how to get over your “I’m not [something] enough” thing

It’s my birthday today. For years, I have loathed when people ask my age. When I taught English at the university level as a young twenty-something, I felt like the question was sort of incredulous of my position or intended to somehow put me in my place, especially when I had students who were just a few years younger (and several students and colleagues who were much older).

I couldn’t wait to turn thirty. I thought that was the magic number that might bring some credibility to my years. But it didn’t seem to. It didn’t feel like it at least.

“How old are you? …Oh, you’re just a kid!”

When pressed for my age, my standard reply has become “old enough to know better; young enough to still try.” This usually gets a laugh and people move on. Not many are bold enough to ask, “No, really, how old?” …But some do.

I began to realize that those who want to condescend based on my age are actually saying more about their own insecurities, maybe, than they are about me? And frankly, if they are going to think less of me for my age and I don’t tell them it, they’ll just find something else to hold over me. If I let them.

Groan, but I still hated to share.

Then today, for some reason, it just didn’t matter any more. I didn’t feel judged or criticized or belittled. People asked and I told. It is the number of years I’ve been given here on Earth thus far, a simple fact.

I don’t think I’ve suddenly reached an age of credibility. I don’t think some magic thing happened between going to bed as a 36-year-old and waking up as a 37-year-old.

So what is it? This new found freedom?

I’ll tell you what I think: somewhere there in the last 365 days, and for many of the 365-days before it, God has been reshaping my heart, reminding me that there are bigger concerns and a bigger picture, that He is all the credibility I need at any age.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

You, the age you are, the place you are, the gifts (and limitations) you have are by design. God made you with a purpose, and whatever your self-perceived shortcomings are, He’s not ignorant of them.

From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live (Acts 17:26).

God wants to use you, not when you’re “old enough” (or whatever enough), but now. Today. [And that’s pretty freaking liberating if you really think about it, no?]

I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free (Psalm 119:32).

So, anyone else out there ever felt… not quite something enough? Old enough, talented enough, smart enough, thin enough, young enough, qualified enough? That ends today, m’kay? Wheeeeeeee!

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7 responses to “how to get over your “I’m not [something] enough” thing

  1. thanks, gina, for your wittyness and yes as I have gotten older , I do not care to tell people my age of 49 soon to be 50 in 2014, mainly I guess because I am thankful to be here after having ovarian cancer. I tell all my patients that and it is a great way to introduce what God has done in my life. and just a note, I am sorry if I let Claire climb on the table, you were right that she should not be up there for safety sake, she looked so sleepy to me and so cute wanting to lay down and take a nap. hoping to put in 8 hours of
    work, come home by 5:00, relieve babysitter, head out door with bella to avery’s creek open house, see her sing at 5:30 and then quickly come to church to meet my dear mom who has a hard time getting around our big church hopefully by 6 or so, Brent will hopefully make it to bella’s school but cath lab at mission hosp. is quite unpredictable when you are dealing with people and heart attacks. anyway, he is taking up the duty of getting Bethany to tumbling at aero all stars in h’ville hopefully by 6:30 with ben and bella tagging along then finishing there, home by 8 pm to get ben and bella to bed asap and hopefully bethany will not have to do too much more homework since she is taking all honors classes. this is a marathon day and i am just praying that i can keep up my strength and be able to listen to lori and the other speakers tonight. most days are not quite as crazy but tis the season in our lives right now and it goes by so fast because we are so busy. i hear this all the time from my patients at work who are in their 60’s all the way to 90’s. i enjoy my work so much but felt so blessed to be off yesterday just to come to church to sit and laugh with some ladies yesterday
    please keep on doing what you are doing, Gina. You are so multitalented and I can see what an excellent teacher you are and have been in a formal teacher position. You remind me alot of Bethany’s 9th grade teacher, ms castelloe at TCR taht i met tues. pm at open house. hopefully your teaching career will and has become valuable in raising 3 kids.
    IN CHRIST’S LOVE, MARY KNECHT

    work, thhen come

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  2. Thank you, I am now at the age where my friends are grandparents and I am on the ledge of it (My oldest just started college so there is a little time but you know what I mean) and I also have to remember that I am where I am today because God has designed it that way. It is good to realize that we can’t be controlled by what other people say and think. We answer to God not man. I so appreciate the wisdom you share with us. You are a blessing to me.

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  3. I completely understand how you felt! Mike is 14 years older than me and I thought turning 30 (when he was nearing 44) would add credibility when people looked at us, talked to me, etc. Now, at the ripe age of 31, that doesn’t matter!

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  4. Such wisdom @ such a young age…YES YOUNG! Thanks for sharing your many God-given gifts with us. You are a BLESSING to many. Happy Birthday, Miss Gina! πŸ˜€

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