Many of us, myself included, have been somehow convinced that we are not enough. We feel unworthy and inadequate. We forget our inherent value as humans and try to search for security in accomplishments and accolades.
We believe the lie that we don't measure up as ourselves. We chase after the praise of other people or flashy titles to feel valuable. We try to prove our worth to others.
I've done this almost all my life. In elementary school, I was Victoria the Big Sister. In middle school, I was Victoria the Musical Theater Girl. Later, I became Victoria the Dancer. Then, Victoria the Sorority Girl and Victoria the Honors Student and Victoria the Author.
These titles are good. These associations and accomplishments are worth being proud of and sharing with others. But the trouble comes when we make these titles our identities. We confuse what we do with who we are, because we don't believe that who we are is enough.
It is so tempting to get caught in the trap of identifying as our successes, or on the flip side, our failures. In reality, there is so much more to us. We are complex beings. When we gather our entire identity from one small portion of our lives, we minimize all the other important pieces of what makes us human.
Identity is not just who we are to other people. Identity is not found in what we got wrong or where we got lucky. You are more than what you do or don't do. You are more than who you know or where you came from. Those are all important parts of your life, yes —but they don't determine your worth. You are worthy because you are a human being with dignity and value and purpose. And that is enough, I promise.
But I know it can be so difficult to believe.
I struggle to identify as "just" Victoria.
In these past few months of job-searching, I've had to wrestle with the reality of my truly being enough.
Do I believe I am worthy when I can't prove it on paper?
Do I believe I am enough when it seems like others are farther along?
Do I know that my life, skills, and experiences matter even when I don't hear it from other people?
I'd like to say that I don't need a job title to feel confident and secure...but somewhere down the line, I put my worth in the hands of other people instead of listening to what God has to say about me. But is it really worth my energy to care so much about impressing people?
If I attach my personal worth to the praise of other people, my confidence is unstable. I am easily shaken and discouraged. But when I trust that my value as a human doesn't come from my achievements, I can find true rest. And isn't that what we're all in search of?
Over the past few months, as I've been stripped of the reputations and the affiliations that used to be my identity in college, I've been left with no choice but to draw my sense of self-worth from another source. I've had to stop rambling about my resume and looking to other people for validation and start resting in my inherent "enoughness" that comes from God, not my own actions.
I think all of this comes down to where you believe your worth comes from.
If you think that your worth as a human is based on achievements, prepare for a life of stressing and striving to prove yourself. No matter how hard you work, you will always fall short. If you think your worth is found in what others think of you, prepare for the exhausting and impossible cycle of people-pleasing. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to control other people.
If you think your worth depends on your works or others' opinions, you'll never feel like enough.
God designed each and every one of us with intention and purpose (Psalm 139). But, He also made it so that we cannot find complete satisfaction from our accomplishments or others' compliments (Psalm 16). If we chase earthly things that we think will fulfill us, whether its a job title or the approval of others, we will be let down. We shouldn't be shocked when we don't feel like we're enough. But we also need to know that our feelings are not the same as truth. We've got to stop confusing what we do with who we are.
I am enough. You are enough. We don't need titles or accolades to prove it to others, or to ourselves. We can learn to love our imperfections when we stop so desperately trying to hide or control them. And somewhere along the journey, as we learn to listen to what God says about us instead of what other people say or even what we think ourselves, we will find freedom from insecurity.
We will finally believe in our "enoughness,", not because of what we do, but because of who we are and who God is.