Not My Best


I can’t count the number of times that I’ve gone throughout my day feeling like either a failure, an idiot, a disappointment, or a just plain guilty. These feelings come from lots of different causes in life. How many times have you felt that way? Have you ever felt like such a screw-up or disappointment that you just wanted to walk away from the world, become a total recluse and hope to never have to face anyone again? I have. I have had days where I just wanted to hide. I wanted to hide from the world…from family, friends, co-workers…even God.

I’ve begun to ask myself why these moments come over me. While I don’t think there’s necessarily one root cause for every situation that brings this about, I do think there is a central issue that all of these struggles have in common. I think that we all are constantly missing what it is God really wants from us. We think He wants our best. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to people regarding lifestyles and/or choices and they nearly always say something like, “I know I’m not living the way I should.” When I was a pastor and would ask people where they attended church or if they did, they would often respond with, “No, but I know I need to be doing that. I need to be back in church.” Sometimes, when not even speaking about faith or religion, I would find that many people just experience a lot of feelings of guilt or inferiority. They seemed to think they weren’t good enough for much of anything.

These issues have much deeper origins than I have the training to explore…but there is a common thread in many of our lives. Most people do not feel like God would want them because they are not good enough or haven’t been on their best behavior. In my ministry work, I never felt like I accomplished much of anything. I always looked upon myself as a failure. This is not me looking for sympathy or words of encouragement. I’m just being honest. In my personal life, as a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, neighbor, co-worker…etc., I have always felt as though I didn’t measure up. (To my family and friends: Don’t worry about what I’m saying, just relate to it. I’m fine. Love to you all.) This isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just something that I’ve struggled with.

I’ve shared all of this in order to find some common ground with you. Have you felt this way? Do you struggle with serious guilt over a past mistake, present circumstance, or future intention? What I’ve found is that, ultimately, I tend to believe myself to be unlovable. I think we may all do this to some degree or another. We mess up a lot in our lives. We hurt people. We fail at goals. We shirk responsibility. We center in on ourselves. We lie. We cheat. We steal. We do all of those things that we actually hate. And then we do the one last thing that destroys our understanding of whom we are: we hate ourselves.

Hating ourselves is a seriously destructive coping mechanism for guilt or shame. We don’t think it through like this, but it seems to me that we do it in order to try and make up for the wrongs we’ve done…some sort of penance. However, as I said, it’s not actually a productive solution. It’s quite destructive. Someone that hates themselves cannot understand or accept love from anyone else. Someone that hates themselves cannot grasp the love of Christ, nor can they live in it. Peter denied Jesus three times, just as Jesus predicted he would. Then he heard the rooster crow and walked away in grief and self-loathing. Jesus appears to him after the resurrection and reproduces some of the same atmosphere that was there when he denied Him…familiar smells…settings. (John’s Gospel). Then Jesus asks Peter THREE times if he loves Him. Peter gets irate during all of this, saying, “You know I love you!” I personally think there was a moment when they locked eyes and perhaps, as Jesus peered into Peter’s soul…Peter felt that same feeling of shame…but then…something was different. In Jesus’s eyes, there was no anger, no disappointment…no judgment. There was only compassion. Peter had failed and forsaken Him. But that didn’t matter anymore. Although Jesus was having a moment of reckoning with Peter, He was communicating to him that He still loved him. He had never stopped.

Jesus still loved Peter because His love for Peter wasn’t based on his actions, attitude, or successes. He loved Peter because that’s Who Jesus is. He loves you and I because that’s Who He is. Peter was never able to bring Jesus his best. We in the human family have a terrible tendency to think that we must always be good for God to love us. We think we must bring Him our best. Ironically, the best we can bring to Him is simply us. He values our stained lives. He loves us even though we reek of the garbage of this existence. We are like gross, sticky, disgusting little kids that He picks up and hugs and kisses…not caring for a moment that we stink and are covered in slime.

Freedom to stop hating ourselves has been totally granted. He’s not looking for my best day. He’s not waiting for me to get everything straightened out. He just wants me. He could care less about my best efforts or my best performance. He simply wants me. He wants you. Because you are not unlovable. You are a jewel of immeasurable worth…especially to the One that crafted you.


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14 comments on “Not My Best

  1. Josh says:

    Awesome awesome awesome work. I needed this

  2. Bob B says:

    Steve I’ve got enough problems without thinking you are following me around and getting into my head anytime you want! : )…On the contrary it’s good to know that somebody out there understands me even a little. And on the bright side, I suppose God uses my darker moments to remind me that humility is the funnel through which He pours grace into my life.

  3. Adam Revell says:

    I can never say enough how much I appreciate your honesty. It truly blesses my soul to hear your words from the heart. Love ya

  4. Rhonda says:

    You need to stop using my mind! It’s uncanny how much we are alike.

  5. Judy says:

    Thank you, I so needed to hear this message from a different angle.

  6. I believe this to be true for many of us and perhaps it is why we tend to waste precious time dwelling on the fears of it all. When we doubt who we not only allows the enemy room to exaggerate our feelings of inferiority, but it puts a dark space between us and our Creator. I think the key here is to lean on those closest to us and to call upon God for understanding..even corrective action. After all, He is the one who can rid us of these distractions in fulfilling our purpose and overcoming our weaknesses. He is a faithful and patient Father who will get us past any and all obstacles we may face.
    The H-CAP model that I have been studying in Psychology at Liberty has been very helpful to me. It consists of Hope, Commitment, Accountability, and Passion. I have found that if we focus on these aspects when faced with challenges, we can overcome and be resilient in our accomplishments. We must first have hope of the circumstance getting better..this typically follows our line of faith. Then we must commit to actively seek and participate in the process of change. We also need to hold ourselves accountable for seeing it through..this consists of our circle keeping us in check so to speak. And of course we must be passionate about what we have set out to change. We need to remind ourselves of the benefits included in the change.
    Whether it be a major change or an adjustment in the thought process by which we handle what life may hand us…have a plan of action in place so that you can push past it without long-term interference. Our family and friends love us…God placed them there for a reason. HE most certainly loves us and will forever want His children to stand firm on their faith in Him and know beyond all doubts that we were created in purpose..not to merely exist. HE instilled the foundation in us..He is with us and within us. WE can survive and defeat anything..He has paid the price so that we can. TRUST in Him with your all.
    This was well written and I can absolutely relate to the context..I appreciate your sharing it. I will be praying that we all work on this dynamic within ourselves. Much love and God bless 🙂

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