Are you defining yourself by your weaknesses? Today gifted author Sharon Jaynes tells women how they can break free from the strongholds of inadequacy, inferiority and insecurity by changing the way they think about themselves and God.
Are you defining yourself by your weaknesses? Today gifted author Sharon Jaynes tells women how they can break free from the strongholds of inadequacy, inferiority and insecurity by changing the way they think about themselves and God.
Sharon: I’m from North Carolina, and we have the Andy Griffith show. Otis is the town drunk, and sometimes Otis will come into the jail house, and he will take the key off the wall, he’ll unlock the jail cell, he’ll go in, and he’ll lock himself back in. In the morning after a good nights rest, he unlocks it, and he lets himself out.
I was laughing about that scene one day, and I thought, “Oh Lord, we do that.” You have set us free – you’ve set us free, but we get those keys you see, and we unlock that door – we go back in there, and we lock ourselves up in that prison of shame, and that prison of condemnation. Jesus is standing on the outside saying, “What in the world are you doing in there?”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, December 10. Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. If you’re finding yourself trapped or imprisoned could it be that you actually climbed into the cell yourself? We’ll talk about that today.
Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition.
Dennis: I’ll bet Otis never thought he’d ever be used as a spiritual illustration.
Bob: Well, I’ll bet he did – because you know what – you know who Otis was? The guy who was Otis on the Andy Griffith Show went on for years to be Mr. Whittaker on Adventures in Odyssey.
Dennis: Boy, once again!
Bob: Did you know that? Hal Smith played Otis.
Dennis: Once again: Your host here on FamilyLife Today stands corrected by my buddy Bob Lepine. How did you remember that? That’s cool!
Bob: Well, that’s a great piece of trivia, which has nothing to do with what we want to talk about today. Before we get into what we want to talk about today, we want to remind our regular listeners about something really exciting that’s happening here at FamilyLife – here at year end we’ve had some friends of the ministry who have stepped forward. Well, they’ve made an exciting offer!
Dennis: An exclamation point!
Bob: We’re passing the news along to our listeners because frankly we need our listeners to join in and help us take full advantage of this offer they’ve made.
Dennis: They stepped up, and said, “We want to give your ministry here for your December match the largest gift you’ve ever had for this match – one million dollars – because we see what you’re doing, we see the timeliness of the message of FamilyLife Today. You’re anchored in the scripture, you’re for the family, you’re known by what you’re for, and we like the way that you’re doing ministry.”
Bob: Well, and once that happened news kind of leaked out, and some other families said, “Well, we want to give some money to the matching gift fund as well”. So, what’s happened is now we’re able to come to listeners and say, “If you make a donation during the month of December, your donation is going to be matched on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of $1,250,000.” Which again as you said the largest December matching gift we’ve ever received, and frankly we’re wondering do we have enough listeners to help us take full advantage of this matching gift?
Dennis: We are, in fact I wish you could be here as a listener in the halls at FamilyLife. There is an electricity here of anticipating God doing something very significant here at year end and then throughout 2010 as he uses us to rebuild the Christian family in America. We’re just inviting you to be a part of it, and you know what if you do that we’re going to be able to take full advantage of this matching grant that’s been offered by these families.
Bob: So, we’re hoping to hear from as many of you as possible this month. You can go on-line at FamilyLifeToday.com – make your donation online. You can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again the website is FamilyLifeToday.com or you can call 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY.
Every donation we receive is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $1,250,000. So, we really hope to hear from you, and keep in mind all donations are tax deductible. We only have a few weeks left so we hope you’ll make your donation today.
Dennis: I just want to remind you – your first giving responsibility begins with your local church. What you do here for us needs to be in addition to standing with your church in a strong and generous way.
Bob: Yes, once again you can donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your donation.
You know as I looked at the subject we’re talking about here this week I couldn’t help but think of a book that you and your wife Barbara wrote – actually the first book you wrote together? Building Your Mate’s Self Esteem – is that right?
Dennis: That’s right. I thought, here’s a book we’re looking at called I’m Not Good Enough, which is kind of the other side of the coin. I wondered did Dennis and Barbara write Building Your Mate’s Self Esteem because Dennis was struggling with self-esteem, or because Barbara was struggling with self-esteem or just because you saw other couples doing it?
Dennis: Well, I was struggling with knowing how to love my wife, and she was struggling with self-esteem, which is probably why she wasn’t.
Bob: Because her husband didn’t know how to love her very well?
Dennis: Because I was in the process of learning that. I do think though honestly helping her believe the truth about herself according to the scripture, and at the same time her belief in me speaking the truth in love to me was all about building one another up. I think it’s a timeless message from the scripture that our guest on today’s broadcast has picked up in her book: I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. Sharon Jaynes joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Sharon, welcome back.
