When You Think You’re Not Enough

by | Apr 29, 2013 | Uncategorized


I grew up thinking I wasn’t enough. Holding the consolation prize of my circumstances, wearing the banner around my waist declaring in big, bold letters, “IF ONLY.”

If only you were raised by two parents who loved each other instead of one who needs to be parented just as much as you do. Then maybe you would be, well, better.

If only you didn’t live on the back side of poverty, you wouldn’t have to feel guilty about all the things you can’t remember learning in school. Then maybe you wouldn’t feel so small in dinner table discussions with your children.

If only you had someone to help you through school, you would’ve felt less like an elderly teenager. Less awkward about being playful as an adult.

But Jesus doesn’t utter the words, “If only.” He says, “You’re enough.”

He says you’re enough at the invitation to lead women when you thought you were hiding behind your husband. When you think his eloquence and delivery are all that is needed Jesus gently says, “Yes, but now you have words to deliver too.”

He says you’re enough when he gives you two children, their seeds the very handprint of God. When you question like Moses, “What, me a mother,” God insists that He trusts you. “Yes, I’ve given you what you need for this job.”

He says you’re enough through your best friend, in the middle of the day random conversation. When she says she wants to pour cold water over your head to help you see yourself the way others do. “Can you think of a man you trust or respect more than your husband, and he actually chose you,” she says simply and with wisdom. Her words like an old room with a new view.

Her words wake me up. I sit confounded on the unmade bed. Pull off the worn and frayed, holey sash and discard my smudged consolation prize. I thought I’d stepped up, accepted my planned destination of honorable mention while Jesus was standing there holding first prize. Patiently waiting until this moment when joy and revelation collide.

Somehow I knew it and believed it for you. And then forgot it’s meant for me too: Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us. (Colossians 3:11)

Once we struggled to find our significance and our happiness and our security in what we were in relation to other people—we’re Jews, we’re Greeks, we’re circumcised, we’re free, we’re American, we’re rich, we’re smart, we’re strong, we’re pretty, we’re witty, we’re cool. But then we sloughed off that old self. We put on the new self. And the core essence of the new self is that CHRIST IS ALL. “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives” (Galatians 2:20). ~John Piper

I stepped on the plane and swallowed myself, bringing home souvenirs of Christ.  Opened my suitcase and passed out significance, satisfaction, and fulfillment to my family while sitting on the couch. They were certain I’d carried those treasures all along. I found them hidden in the the pockets of my presumption.

We’re all cracked and broken in need of being made new. In community, we rub off rough edges; the lies we wear like a banner. And we love each other into seeing truth.

You and I, we’re never the consolation prize tethered or stuck by our “If onlys”. And dreams, they unfold slowly, like petals of revelation grasped on this precipice.

In community, we rise and take our place, shed the weight of skewed imagination. And remember He says, “You’re enough.”


Linking in community with BibleDude.net, Laura , Michelle, Jen and Heather.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Kendal Privette

    this line – “In community, we rub off rough edges; the lies we wear like a banner.” yeah.

    • Shelly Miller

      So thankful for people who do that, aren’t you?

  2. Lisa notes...

    But Jesus doesn’t utter the words, “If only.” He says, “You’re enough.”

    I love this truth. Thanks for pointing it out for all of us. May we all remember it and live in it.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes and Amen Lisa, may we all remember that we are truly enough.

  3. Michelle DeRusha

    Oh man, that Colossians verse – that hit me right between the eyes. That’s exactly how I think most of the time. I’ve been thinking a lot about Jennifer’s talk and her words about the “not enoughs” this week – this is a very good reminder and a reiteration of that message that I need to hear again and again. Thanks, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Her talk was so moving and inspiring wasn’t it Michelle? I’m not sure I willl ever look at big rocks that again the same. And I think we will always need reminders until we reach heaven.

    • kelli woodford

      that caught me, too, Michelle and Shelly. wow. what a timely word for this post.
      it’s funny that ghosts of your past still haunt you, Shelly, because your dear friend (LuAnn?) was right – others don’t see that in you. well, *I* don’t, anyway. i love you and think you are just about one of the sweetest gifts in my life. i was just thinking today about what a pray-er, a lover, and a wise woman you are.
      perhaps overcoming our nastiest critic (ourselves) takes a lifetime of hearing His singing over us in love, yes? it’s been a long process for me, too.

