I don’t always share my feelings very well; especially when it comes to expressing my feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes I do not feel that I am enough! Usually, my honesty is met by gasps, surprised looks, and well-meaning words. As I am growing, I’ve learned it’s okay to express our imperfections. It’s okay to say that sometimes we don’t feel like we are enough. I decided to share my challenges and lessons learned based on listening to Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfections. Something about her disclosure in the first two chapters resonated with me and I needed to share my voice.
I’m a ministry leader. Sometimes I’ve struggled with the concept of not being enough. Ministry used to be more God-based but has transformed into deeds based routine. This pressure has defined who is considered a “leader” versus those who are not. It has morphed into who is the most successful at capital fund campaigns. It has transitioned into who can build the best programs with the most recognition. It has even become, “How am I doing compared to other leaders?”
When I first stepped into ministry, I struggled with perfectionism. Excellence is wanting things to be done well and to the best of your ability. Perfectionism is making a thing’s success or failure about your value. If, for example, I was leading a program I would gawk if a person misspoke based on the outline I provided them. Even if 99.9 percent of everything went well, I focused on the 0.1 percent that didn’t go as planned. My thoughts would fixate on how well I performed, versus if God was honored through my planning. I wanted to have the perfect sermon. If it wasn’t as “good as the last time” in my estimation, I failed. Don’t get me wrong. We should want our service to be the best it can be but at what expense?
I see a scary trend in ministry that we can’t ignore. It’s the performance-based presbytery. We want our congregants to be honorable, integral and vulnerable but we struggle with doing the same. We are afraid to admit where we’ve failed so that others can avoid the same pitfalls. We would rather hide in pride to save our reputation. We casually compare ourselves to the next leader or the next ministry versus allowing God’s word to convict us and compel our growth. We hide behind church duties and have missed the need to engage with others. We are much too busy preparing for Sunday morning when God never intended us to frame our lives around a single day. Let’s be honest leaders. Sometimes our efforts are based on our feelings of inadequacy. We feel that we aren’t enough if we don’t follow the trends of up and coming ministries. We try to mimic the success of others when we don’t even know who we are.
As I’ve been on this journey, I’ve learned that whether I write the next bestseller or just hug someone who needs encouragement, I am enough. I don’t have to meet a checklist to receive God’s approval. He loves me as His daughter whether I am sitting on the couch or sitting among a council of dignitaries. My value isn’t determined by the tasks and appointments I’ve received, it was already confirmed at my birth. Whether I travel the world or touch one heart at a time I am enough. I am learning how to disrobe of the need to meet people’s approval. They will never be satisfied no matter what you do. In fact, you will burn yourself out trying to appease every person. Just embrace who God has called you to be. Follow His lead. What lives could you impact if you accepted you are enough? You don’t need a long biography to prove you are worth something. It has already been proven. I hope in some way my transparency will help you to confront the lies you have believed about yourself as a leader. I hope it challenges you to discard the masks that keep you from being confident in your skin. Most of all, I hope you take a deep breath and know that your worth and value has already been proven. When we accept our identity, then those we serve will be more willing to embrace theirs.