Sharon: Thank you – I’m delighted to be here!
Dennis: Sharon is an author, a speaker at women’s conferences, she has been married to her husband Steve since 1980, and they have one adult son. You know I’m looking over all the books that you’ve written Sharon – have you always believed in yourself as a writer? Or, is this part of the message of this book: I’m Not Good Enough?
Sharon: You know it’s so funny because people say is this something that you dreamed about when you were a little girl? Absolutely not. I couldn’t spell when I was younger: I’m still not a very good speller! I didn’t read much when I was in high school, and a funny thing when my son was born in 1984 I just started reading everything I could get my hands on, and I began to love words, and love writing.
It’s as if God just opened up this whole part of my brain that I didn’t even know was there. But, no that wasn’t something I have always wanted to do. It wasn’t something I thought about. As a matter of fact, my college degree is in dental hygiene, so I actually took all Science and Math classes in college.
Dennis: Well, your book outlines a number of lies that women can believe. In a moment I want you to go over just a number of them real quickly. But, I was looking forward to asking you this question – do you think the title of this book, and the lie I’m not good enough is the biggest lie that women are tempted to believe, and to embrace in their lives?
Sharon: I do. I think it just spills over into every area of our life. We say I’m not a good enough wife, I’m not a good enough mother, I’m not a good enough daughter, I’m not a good enough child, and as I’ve talked with women in ministry for the past 25 years that’s what keeps coming up. It comes across in different ways, and they say I’m not good enough at this, or I’m not good enough at that, but that’s the lie that they’re buying into.
Dennis, they’re looking in the culture – they’re seeing billboards, magazines, they’re seeing women on the television screen, they’re comparing themselves to other people, they’re getting a message from the world that they’re definitely not good enough, but they’re getting that lie from the enemy, too. He’s the one that’s feeding all of that to tell us that we’re just not measuring up.
Dennis: So, is the lie one of inadequacy?
Sharon: Inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy those are the three “I”s. It’s interesting they all start with I because we’re focusing on ourselves, and not who we are as a child of God. So, I wrap it up in those three words.
Bob: For some women all three of these – inferiority, inadequacy, and insecurity it can be like the lie gets a grip on a woman’s soul and they’ve tried to get loose from that, and they don’t know how to. You talk about it as strongholds in their lives explain what you mean by that?
Sharon: Well, a stronghold is a thought pattern that’s formed over a period of time that’s just brick by brick, thought by thought. It really holds you captive and that becomes the undercurrent of every decision that you make. A stronghold can also occur from a one-time traumatic event. Let’s say someone was raped, or they were beaten – they can have a stronghold of fear that comes out of that.
The only way to destroy that is to change the way that we think. We in the Christian realm, and I guess in the world’s realm, too, we are all the time trying to change the way we act. But, you cannot act differently than you think so we have to change the way that we think. The Bible talks about renewing your mind: It says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Bob: Do you think your insecurity that you had growing up was a stronghold in your life?
Sharon: It absolutely was a stronghold! Someone might be thinking oh but then she became a Christian, and it was all gone, and God healed her, and it was happily ever after. But, you know what that wasn’t the case. I became a Christian when I was 14 through a mother in my neighborhood. I was so insecure before but then you know what happened? I became an insecure saved Christian. I mean I was going to heaven, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do until I got there. So, I was just wrapped up in all those feelings of inadequacy.
Now, I had a new lie you see – the new lie was I’m not a good enough Christian. I can’t pray like other people pray. I don’t have the faith other people have. I don’t see God doing in my life like I see in other peoples lives. It was a whole new set of lies, and we see that with Christians.
Christian women have such a feeling of inadequacy in their faith and in their Christian walk. They compare themselves which is really dangerous because we mess up. We’re going to all make mistakes. We can look through scripture and see that. I mean Peter is such a good example of someone who messed up. He made a terrible mistake. Three times he denied Christ. Did He say three strikes you’re out, and cut him off? Absolutely not, I mean when He was resurrected He said, “Go tell Peter and my disciples that I am alive.” Then we see when He met him on the beach and He asked him three times Peter do you love me? He was reinstating him into ministry basically. He was telling him I love you even though you made this terrible mistake. That is hard for us to grasp and to learn because you know what? We as humans don’t act like that. We don’t love that way naturally so it’s hard for us to understand that is how God loves us. We think we do have to perform.
I remember a friend of mine Annabel Gillham telling me a story about her son and how he taught her how God loved her. Annabel’s second child was born profoundly retarded and by the time he was moving into his early teen years they couldn’t care for him – he needed full-time care. He was actually in an institution at that point, but they would bring him home on the weekends. One particular weekend Mason was strapped in a chair. He had food and drool coming down his face, and she was washing dishes just mourning the fact that she was going to have to take Mason back to his home, and God just began to speak to her: Well, Annabel do you love Mason? “Oh God – I love Mason so much!”
