We don't have to try to be good enough for God
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Sometimes these two words echo loudly in my mind. I have to be good enough to be noticed, good enough to make a difference in the world, good enough to matter.
Even the pavement seems to whisper it with every step I take: be good enough, good enough, good enough.
Sometimes this poison takes the form of holy enough, funny enough, talented enough, whatever else enough, but it always points to my desperate yearning and need for others -- and myself -- to know that I am good enough. Good enough to be worthy. Good enough to be loved.
Usually when the good enough echo falls, it leaves me feeling like I'm not good enough, not good enough, not good enough. I either shrink back in fear of failure, or my restless and broken heart keeps trying to strive just a little further, until it reaches the point of defeated exhaustion in my efforts to be good enough.
But good enough is a lie.
The truth? We are good -- without trying -- at the inmost being of who we are created to be.
God said so after he spoke us into being, in Genesis 1:31: "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good."
Of all the creatures he imagined into life, we are the ones he created in his holy and good image. He didn't say he found us good enough. Or not good enough. No, the holy God of the universe made us, looked and saw everything we were, are and ever will be, and then declared us very good.
When Adam and Eve took and ate the fruit of the tree of good and evil because the serpent lied to them and told them they weren't good enough as they were, that they weren't wise enough or alive enough, and that the God who blessed them with blessings beyond beautiful didn't love them enough to give them every good thing, God did not change his mind and declare us not good enough or bad. Instead, he pursued us harder to win us back to himself, desiring to speak the truth to us and help us believe it, even sending his only Son to prove to us that we are good. And worthy. And loved.
When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sin. He took the lies that serpent tells us and the lies we tell ourselves, he took the sins that we choose, and the lies that say we are contrary to good, and he destroyed them. His death on the cross proclaims what God knew and said in the very beginning: we are good.
Our God created us for himself. To be loved passionately by him. Trying to be good enough only gets in the way of the beautiful creation he created us as, the beautiful creation he loves deeply. It gets in the way of his transforming power that peels our sin away. We have to stop believing a snake that tells us we aren't good enough. We have to believe the God who looks, sees everything we are, and still declares us very good.
Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.