Dear good girl,
I’ve been you. I am you. At college, I am the token Christian, and as such I feel pressured to make my life seem peachy keen at all times because God’s got this. At home, I am the oldest sister, held up as an example. At work, I am the youngest employee, and as such I feel the need to prove my excellence.
Good girl, because I am so much like you, I feel as if I know you. I know you are trying to serve, to be a good example, to work diligently, to excel, and to love others. I know your life is an endless attempt to be good enough. And here’s the thing: I know it’s not working. I know that no matter how much it seems like you’ve got it all together, you look at yourself and see a laundry list of things you could have done better.
In fact, your efforts to be good enough won’t ever work. You will never be good enough, because nothing you can do will ever win God’s favor. As Paul writes in Romans 3:20, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
“But now, the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and all the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22).
You will never be good enough, but Jesus Christ has already been good enough in your place. He is good enough to cover all your sins by the blood of His cross, to lavish His grace on you, to wipe you clean of all your sins and bring you before God His Father, who holds out His golden scepter to you in a kingly pardon. He is good enough to win you adoption into His family, as His sister. He is sufficient. He is enough.
Because He is enough, you do not always have to look like you have it all together. In fact, sometimes it’s quite the opposite, as He makes His grace perfect in weakness, in these jars of clay we call our bodies (2 Corinthians 12:9, 4:7-10). You do not always have to be in control; in fact, the Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (Exodus 14:14). He calls you not to be good enough, but to believe (Romans 10:9-10), and a broken and contrite heart He will not despise (Psalm 51:17).
Good girl, the God of the universe called you Daughter before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). He set you aside as His child before you did the dishes for your mom and before you stayed up late to comfort a crying friend. He decreed that His Son would die for your sins before you went on a missions trip, kept yourself pure till marriage, or set aside a daily quiet time.
He predestined you for adoption before any of those things even happened, not because He knew you would do them (although He did), but in love (Ephesians 1:5). This love is so deep and so wide that we can’t even begin to understand it, and yet He gives us the strength to try (Ephesians 3:21-22). His grace was not merely given to us, but lavished on us, in all wisdom and insight (Ephesians 1:8).
So, good girl, walk in light. Strive to be self-controlled and strong, faithful and merciful, compassionate and kind, hungry and thirsty for righteousness. But as you strive to be an imitator of God, do so as a beloved child (Ephesians 5:1), not as someone who has a debt to pay. Live in the freedom of knowing that the burden of being good enough does not rest on your shoulders. It is a burden He has already taken from you, a burden He already bore.
Nothing you do can make you good enough; you are not good enough. But hear me when I say to you that He is.