Why I'm No Good at All

I'm No Good at All

You know that expression “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water?” Well, I do that… a lot, and the baby being thrown out is usually me.  I have a tendency to disregard any of the good I have done, if it is peppered with any amount of bad, no matter how small. I struggle to accept where I am making progress, whether it be spiritually or otherwise, if I experience any sort of setback.

The words of self-doubt and lack of self-worth come flooding in. “You are no good, Nicole. You cannot do this. You should quit.” Why is it in such moments that I cannot just say to myself, “Yeah, you’ve messed up a few times, but that doesn’t mean you are totally messed up.”

I recently read a book called Having a Mary Spirit. I couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time, otherwise my eyes would swell up with tears, as I was both convicted and comforted, knowing I’m not the only one. The author, Joanna Weaver, posed one question in the very beginning of the book that rattled me. I sat on this question for days, then weeks, and I am still asking myself:

If we aren’t all good, does that mean we are no good at all?”I have fallen for this  lie again and again. If, for example, I yell at my kids one day, regardless of the situation, then I walk around telling myself that I am a “bad mom”.

My husband is quick to point out to me that nowhere else in life works that way, so why should that rule apply to me? A baseball pitcher can have a less than stellar game, and yet, unless that is his usual M.O., no one is going to call him a “horrible player.” Actors make bad movies all the time. George Clooney, for instance, has survived a few (anybody remember Batman and Robin?), yet people still consider him a great actor.

Basically, what it comes down to is, I am an all or nothing type of person. If I can’t be great at something, I don’t like to even try. Likewise, if I trip up or have a few bad results, I am all too ready to forget any of the good I may have already accomplished.

God certainly doesn’t deal with us in that way. If He did, then I would be a wretched woman, full of despair and hopelessness. Instead, God does not remember our sins at all. Once they are forgiven, He casts them into the abyss, where they are forgotten forever.

Now, if only I could somehow apply that rule to my own life. I think what it comes down to is grace. I need to learn to give myself grace, much in the same way Christ offers grace, freely and without judgment. The Lord’s grace is not attached to any strings  or hidden agenda. His grace flows out of His character. I need to let grace cover my own failures, as well.

I read recently that repentance of sin is not so much about saying we are sorry, as it is agreeing with God. When I apologize to the Lord I am not necessarily receiving the fullness of His grace and forgiveness. I am often times making an arbitrary statement, so as to make myself feel better about what I’ve done. But agreeing with God about my sin, including grieving with God over the root cause of my sin, well, that act encourages the grace and forgiveness I so desperately need. Agreement allows the Holy Spirit to move me forward and prevents me from constantly looking back at what I’ve done. In accepting God’s definition of sin and calling it what it is, I am releasing sin’s power over me. Grace can then reign, and condemnation has nowhere to go, but… away.

The thing is, I know that I really am no good at all without Christ. Without Him, I’m selfish, prideful, easily frustrated. In Him, I’m more patient, others-focused, and forgiving. On the days when I feel like a failure, and say things like I’m a bad mom or I should just quit blogging, it is because I was not abiding in Jesus. I was pushing through with my own strength and responding in my flesh. Apart from Him I am incapable of being anything but a sinner.

Instead of repeating to myself  “I’m no good at all,” I want to start remembering that “He is always Good.” I do not want to let the enemy rob me of my victories in Christ. Nor do I want to forget that I need to offer myself grace just as the Lord does. It’s true, I’m no good at all, but it is He who is in me.

Do you ever struggle with thinking if you are “no good then you are no good at all”? What are you like without Christ? Who are you in Christ? What are some lies you battle?

post image from here

11 thoughts on “Why I'm No Good at All”

  1. This post is so good for me today. I have a habit of “negative” talking to myself about me. This makes me think maybe if I kept it positive and remembered Jesus loves me maybe some of the things I don’t like that I do I probably wouldn’t do anyway! Negativity breeds itself…

    1. It sounds so trite because we hear it so much but Jesus LOVES you, Jen. He is crazy about you! He can’t get enough of YOU!

      IF we remember just that, our negative thinking becomes instantly lessened. Praying for you today sweet friend. xo

  2. Boy, I really needed to read that today. I’ve been wrestling with my own efficacy in ministry, as a wife, and an employee. It’s so good to be reminded that one setback doesn’t mean that I’m not growing in those areas. Doesn’t it help to get encouragement from your husband? My husband is probably the best encourager for me, especially in that area. :)

    1. I love that you used the word efficacy. When we have a healthy self-efficacy we really are better able to understand what we can and cannot do.

      And yes, my husband is my biggest fan and greatest support. Thank the Lord for awesome hubbies!

  3. Good one. This realization is actually true in my own life, and it’s been behind a number of changes that are slowly happening. I think we all carry different baggage, and it’s the painful kind that usually hurts. It’s a survival mechanism. We don’t have to survive success, but we fear failure. Some of us (including myself) even fear success. It’s easy to realize the responsibility that comes with being successful at your field, and it can be overwhelming.

    1. Joey, you are not alone in fearing success. I too fear success. I dwell happily in the land of mediocrity, where I know neither victory nor defeat. Blah! Boring. God is moving me out of that place. It sounds like maybe he is moving you away from fearing success as well.

  4. Nicole, I love your vulnerability. It is inspiring! Christ’s blood is so powerful and can free us from those damaging thoughts! I think that in addition to Christ’s blood, an important part of knowing who we are in Christ is remembering that we are made in God’s image, however corrupted it may be now. Being made in God’s image makes us valuable no matter what we do.

    1. Ellen, I so agree. I think though that I am so quick to view other people in God’s image but not necessarily myself. I have found that I naturally love, respect, and honor people more since knowing Christ. Now i just need to transfer some of that goodness over to myself, so to speak.

      Thanks for the great comment!

  5. I often time fall victim to this train of thinking. I hold myself back to what gifts He has instilled in me and find myself battle an ocean of doubts and fear. If I didn’t have Christ to hang my hope on I would have droven myself crazy but I trust that he bring people, events and cicumantance to strench me and grow.

    1. Lilian, thanks so much for sharing that. We all suffer, at one time or another, from “holding ourselves back”. In so many ways, we are our own worst enemies. But as you said, Christ is our hope. I will be praying that you allow those circumstances to cling to Jesus and grow but also that you will step, more fully, into the gifting He has given you.

  6. Wow — there are parts of this post I could have penned myself (but you did it so much better). The tie-in to your ‘Don’t Be Yourself’ post is awesome, for one, (because there are times I most definitely should not be myself), and also because I am trying to shut off (or at least turn the volume waaay down) on the negative thought loop that kicks in when I mess up in something. I still grapple with grace, thinking I somehow need to earn it when such a thing isn’t possible or necessary.

    So thanks for sharing of your own experiences and for the reminder God really does have a better way to help us move through such things.

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