Well, why? He can’t perform for you, he’s never going to walk down the aisle of a church and accept Christ, he’s never going to get on a school bus, he’s never going to get married, and have children. He can’t perform for you. Why do you love him? She said, “Oh God, I love him because he’s mine”. He said, “Annabel that is why I love you just because you’re mine. I don’t love you because you’re neat and tidy, and you can perform well. I love you just because you’re mine.” So, God sent her that incredible picture that day of God loving us just because we’re His.
Dennis: Yes, and it seems like in most human relationships they’re earned. Love and acceptance comes as a result of our performance. In the world it’s the same thing. To really get a new standard and a new picture of how we have worth and value apart from our performance is really one of the keys to being able to answer this lie that the enemy throws at us.
Sharon: I think we really need to get a handle on comparison. People compare themselves to other people, women compare themselves to other women, and people in ministry compare themselves to other people in ministry. We’ve got to stop doing that. We’ve got to be as you mentioned earlier, we’re God’s workmanship doing a work that He’s planned for us to do. It’s very unique, it’s very specific, and it’s for us, and we need to stop comparing.
Dennis: Comparison is really a trap!
Sharon: It is such a trap – nobody wins in comparison.
Dennis: No, they don’t – you can always find somebody who’s doing it better than you are.
Sharon: You can – always!
Bob: Well, and we’re all aware of our flaws, but we’re also aware of our failures. How does a woman or how does anyone for that matter deal with the reality of failure in your life? I mean you think, I have blown it, I’ve made a mess of things. I’ve made mistakes that have been life altering mistakes for you or for other people you know. I mean I’m thinking about folks I know who have been in some pretty messy situations in their lives. They’re very aware of their failures – do they just kind of think well I’m going to pretend that never happened and put on a happy face? What do you do?
Sharon: I think that our failures can be incredible springboards for ministry. I think about the account of Jesus being resurrected from the dead. When He came back, and He went before those disciples they didn’t know who He was until what – He held out His hands – they saw His scars. Once they saw His scars they knew it was Him, and I started praying about that.
Lord why did He keep the scars? I mean He raised the dead, He healed the sick, He made the blind to see, He put fresh skin on the leper’s hand, why did He keep the scars? Then it occurred to me – He kept the scars so that people would know who He was because they were precious to Him.
See, when we aren’t ashamed of our failures God will use those very failures – those are scars in our lives you see. People will come to know Christ because we’re not ashamed of our scars. See Satan wants us to think – oh you don’t want anybody to know you’ve done that – you can’t tell anybody you’ve done that. You’ve had three abortions. I wouldn’t let anybody know that – they’ll kick you out of the church. So, we hide it – we don’t want anyone to know.
You know I think about my own Father – this mean snake of a man, who drank, beat his wife, and he was a horrible man. But, when I was in my 20’s my Father came to the Lord. You know what happened was God sent him on a five hundred mile trip away from home. He needed someone to pray for him, he found this pastor in the woods and my Father just poured out his heart to him, and just told him everything he had ever done. That man put his arm around my Dad and said, “Now Alan – let me tell you what I have done.”
He began to share that he had done the same things in his life – the same failures in his life that my Father had committed in his own life and my Father saw Jesus in him. So, when we think of our failures and think God could never use me – I’ve messed up terribly – all that is so much a lie of the enemy. Because see when you have a beautiful scar not a wound but something you’ve gone through: A failure that God has then healed in your life He’s redeemed it! Then we turn around and use that for good – we turn around, and it helps other people.
People are a lot more impressed with our failures that God has turned around and used for good than they are with perfection in our life. I don’t know many people who’ve come to Christ because somebody has come up and told them how perfect they were, but they do come to Christ when someone says, “You know what – I have messed up terribly, and this is how God has forgiven me, this is how He is redeeming that, and He’s turning it around, and He’s using it for good.
Dennis: I think a lot of people today are looking for the very authenticity you are talking about. It’s people who are willing to peel back the layers of their lives, and let others look in and see where they have failed. The very issue of three abortions—we’ve told some of those stories here on FamilyLife Today. When we tell those stories here the phone calls come in from other people who’ve been locked up, and imprisoned in a self-imposed isolation around their sin. When finally somebody else came clean publicly, and declared it. It gave them the freedom to say, “You know what – there really is freedom in coming clean of your shame, and talking about the forgiveness of Christ that He offers.” The great lie of the enemy is: What you’ve done, Christ won’t forgive you for, or He won’t forgive you for that.
I mean, the cross represents forgiveness but God won’t forgive you for that – well that’s a lie and that lie is trying to keep individual people locked up in their own sin, and their own shame, and their own guilt, and not experiencing the love of Christ that ultimately came to set them free, and to use their story in other peoples lives.