  4. Mel Caldicott

    I live under the “not enough” cloud often – too often. Learning to grow from the encouragement of community and see the reality of who we are is a gift from God. In relationship with others we are sometimes wounded but often affirmed by how others see us not the harsh light by which we examine ourselves.

    Great post, linking up from Hear it on a Monday, Use it on a Sunday. Blessings

    • Shelly Miller

      Mel, you bring up a good point that we can just as easily be wounded as affirmed in community. In my life, both have been used to shape me. We need community the good and ugly of it.

  5. Mary Bonner

    What we are in relation to other people…that so doesn’t matter, yet I get caught up in that trap. Thank you for this reminder that I am ENOUGH. I am still processing your awesome devotional from Jumping Tandem…thank you!

    • Shelly Miller

      I think you are in good company Mary. There isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t struggled with it, its just how long we struggle and how often. Hopefully when it rears its head the distance to get around it, and live in truth is shorter each time. Thank you for your kind words about Jumping Tandem, I’m thankful it resonated. That retreat changed me, and I’m grateful.

  6. DeanneMoore

    Seeing your sweet girl and her friends in the prom dresses and reading these words–words that resonate with me so—things I have said to others and not so much to myself—made me think how though I am God’s new creation in Christ Jesus, I too often cloth myself like I am living in the “pigpen.” I need to remember to get ready for the feast, that I am enough because the one who has called me to the table is enough. I thought those things, and then I clicked over to the Message to read Col. 3:11 and verses surrounding. This is what I read:

    Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. (Message Col. 3:9-11)

    You aren’t lying here friend. It’s time to be done with it. Dogging on the self is dogging on the One who has given us life. We are never “wearing” Christ when we think less of ourselves than He does. Think I’ll dress up today 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Love that translation Dea, it says it all. Thanks for your encouragement.

  7. Ro elliott

    Oh…Shelly how I relate…when I lived in the would of …if only…the not enough….I realized…it’s not only how I viewed myself….but the world around me….no one….and nothing was enough…I was like a sieve….no matter if it was Jesus pouring His love or others pour…it never was enough…but praise be to God….He is healing so much of these holes….and the more “content”I I am with me….the more at peace I am with the world around me….beautiful post…blessings

    • Shelly Miller

      Yep, he is healing all the holes and making them holy. Thanks for your candor and honesty Ro, it’s always refreshing.

  8. Celeste

    This pretty much describes my life. Never thinking anything you did was right which left behind an adult people pleaser. Now, having Bek I at least recognize what is negative and am equipped to choose another path a better path for him.
    Last evening our minister spoke from Mark 14. He used a scripture reference, ” what is in ÿour hand” talking of Moses.
    Nothing,for me but a staff, a walking stick for Moses and God used him as we know.
    We don’t need anything in our hand, we bring nothing in our hands. God looks at us and proclaims, you are loved.

    • Shelly Miller

      Our kids change us don’t they Celeste? I often wonder how I would’ve learned all I have about myself and God without them. They give me the classroom for revelation more days than I want to admit. And thank God for Moses and his example in scripture. He gives me hope.

  9. misha leigh

    I cannot even say how much I love this post! Everything in me is cheering! : )
    And not just enough… but beautiful! Gorgeous, gifted, a gift, equipped, lovely, a delight… your giggle alone could move mountains of pain! : ) I am so excited and still praying daily… keep pouring out those words, friend. I am listening and loving it all.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I love seeing you here Misha, knowing you are reading. I held my breath when I saw your name. What a blessing you are to me. Thank you for your constant encouragement and prayers.

  10. Chelle

    I’ve learned these lessons this year…

    “We’re all cracked and broken in need of being made new. In community, we rub off rough edges; the lies we wear like a banner. And we love each other into seeing truth.
    In community, we rise and take our place, shed the weight of skewed imagination. And remember He says, “You’re enough.”

    Shelly, remarkable that across time, distance, and the internet, you could give life to what I’ve come to know. We have to stop hiding behind our lies and embrace one another. We can never see ourselves the way we are seen, that is the power of community. We are drawn together because we need each other.

    • Shelly Miller

      I love walking this journey out with you Chelle. I’m giddy with all God is doing in you. I can hear it in your words.

