I’d feel a little better, but the insecurity would always come back.
I realized being “good enough” couldn’t be based on emotion for me, or it would forever remain elusive. It had to be a decision. But, if so, a decision based on what?
We have a pond behind our house, and every day on my walk I pray, “God, thank You for the bullfrogs.” And every day I mean it. These frogs don’t do anything productive, have won no awards, do not tweet (that I know of), and yet I’m enamored with and grateful for their froggyness.
Maybe bullfrogs aren’t your thing but you’ve probably experienced something similar. The birdiness of birds, the beachiness of the beach, the part of every created thing that brings us joy simply because it is.
It is this essence of who I am that makes me enough, that makes you enough. I am good enough because I am the work of a good Creator. I am good enough because of the mysterious work Jesus did on the cross that made all things right, including us. I am loved for the Holleyness of Holley. You are loved for the youness of you. That is it. That is all.
I am deciding to believe this no matter how I feel. So today I drove myself to the store and bought a packet of gold stars just to show I didn’t need anyone else to give them to me. When I got home I wrote on a little tablet, “I am good enough today, and I have room to grow tomorrow.”
That’s what the gold star junkie in me, who sometimes gets lost from grace, who thinks she has to prove her worth, who forgets that she’s loved not for her “excellence” but her divinely-created essence, really needs to know.
Yes, we are good enough today because God says so, and we have room to grow tomorrow.Leave a Comment
Holly thank you for your encouraging and inspirational post. There are many a days when I feel not good enough. Reading your post has made me feel otherwise and remind me that i was “fearfully and wonderfully made’ and I am ‘God’s masterpiece.” I thank God for directing me to open the incourage me website and read your encouraging and inspirational post. Holly thank you.
Carol Brown says
I agree, thank God for directing me to this site. Aryan, you are not alone in worrying about–am I enough–and you are. We are God’s beloved. Thanks for sharing
This is a perfect message. Thank you. I have spent the last 15 years of my life trying to figure our why I was not enough. What I could do become enough. And then finally realizing that it was not me that wasn’t enough to begin with. It is hard to overcome the feeling of never being enough. So, your statement that I have room to grow gives me the grace I need to know tomorrow will be good.
Babette Baker says
Thank you Holly for sharing this! I needed it and I wrote in my journal what you wrote on your notebook and I spelled tomorrow wrong lol. God is Good and He loves us flaws and all!
Carol Brown says
Yes, He does and I was feeling really flawed today. Holley, thank you for sharing. And thank you God for helping me find the comments–which touch my heart today. Thank you Babette that God loves us in spite of ourselves.
M @ In Beautiful Chaos says
BEAUTIFUL and so needed! May we all be reminded that our worth comes from God, not our achievements, our looks, our possessions, or anything else!
Brenda M Russell says
This is a beautiful reminder to me. I have been truly blessed and prosperous in my 62 years of life. How is it that it’s easy to go along and think that we are not good enough today. Time is on our side, tomorrow we can grow.
Children would learn to do their best every day. Then we wouldn’t have to criticize others for their lack of progress, in our opinion. Also the self analytical demeanor could become healed and healthy.
Knowledge is so valuable.
Thank You Lord for how You teach Your children.
Kathy Cheek says
I think sometimes it goes beyond wanting to feel good enough, but wanting to feel significant and feel that we have purpose. I suppose that is all wrapped up together. I also think sometimes we forget that we are each a unique miracle created by God and that is where our significance and purpose originates. This is the truth that can turn our striving to be good enough into accepting we are who God made us by His beautiful design.
Thank you for reminding us we are still growing!
Carol Brown says
I agree with your comment. Even when I do know I am doing what is right and good, sometimes I want others to affirm that it is making a difference. I am trying to assimilate that when I do what God wants—that is all the affirmation I need.
