This article is part of the Preach the Gospel to Yourself Series. We know that phrases like “preach the gospel to yourself” are used so frequently in Christian circles that they can become Christian gobbly gook. You kind of get what it means, but don’t know how to actually do it. This series offers specific examples of applying the truth of the gospel to everyday circumstances. Don't miss the challenge steps at the end of each article! Read the other articles in this series here:
- “Preach the Gospel to Your Sin Struggles” by Lara d’Entremont
- “Preach the Gospel to Your Identity Crisis” by Kati Lynn Davis
- “Preach the Gospel to Your Loneliness” by Brittany Allen
- “Preach the Gospel to Your Anger” by Ashley Chesnut
For more help preaching the gospel to yourself, check out our Grounded in the Gospel Workbook.
The Weight of Perfection
In the Disney movie Encanto, the Madrigal family is known for their magic. Everyone but Mirabela, that is. Unlike her mom, aunt, uncle, cousins, and sisters, Mirabela never received a special gift. Her oldest sister, Isabela, is blessed with the magical power of perfection. She’s perfectly beautiful, creates perfect beauty, and keeps everything in perfect order. Luisa, her other sister, is unbelievably strong, capable, and dependable. If there’s a problem, she’ll fix it. Frustrated and confused by her lack of a gift and newly unstable home, Mirabela sets out to uncover the family’s secrets. During her quest, she discovers something interesting about both sisters: they feel pressured to keep it together. Consequently, they both want out.
I love how this story demonstrates what happens when we feel the need to hold things together or be completely perfect. We crack because we can’t. No one can bear the weight of impossible standards, and no one is capable of sustaining her life perfectly. No woman can actually maintain the perfectionism her personality test says she aspires to.
As much as we might not like to admit it, we’re all weak, needy, and dependent creatures. And let me tell you, sister: this is good news.
The Gift of Insufficiencies
But, I know, it doesn’t feel like good news. If you’re anything like me, you don’t like to be needy. You feel embarrassed by your inability to manage every detail of your life, cope when life gets hard, and remain put together in the midst of whatever comes. Thus, we often feel insufficient for whatever the moment requires. We think:
- I don’t have enough relational capacity to maintain all of my friendships in the ways I’d like.
- I don’t have enough bandwidth to remember all the details of my children’s schedules, wardrobes, and emotional needs.
- I’m not good enough at my job, so there’s no way I can please my boss and be successful.
- I don’t have enough time to get everything checked off of my to-do list.
- I don’t have enough energy to love my husband at the end of a long day.
- I’m not strong enough to withstand trials with faith and endurance.
But if you can relate to one of these statements, there’s hope for you. Because when you and I feel inadequate or incapable or in need of something beyond ourselves, we’re experiencing a God-given dependency, not a deficiency. God created us to need him. He made us, he filled the earth, and he upholds the universe (Gen. 2:7; Heb. 1:3). It’s because of him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
While we’re dependent upon him, he needs nothing from us (Acts 17:24–25). This isn’t just good news—it’s freeing! God’s ability to create, sustain, provide, and uphold us enables us to fall on our knees before him and freely admit, “I can’t. But you can.”
Our Resistance to God
So, why don’t we turn to God in our lack? Well, it’s a problem as old as Eden. God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden equipped with everything needed to sustain and fulfill them (Gen. 2:7–9). Yet, when tempted with the one thing God said they couldn’t have and didn’t need (Gen. 2:16–17), they decided God’s bounty wasn’t good enough. When they ate of the forbidden fruit, they demonstrated a desire for self-sufficiency (Gen. 3:6). Adam and Eve’s resistance to God’s provision was a rebellious declaration: God, we don’t need you.
Scripture tells us that we inherited this sinful aversion to dependence upon God (Rom. 5:19). We resist his provision, his help, and his involvement in our lives. Instead of living in full dependence upon him, we try to live life in our own strength.
Our culture doesn’t like help. It’s constantly feeding our aversion to neediness by telling us we can do it all and be it all. Because of messages like you’ve got this! and you’re enough!, we believe the lies that we’re capable of doing whatever we put our minds to and that it’s wrong to need help. Defeated by our inability to achieve perfection in our jobs, homes, relationships, emotional well-being, and everyday life, we crack because the truth is exposed.
Indeed, we’re as insufficient as we feel. We actually aren’t enough.
God’s Provision for Insufficiencies
But our insufficiencies aren’t limited to the stuff of everyday life. We fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). No matter how hard we try or how well we juggle all our responsibilities, we will never have enough power to save ourselves from our sin.
Our sinfulness reveals our need for someone perfectly capable to free us from sin. God, who has more than enough mercy and grace, sent his Son to save us (Eph 2:4–9). He provided for our insufficiency by sending an all-sufficient Savior.
This changes everything. Jesus’ death and resurrection not only save us from eternal judgment; his resurrection power permeates every aspect of our lives. We don’t have to prove anything. Jesus earned our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). There’s no need to strive to hold it together. Jesus is holding all things together (Col. 1:16–17). We don’t need to muster enough resilience for whatever life brings. Christ is our sure and steady anchor (Heb. 6:19).
When we feel like our gifts, personality, resources, faith, or time aren’t enough, we can rejoice in Christ, whose power and grace are always more than enough.
God’s Glory Shines Through Insufficiencies
So, back to those feelings of insufficiency. You and I both know they will resurface. What do we do with them?
Well, do you know what the apostle Paul said? He said he would boast about his weakness (2 Cor. 11:30). Paul didn’t hide or try to work his way out of his insufficiencies. Instead, he welcomed, embraced, and boasted in his weakness and the insufficiencies he experienced in God’s calling on his life. Why? Because they provided opportunities for God’s strength to shine (2 Cor. 12:9).
So, when we feel like we aren’t enough for our families, our jobs, our friends, or, let’s be honest, the ridiculous standards we place on ourselves every day, may we remember this:
Because of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ruling power, we are free to lean on him in our weakness and say, “I am not enough, but Jesus is.”
Jesus is sufficient today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.
Preach the Gospel to Yourself Challenge
- Question to Ponder: What area of your life do you feel most insufficient in?
- Truth to Remember: When we feel like we aren’t enough, we can rejoice in Christ, whose power and grace are always more than enough.
- Action to Take: Identify an area where your weakness feels painful, then share with (think: boast to!) a friend how God’s limitless power and grace are being displayed in that place.
Meet the Author
Lauren Washer is passionate about helping women to know and love God more through a deeper understanding of the Bible. She teaches the Bible and serves on the women’s ministry team at her local church. She and her husband, Bradley, live with their six children in Norfolk, VA. You can connect with her through her monthly newsletter, Hidden Treasure, or on Instagram.