I recently visited a classroom in a new setting where I’ll be teaching this fall. The instructor, a bright, articulate woman in her early 30s, seemed so relaxed and “hip” as she gave her lecture. Just the right amount of humor. Just the right technology. Just the right outfit. Just the right mix of facts and friendship. My first thought was, “What do I have to offer? I’ll never be as good as she is.”
When I arrived home that evening and processed my feelings with my husband, he reminded me that I have more than 10 years of experience in teaching. I’ve helped many students navigate their college experience, progressing from nervous freshmen to confident graduates. I’ve seen first-hand how God equips and enables for what he calls us to do.
As I continued to reflect, I wondered why my default reaction to new situations is almost always, “I’m not enough.”
In the Bible, I discover that my declaration is absolutely true, but God never intends this realization to produce shame or fear. Rather, admitting my need can lead straight to overflow. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says it so beautifully, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” The power of Christ dwelling in me. All I need, and so much more.
The “not enough” syndrome takes many forms. Not young or old enough. Not smart or creative or brave or experienced enough. We each have our own version, threatening to paralyze and keep us from stepping through the doors God opens. Our “not enough” holds us back in every possible way, and robs us of the abundant life Jesus promises (John 10:10).
I love author Priscilla Shirer’s definition of weakness. She calls it “a platform for God’s strength.” In Christ, you and I are enough for whatever he asks us to do. (Philippians 4:13) Will we still feel intimidated? Probably. Will everything go smoothly? Probably not. We don’t wait until we feel ready. We say yes to God and move forward. Scary, I know, but that’s faith!
Where do you need “enough” right now?
As for me, I’ll spend the next few months immersed in textbooks, planning lessons and praying for my future students. I know I’ll grapple with doubt and insecurity, but I’ll be careful to remind myself of what is true. God is cheering for me, and for you, every step of the way. He is enough. Through his love and strength, so are we.
Lee Ann Zanon teaches women’s ministry at Corban University and is a frequent speaker at retreats. She shares regularly at a women’s shelter in her hometown of Salem, Oregon, and helps lead worship for Celebrate Recovery. Her passion is teaching the Bible to women and encouraging them to discover and use their God-given gifts.