Beth Williams says
Loved the message “you are good enough today & have room to grow tomorrow.” I need that. I am a praise junkie. Love it when people compliment me, but when I forget something or make a mistake I feel like a failure. My inner self needs to feel significant. Like the work I do matters. Did I make a difference in your life or help out in some big way? Like you said there is always room for growth & we can learn from our mistakes. Thanks for a great message Holley!
Margo Stretch says
Like you Beth, I want to make a difference. So I need to consider: how do I live so that my words and actions and what I spend my life on will make a lasting kingdom difference? My best conclusion is it boils down to loving God, myself and others. Loving sacrificially which is what Jesus shows us. It is this life long school of love that we need to keep enrolling in; and not just the head-knowledge, but also in the laboratory of relationships where the rubber meets the road.
Carol Brown says
Praise junkie–that is a new word that I am adding to my vocabulary because you are describing me. I wonder why I need the outward and visible praise from others when I am simply being me–God’s beloved. That should be enough, so I think I have room to grow. It also challenges me to make sure I praise and compliment others, Thanks for sharing and helping me grow.
Thank you for this! It really spoke to my heart today. And when I get stuck in the “I’m not good enough” mire, I pray that God will remind me that we are (I am) God’s workmanship, HIS work of art, created for good works in Christ Jesus.
Carol Brown says
It also speaks to my heart. Your reply made me realize that I am, in my own insecurity, sometimes judgmental of others. I am God’s beloved as the people I make a judgment for not being enough for me–are too. Thanks for sharing. Holley, God used you today to speak to my heart. Rita, you reminded me think of God’s workmanship.
I love this, Holley! Thank you!
Susan Orr says
You are CERTAINLY good enough and MORE. Your message is perfect. Thank you,
Michelle Shoemake says
Love this! I always have the feeling of not being enough and needing approval. I need to remember I am good enough today and have room to grow tomorrow. Thank you!
Margo Stretch says
I’m not sure if it was Holley or another in-courage author years ago who emphasized the word “pre-approved” of our true status. We are preapproved in Jesus. Will I, will you, depend on constant approval of others (the social media driven mindset of today), dissing the finished and permanent acceptance given to us by God himself? We all live with this challenge, don’t we?
Thank you, Holley! This is just what I needed to hear today. Your words helped me to define what I am also feeling, that “I’m an expectations-meeter and this past year has upended all expectations.” And And that I am good enough today because God says so.
Michele Morin says
Yes to all this!
The question I keep bumping into is,”How many gold stars do need to earn before I am okay?”
Thanks be to God, we can stop keeping score!
Margo Stretch says
I love this post Holley because you’ve articulated so well a struggle that is so common, if not universal. I say universal because as I reflect on your words, I think we’re all stuck in the tension of the reality that we’re both ‘good enough’ and ‘not-good-enough’. We’re good (valuable) enough for Jesus to love us to the point of dying for us and continuing to accept us ‘as is’, (in ALL of the collective sin of humanity); while we’re ‘not-good-enough’ to the point that he had to suffer and die for us. This is true; it’s reality. And we live with this paradox everyday. Add to that the culture of excess (of everything) we live in that ~ again paradoxically ~ leaves us with a scarcity mindset and insecurity. I find it helpful in this struggle to accept that I am both good-enough to be loved and to love, to belong to the Lord, to myself and to my loved ones. But I have to know with humility that I’m also not good enough, left to my own devices. There’s grace for that, and this is why I need Jesus and his ongoing redemptive work in me. I cannot expect to be perfect; this human condition I find myself in doesn’t allow for that, but gives me the saving grace of God through Jesus. And in Him, when my merciful Father looks at me, I’m always adorned with a gold-star, not a blot of darkness. I love how you summed it up on your notepad: good enough today, room to grow tomorrow.