Have you ever felt like you are just not enough? Perhaps you have felt that inexplicable sense of not having enough or not doing enough. That nagging feeling of inadequacy is something that many of us have felt time and time again. We often find ourselves here. As women, we are constantly multitasking not just our actions, but our emotions, as well. The experiences that life affords us often shape the emotions that we have toward certain things. For instance, if you were not able to have many things growing up, as an adult, you may feel a strong desire “to keep up with the Joneses” or to always one up the next person. On the flip side, if you were afforded the luxuries of this world along the way, you may feel just as compelled to have the latest and greatest. Maybe not having such things makes you feel less valuable. Or not possessing a certain trait or progressing in an area at a particular rate is what causes you to feel this way. Perhaps it is a combination of all of these things! But if we are not careful, we can find ourselves in a world of spiritual trouble. The lack that we feel in ourselves may become the very thing that we despise in other people. Envy is something that goes beyond just the sting of someone having material items that you lack. It runs a bit deeper than that and supersedes the overwhelming feeling of jealousy that we have all felt at one point or another. If we are not careful, jealousy can turn into something darker. I believe that there is often a strong correlation between jealousy, envy, and insecurities. I’m not saying this is the case all of the time. Sometimes insecurities have little to nothing to do with feelings of jealousy/envy. Oftentimes, however, they go hand in hand. For instance, feeling like someone has something that you want to have (whether it be a character trait, physical trait, or material possession) can sometimes cause us to feel like we don’t have enough. We begin to feel inadequate where before that feeling was nonexistent. But where does that come from? Why do people feel the need to measure themselves according to other people’s lives? Interestingly enough, Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 to “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (ESV). That word “conform” can be defined as behaving in a way that follows social norms, rules, or standards. Paul is telling us that we are not to aspire to “fit in” to this world. Our minds must be totally engulfed with the standards that God places upon us so that we are not consumed with the idea of who we are to be or what we must possess. Instead of looking at the glass half full, we seem to look at it half empty. And while other people may influence that feeling of inadequacy, ultimately, ridding it from your life is up to you and you alone.
I have found that jealousy and envy are things that make many people feel uncomfortable. It seems that acknowledging the existence of such things seems to spark feelings of insecurities and inadequacies! However, they are important to acknowledge because only then can we begin to fix the issues. James 3:14-16 states “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James tells us that we must be truthful with ourselves. Nothing good can come from ignoring an issue or turning a blind eye. Not only can these things cause us to sin, but they can create a stagnancy in our growth as Christians. How can we grow inwardly when we are so easily consumed with what is happening on the outside? How much longer are we going to clean up the parts of us that can be seen by the world, and leave the things we aren’t proud of tucked away? There are things in our lives that we must address head on. Introspection is necessary in growth. The Bible tells us that we are to be doers of God’s Word, not just hearers (James 1:22, ESV). We are only deceiving ourselves when we do the bare minimum. Ironically, confidence in Christ will begin to flow into self-confidence when we remove ourselves. Sometimes the hardest battles are within our minds. With God, though, we can certainly break free of any strongholds that are holding us back from believing that we are enough.