Sharon: Revelations says, “They overcame him” – talking about the enemy. They overcame Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” Just think about that – that our own personal stories have so much power that they’re in the same sentence with the blood of the lamb. That is amazing – so no wonder he wants us to keep it quiet, no wonder he doesn’t want us to know when to feel shame. But Dennis as you’re talking about people saying, “God can’t forgive me of that.”
What I see even more than that is I hear women say, I know God forgives me, but I just can’t forgive myself. I just can’t forgive myself. When they say that, that’s like saying that what Jesus did on the cross is not enough – that there has to be something more. That is one of the lies that I have to help women work through on just accepting and receiving that forgiveness.
Bob: You know in one sense the title of your book: I’m Not Good Enough could be an affirmation. We could say, “Here’s what’s true about me – I’m not good enough.”
Dennis: You really aren’t! You’re never going to be!
Bob: That’s the liberating good news because Christ is sufficient. Christ in me is changing me. Yes, I’m not good enough meaning I’m not perfect but in Christ I am forgiven. In Christ I am redeemed – in Christ I am a new creation, and God sees me differently and so now I’m good enough in Him to please the Father. That really is all that ought to matter – right?
Sharon: That’s exactly right, and that is so liberating and free. I’m from North Carolina and we have the Andy Griffith Show – do they play that here?
Bob: Oh yes – it wasn’t just in North Carolina!
Dennis: They made it across the border into other states.
Sharon: But, there’s this one scene: Otis is the town drunk and sometimes Otis will come into the jailhouse, and he will take the key off the wall – he’ll unlock the jail cell, he’ll go in, and he’ll lock himself back in, and in the morning after a good nights rest he unlocks it, and he lets himself out. I was laughing about that scene one day, and I thought “O Lord we do that. You have set us free – you’ve set us free but we get those keys you see, and we unlock that door – we go back in there. We lock ourselves up into that prison of shame and that prison of condemnation. Jesus is standing on the outside thinking what in the world are you doing in there? I’ve already set you free. We need to stop locking ourselves back up!
Bob: One of the very first Bible verses I ever learned was 2 Corinthians 5:17. If any man is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things have become new. That’s great good news isn’t it?
Dennis: It really is! I have my Bible open here to Isaiah 43 verse 25, and I have at the top of this written in my own handwriting “This is the promise of God.” Listen to what it says, “I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Sharon: Isn’t that amazing? You know I did a word study on that remembering and I thought how can God not remember? He’s omniscient – right? How can He not remember? That really confused me, and then I went back through scripture, and I looked every time when it says, “God does remember. He remembered Noah, he remembered Sarah, it means He was about to do something.” He was about to act so when it says, “That God doesn’t remember or God forgets our sins that means He’s not going to act on them anymore.”
Dennis: Yes, He goes on to say in that same book Isaiah that He will make a roadway in the desert: Springs like an oasis to replenish and it’s a picture Bob I think of the verse you just quoted how He makes us new and does a miracle in our lives. The issue is are we going to believe Him?
Bob: Yes, that’s the issue of faith. Are we going to believe that what God has said is true because He has said it, and He is truth? Or are we going to believe the lies that come from our emotions, that come from our circumstances, and that come from the mixed messages we get from the culture around us? Really if we’re going to reorient our thinking and rest in what is true then we need to be reminded of what is true. That’s what Sharon has done for us in the book that she has written called I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves.
You can get more information on our website FamilyLifeToday.com. Just go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information or to order a copy of the book from us online. If it’s easier call toll free 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life,” and then the word TODAY. Of course when you get in touch with us we can answer any questions you have or let you know how you can have copies of Sharon’s book sent to you.
You know we have started to hear this week from some of our listeners. They’ve heard us talking about the matching gift opportunity that has been made available to us here during the month of December. These folks have already gotten in touch with us to say they want to be a part of helping FamilyLife take full advantage of this matching gift opportunity.
We had some friends of the ministry who came to us and said they are willing to match every donation we receive this month on a dollar for dollar basis. So, when somebody gives us a $50 donation these friends of the ministry are giving a $50 donation of their own to match it. They’re going to do that all the way up to a total of $1,250,000. Now I’ll tell you it is encouraging for us to hear from folks who are excited, who want to partner with us, and want to make sure that we’re able to take full advantage of this matching gift opportunity.
So, if you can help with a donation of any amount this month all you have to do is go to the website FamilyLifeToday.com. Make your donation online or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make your donation over the phone. Whatever you’re able to do and support FamilyLife Today we do appreciate your support, and we want to say thanks in advance for your partnership with us
Now tomorrow Sharon Jaynes is going to back with us. We’re going to talk more about believing the truth, and rejecting lies, and I hope you can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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