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Thank you Holly. You done it again. You said the words I need to hear. Something has hurt. Not by words. But I just wish this person in my life would be I know there not saved. That should matter in their life a we bit more. caring towards me. Plus should show it to me. I am that person that my Husband would say Dawn your way to caring for your own good. I say he would be right. I do because I love them. God would have me do it to show his love to them. Your message spoke to me. I feel with this person I not good enough. Yet he spends more with the others in our family than me. I have best person that care for me. I am always good enough for him no matter what. That person is God. Who made the Heavens and the earth. He give us all Gold Stars. Then at times Gods looks down and says no need to be too kind at times as there is a kindness that can mean two things being kind and an over kind. As you can let your kindness be too kind. Go over board with it. Then people use you. Feel you have to be over kind or people don’t get notice. Done that in the past. So God showed me this and it has helped. This person will not change until they get saved. God said all I want you do be kind to them yes help them. Live your life for me in front of them. But don’t be over kind to them. Always tell them you love them. I do that. It has helped me alot. I don’t let them thinking of others more than me get to me as much. I know God is pleased with me. So is my Husband. Thank for today reading. Love you all incourage. Keep you all in prayer. Xx
Jennifer Johnson says
I have to use a compression machine on my legs once a day to help reduce swelling. For the longest time, I really wasn’t doing it and I actually ended up in the hospital. I was trying to think of incentives to get me to do the machine. I decided on gold stars stickers! So for every day I use the machine I get a gold star. I put them in my journal and I now have several pages and my legs look pretty darn good!
Carol Brown says
Today I am in the pit of despair and I so needed to be reminded that I am God’s beloved and that is always good enough. I am struggling with listening to God about something He wants me to do and my own personality that longs for humans to give me a gold star. I am going to march right in and put a star or something that every single day I am enough–because God says so. Thank you so much for this witness. It is one of several that affirms I am God’s beloved.
How deeply touching your article has been to me, Holley! Thank you for putting it in the right perspective. If we are good enough for God (and we most certainly are!), then who are we to think otherwise and why should we care what other people think of us?!
We all need to hear this in this climate and place in time❤
For years I was told how ugly, stupid, crazy, and how no one would want someone with two children. Someone who had long ugly hair and stayed at church. I was slapped, beaten, cursed, spit on, and put in the hospital several times. I began to believe I wasn’t exactly what God wanted but I knew He was all I needed. I knew if my husband took my life I still had the hope and promise God gave us. If I walked away from that, I lost it all. Sometimes we need to look back and remind ourselves just what jewels we are to our Lord. Just how much He loves us. He gives us little nuggets everyday for us to treasure like gold stars. We just need to take a deep breath and see the smallest blessings and know. I am so blessed everyday by these readings and shared words. I thank God for each of you. May you all be blessed always, in all ways.
Camilla Hubbard says
For some years I have felt “not good enough for God” – have felt maybe I was not a “real” Christian -that maybe I never gave my whole self to God, because I kept on tripping up in the same old ways, and He must be sick of me constantly asking forgiveness for the same old thing day after day. Thank you Holley for your post today, and thank you to all the lovely ladies who post amazing and encouraging words on this site. I have been so encouraged by you all, and by the respondents too. I do know in my heart that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, unique, knitted together by God – and that I am too!. Just have to keep reminding ourselves! So thanks for the encouraging words to help with that.
Arun K Tirkey says
We are good enough for He is good, who made us. He gave us the most precious gift at the Calvery and, made us complete and not wanting. As Psalms 23 ensures me that the He is my Shepherd and I shall not want….He leads me to green pastures…. Surely goodness and love will follow me all days, repeat, all days of my life…….
Therefore, we should never ever think that we are not good enough as this would mean that we do not trust Him…….But, we all do and look up to him from where our help comes from.
Oh my goodness – “the Holleyness of Holley” is exactly what I am grateful for, too! You have no idea how many times I have read and re-read your book “What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days”! Your writings are personable, relatable, and inspiring all at once. I’d love to sit beside the frog pond and have coffee with you!
Thank you for reminding us that each of us are a delight to our Maker by just *being.* Bless you!
Theresa Boedeker says
Great reminder. We are good enough because we are his creation. And that is enough. He says we are enough, not us. Or our emotions.