Do you feel inadequate because of lies you've been told in the past by unhealthy people?
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
Do you know that feeling of not being good enough?
That combination of heaviness and tightness in your chest, with overwhelming sadness poured over it, and a little core of fear, hidden right in the center?
It always seems to pop up right when you’re about to take a step toward something you really want. Something you want to accomplish or something you always dreamed of, but never thought was possible...You’re ready to go, to jump off the diving board, then whoomp, there it is.*
“I can’t do this.
I don’t belong here.
If they really knew about me.”
As if everyone else has been living in the Honors Sanctification Class and is more worthy of...well, everything.
In the specific example I’m living right now, I feel that everyone else is more worthy than I am to be accepted into a training course I’m enrolled in to attend. I had to apply and offer references just like everyone else, so they know my answers to their questions. My story is out there in the world, and I know for certain that at least one individual in the decision-making process is aware of it, so my background isn’t a secret. Yet, their informed decision to invite me to join them has me feeling vulnerable and wanting to bail. I’m nobody and they’re somebody. Those two shouldn’t mix.
I hate feeling inadequate. This feeling isn’t the same as being humble. This feeling is the kind that stops people from stepping into their callings and reaching the potential that has been planted inside of them. In these moments, instead of being the almost-two-Mastered-professional with a pretty impressive resume, who knows her strengths and her weaknesses, and is seeking to strengthen her weaknesses, I regress into someone I used to be, when I was part of my cult group. I turn back into a shell of a person who existed only to be used until I was finally allowed to die. I’m not being dramatic.
In that life, before I knew I was part of a cult, I was intended to be so very small. I was intended to be as quiet as possible, in hopes of going unnoticed and unknown. I was not someone worth educating and training. Even if I had something of value to say, the value was disproportionately reduced when I was the one who said it, so there was truly no reason to say it at all.
I know some of you reading will get this. You were all but squashed to death, too, once, in one context or another.
So here I sit in a rocking chair on a front porch like the old soul that I am, processing through what I feel versus what I know. Here is what I know:
My emotions, while warranting acknowledgement and tending to, are not always accurate.
God tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). He tells me that His Son, Jesus, loves me enough to have been ridiculed, persecuted, and ultimately murdered on my behalf (read and–or all!–of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). He tells me that women, even the tainted ones, have unimaginable value (see the stories of Ruth and Rahab).
In this current scenario, my emotions (#1) do not align with my knowledge, which came from what I hold to be the inerrant word of God (#2). Therefore, my emotions are not what determines my behavior.
Unfortunately, knowing that my emotions do not dictate my choices does not instantly eradicate them. I have found that it’s still critical to process them in some way–either writing, conversing with a trusted individual, or sitting alone with them for awhile as I reflect on where they came from.
Ultimately, though, I have a choice to make. I can either choose to fight or to concede. I can allow my emotions, which came from years of deceitful grooming, to dictate my next steps, or I can correct them.
Correcting them is fighting them, by the way...it doesn’t work to just tell them to go away or shut them out. They’ll always come back, and eventually, they’ll likely come back to drown you–they tend to grow and gain power while they’re seemingly dormant in the cage you’ve stuffed them into. That cage will burst someday.
So, as I continue to rock back and forth, I begin to correct. I tell myself what is true: what God has said about me, that my upbringing was a sham, and that I’ve had incredible healing in my life. I remind myself of the accomplishments that have come with the challenges and the healing, and, most impactful and motivating, I remind myself of what my continued perseverance can
offer to others who may have yet to begin their own journey to freedom.
Then I open up my PowerPoint and continue to prepare for what has been in me to do all along: to take the open door before me, with gratitude and thanksgiving.
*I have no idea what the rest of the lyrics in this song are, so I most definitely am not endorsing anything.