  11. Nancy Ruegg

    Am I enough when it seems like not much is happening in my life? “If only” God would move me ahead to the next chapter, to rich fulfillment and important usefulness! Your post assures me there are no “useless” times. I don’t have to be in a hurry for what may be next. God IS accomplishing his purpose for me now, even if I can’t see it or understand it. I can trust him. Thank you, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      I love the hope and revelation in your comment Nancy. You wrote like the Psalmist who begins with Why and ends her thoughts with Who. Such encouragement for me.

  12. floyd

    “If only…” How many times have every one of us asked ourselves that? God only knows… How blessed we are to not have to ask that question of our Savior, “If only You would be the last perfect sacrifice for the remission of sins eternally.” Hard to fathom the gift we’ve been given yet often refuse that perfect truth. A perfect love that shows us who we really are… Thanks for the reminder.

    • Shelly Miller

      It is hard to fathom isn’t it Floyd, the gift He’s given us in that sacrifice? I’m reminding myself too.

  13. Jody Collins

    Your photo is full of hope and color and life…..somehow it matches the words perfectly. But then you probably already knew that.

    • Shelly Miller

      I was just thinking about the whole beauty contest imagery and these translated Jody. I’m glad they did for you as well.

  14. Rachael

    Love this message…if only I could remember it every day! Linking with you at Just Write. Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart

    • Shelly Miller

      I know Rachael, me too. I’ll have to come back and read this post in a couple of weeks no doubt.

  15. Cara Sexton

    Oh Shelly. These words, that verse in Colossians…right to my gut in the very best way. Such beautiful worship this is.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Cara, love seeing you here. I know how busy you keep yourself.

  16. Kimberly Sullivan

    If only we believed that He has made us more than enough! Dear Shelly, I can’t tell you how good it is to be here…

    • Shelly Miller

      It is wonderful to see you here Kim. You’ve been missed around the blogosphere.

  17. Nancy Franson

    I’m not the consolation prize. Huh. I never realized until I read your words that I thought I was. Maybe it was all the Miss America and homecoming pageants I grew up watching from the outside–the ones where there’s only one winner and everyone else was an also-ran. The competitions of this world say the rewards are scarce, there’s only room for one, or for a handful to rise above. But that kind of thinking really doesn’t line up with God’s abundance, does it? He graciously bestows everything we need to do all he has called us to do. You’ve got me thinking, Miss Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      I grew up watching those pageants too Nancy. Often on weekends with my grandparents during their pinnacle clubs. Fond memories. But yes, we’re never the consolation prize with Christ are we? It was revelation for me too.

  18. Eileen Knowles

    “You and I, we’re never the consolation prize…” Amen!

  19. Lynn Morrissey

    So beautiful, Shelly. We’re enough, because He is more than enough. He is everything, and He chose us. I can’t fathom it. I really cannot! Beyond your ever gorgeous prose (and its meaning), I love the exquisite sherbet-array of prettily garbed girls in their prom finery. Not one will be a wallflower, because He extends His hand, inviting them to waltz in time with His heartbeat. Because He invites them (and us), we’re all more than enough. Oh, keep sharing the Good News! You are so precious, Shelly.



  20. Laura Boggess

    And, how, you delivered words! Your devotional is still on my heart. I’m so glad you have a good friend who speaks truth into your life. Not enough, not enough…I want too much! How familiar that rings. And I was thinking about this just today as an unusual opportunity presented itself and I thought, “That sounds like fun”. And the one who means more to me than anything couldn’t understand why in the world I would thinks so. And I thought, it’s because he knows who he is. But me? still figuring it out. Maybe I always will be. And recently? I’m coming to see this as blessing. Yes. Blessing. It opens me up to so many adventures with God…

  21. Beth

    Your words have blessed. I have a dear friend that has been sharing this truth with me and I wish I could say I didn’t need to hear it over and over again…that in Him we are enough, but believing is still a daily struggle for me. Your words will remain on my heart. Thank you.

  22. Nacole Simmons

    Oh my, so many things in your pockets. I love the way you write. This was wonderful. I came back different in the same way, too. I came over because we were both linked at Bible Dude this week! How fun!

  23. Mia

    Dear Shelly
    Thank you! I also used to have so much baggage from abuse, that I actually couldn’t believe that God loved me without me having to do a single thing to earn that much coveted love! In His wisdom He allowed Fm/CFS to stop me right in my tracks and wooed me so gently into His Loving Embrace, while whispering to me that I am enough!
    Blessings from Heather’s.

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