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God hurt my feelings

September 30, 2010

I know what you’re thinking, “Heresy! Lies! Get thee behind me! Not my God. Not my Jesus. Not the hot guy who ain’t afraid to wear pastels and never seems to be anywhere without a live-sheep-scarf. He hugs cute children all the time, and … and he’s good-looking.”

Yes, that one.

He did it because He loves me, and I’m not upset with Him for it. (I wasn’t even upset with Him in the process, which is progress for me.) I don’t believe He said it in anger.

It was a couple weeks ago. I had messed up a few days, and completely neglected Him. My message that Friday had reflected it. The hollow feeling in my chest testified. I was upset with myself for it, so I stole some time one afternoon and set up a rendez-vous on the couch.

I got there.


Sincerely apologized.


No overwhelming presence. No instantly-restored closeness. No satisfaction for the hole in my torso. Instead, He replied,

“You. Are not good enough. Without Me.”


Now, I can say that back to you, “You are not good enough without Him,” and it’s just as true. A great pastor can preach a great sermon on that idea. There is no shortage of scripture to back it up. I could have testified to that on my own. That’s why I was there, on the couch, to begin with. I knew that.

But when He says it, it tears open that hole that you came to have satisfied.

Everything inside of me wanted to argue, but how could I? I’m not good enough for anything without Him. All of the vision and the plans I have for my life, for ministry, for loved ones – will never come about without Him. I’m not a good enough musician. I’m not a good enough speaker. I’m not a good enough wife, daughter, sister, or friend. I’m not a good enough writer. I’m not a good enough leader. I’m not a good enough follower.

And I know that. You know that. But we never want Him to say it. I want Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Or I want clear, specific direction. Tips. Helps. Life-lines. “Do this.” “Don’t do that.” Something I can work with. Something I can immediately apply.

“You’re not good enough,” tears me open, and I almost – for a moment – tried to bargain for some kind of affirmation.

But I am a decent musician, at least. It’s been over a decade. Really, I’m doing alright at drums in very little time. And everybody says I write fairly well, and every speech/debate teacher I’ve had has always been impressed. I am a nice girl, and I work really hard at being a good wife. I mean, really hard …

Futile. ‘Cause even if one of those things is true, it’s still more true that I’m not good enough without Him.

None of my musical skill will lead anyone into His presence. None of my efforts at alternate verb usage will save one soul’s eternity. My best message and most creative illustration will not lead one teenager into His grace. My well-maintained home will not help shape my husband into the image of Christ.

And I know that. You know that, but – come on – we like to be good at things. We practice and we train and we study because we recognize a talent, and we want to just dust it off so it can shine. We like to hear people compliment us. We like to know, This is my thing and I’m good at it.

It’s easier to identify our value in talents and abilities and specialties, than it is to identify our value in Him.

I squirmed on the couch for half an hour as He pressed the issue and I struggled to admit – to really admit, with everything I have and from the depth of that void in my soul – that I am not good enough.

And I know the rest of the story – how He fills in the gaps and He is glorified. I know. I know the sentence ended with, “without Me,” on purpose. But I, for one, have not often heard, “You are not good enough,” and that has to be true first.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 10:32 am

    Oh. Wow. Very convicted.


  2. September 30, 2010 11:48 am

    “I know the sentence ended with “without Me” on purpose. ”
    It’s beautiful.

  3. October 1, 2010 11:01 am

    God is after our hearts. It’s so easy, especially being in ministry, to go through the motions and pretend that our service is enough. We are able to fool ourselves for a period into thinking we are still on the right track. God’s mercy is stopping us and pointing out our flawed thinking. I know exactly how you feel, ministering out of my own abilities. That hollow feeling. God put it there for a reason. It always hurts, but the love evident in the rebuke makes it bitter sweet. Every time it happens to me, I take comfort knowing he hasn’t given up on me. He’s still working on me, slowly, sometimes painfully. God is good.

    • Lex permalink
      October 1, 2010 11:22 am

      So true. Thanks. It’s always nice to hear someone else in ministry say they’ve been there. :) I’m realizing that ministry is hard in a way I never thought it would be. You kind of know that people are going to let you down, that things aren’t always going to work out, that working with volunteers is sometimes hard … but there’s a different kind of difficult in loving God and loving a ministry too.

  4. October 1, 2010 10:07 pm

    A friend of mine posted something today that had a similar ring to it:

    I always pay attention to the things that make me shift around in my seat, especially when these ideas come simultaneously from independently operating sources…in other words, I needed to hear this, apparently several times today. Glad to know I’m not good enough to do it along either.

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