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Not Good Enough

Lord, send me a nice girl, won’t you? Even as I mentally prayed the words, I knew I wasn’t worthy. I didn’t deserve a girl who’d stuck to the right path. I’d take a reformed girl though, one who’d made mistakes but regretted them, changed her life the way I was trying to change mine. We’d understand each other, help each other. How ’bout it, Lord?

—Jarret West in Summer at West Castle

Jarret led a selfish life. He made mistakes—big ones—and gone a long way down the wrong path.

But that was then. And this is now.

Now Jarret works his butt off to stay on the right path. Of course, most people don’t realize he’s changed. A lame tattoo could fade away sooner than a bad reputation. And, granted, old habits and weaknesses still tempt him. And, yes, he still makes mistakes. But he gets back up and he tries again. It matters to him. His relationship with Jesus matters to him.

Still . . . Jarret struggles to see himself worthy of good things.

“You accept bad things from the Lord, why do you not accept good?” someone once asked Jarret.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve made some pretty big mistakes, or you feel you lack the gifts and talents of those around you. You see the good in others, but you struggle to see it in yourself. So you find yourself expecting the worst, and you feel unworthy of anything or anyone “good.”

As the story in Summer at West Castle unfolds, Jarret grows in his understanding of himself and of God’s love for him. This is the growth we all need, especially those of us who tend to feel unworthy or not good enough.

“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”

― Pope Saint John Paul II

The same God who loved you into existence, also loves you at every moment of the day and wants only good things for you. You are not more or less unworthy than anyone else. We are all a work in progress, saints in the making. We all deserve suffering and pain because of our sins, but God wills only good for us.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

—Jeremiah 29:11


Suggestions for overcoming

the lie that “I’m not good enough”

  • When you fall, get back up and turn to Him again immediately and through the sacrament of Confession. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

  • Trust in His forgiveness and love and recognize the good He wishes to give you.

  • Learn to appreciate God’s gifts and develop them faithfully, so that when you are tempted to see only your faults, you will be reminded that God has not given up on you.

  • Praise God for the good you see in others, but don’t compare yourself to them. God invites each of us to glorify Him in a unique way. No one else has your specific mission. “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another” (St. John Henry Newman).

  • Remember that all good comes from God, whether it is a gift or talent, a special someone, or a holy life. “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:16-17).

  • Turn often in prayer to God. He loves you and desires to be in a close relationship with you. And the closer you draw to Him, the more He can heal and bless you. Saint Augustine reminds us that “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

  • In this year of Eucharistic Revival (called for by the US bishops), spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and witness the depths of His love for you.

  • Enjoy Catholic fiction with uplifting themes and characters that turn their lives around and grow in trust of God’s holy will, like Josie in Leslea Wahl’s contemporary adventure Into the Spotlight! Josie has spent the first two years of high school living in the shadows because the “popular” crowd made her feel like she isn’t good enough to belong. When a dramatic event shakes up her world, Josie finally realizes she is not being her authentic self. Discovering who God is calling her to be leads her on an adventurous journey that will ultimately deepen her faith.

  • Another good character for this theme is Kyle in the first short story in Corinna Turner's A Saint in the Family. Kyle is struggling with whether he's strong enough to be a priest.

  • God loves and never gives up on even the greatest sinners. You will find a perfect example of this theme in the saint story A Soldier Surrenders by Susan Peek. After living a life of soldiering, gambling, brawling, drinking, Camillus de Lellis seems like the last person who could ever be called by God.

  • A lot of the characters in The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch by T. M. Gaouette don't think they are good enough. They struggle with the fact that their parents "gave up on them." Benedict in particular feels like no one wants him, resulting in his struggle to accept the love that Martha and David are willing and desperate to give him.

  • Feeling "not good enough" affects people in different ways. Tanner Rose in T. M. Gaouette's Freeing Tanner Rose has a confidence issue too, that's why she hides behind a facade. She's afraid that if she let's go of it, she will be exposed, and all the fans will realize that she's just a girl struggling to find herself.

  • Rebecca in the powerful pro-life fiction For Eden's Sake by Gaouette feels like she's not good enough for her father. This is one reason she feels she should have an abortion--so that he doesn't find out and become even more disappointed in her.

“… even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

—Matthew 10:30-31

image by Inzmam Khan on Pexels

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