Do You Have What It Takes?

There’s a common undercurrent of insecurity in many men, and women. It’s bad enough as we struggle with our place or role in the world. It’s worse when it carries over into our perceptions of worth before God. 

worthlessI’ve ceased to be amazed. I have seen it now all too often among people I know or meet, young and old, male and female, Christian and non-Christian. It’s an undercurrent of insecurity that greatly impacts their perspective on God and how they believe He views them.

They consider themselves unworthy. Even insignificant. Not good enough.

And this includes people who are highly effective and successful by all outside appearances, as well as those who are not overtly accomplished or even disadvantaged.

It’s something we all have to work through. When we do, it’s a wonderful thing. We may have to remind ourselves or be reminded by those around us, but the implications for our daily living through this challenging world is profound.

Miss it, misunderstand it, fail to believe it or accept it’s reality is a major input toward the perpetuation of our own dysfunction, pain, fear, and/or hurt. It can limit careers, relationships, and create a dulling of life that saps joy, purpose, and resolve.

Before I share what “it” is, let me explain the 3 reasons why we need it, and the huge impact on how we answer the one question everyone is secretly asking themselves: “Do I have what it takes?”

3 Life (and Biblical) Truths
There are actually 3 fundamental truths about all of us as humans:

  1. We’re Born Imperfect – From birth we are born into sin as we are a product of the human race. Even as beautiful, innocent-looking, little infants we are born separated from God in very real terms. Our spirit, mind, body and souls, created in the image of God, are naturally separated even at birth from the intended spiritual connection to our Creator God. Adam’s sin broke the connection and we all reap the consequences: we are all naturally born sinners, flawed from birth, drawn to sin like a magnet, weak in the flesh though we desire to do good or be better. We may be nice and well-intentioned but we all have a serious problem with sin that separates us from our Holy God, whether we accept or believe this fact or not.
  2. We’re Invariably Broken and Hurt – Look deep into the heart and soul of any man or woman and you will find a deeply hurt and wounded person. John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart points out that for men there is often a deep and offending “father wound” that originates from our earthly fathers in some clear or understated way. And fathers have profound impact on their sons and daughters – how they love, accept, adore, encourage, support, protect, teach, lead, model, and guide (or not) has long-term implications on the health of their children. Robert Lewis in his Quest for Authentic Manhood series also highlights the wounds from our father, as well as our mother and other wounds such as isolation and a broken heart. In any event, men and woman emerge from childhood into adulthood with “issues” of passivity, insecurity, acceptance, aggression, anger, and variations on the spectrum between love and abandonment. No matter how “healthy” our parents, they carry forward flaws and brokenness to the next generation.
  3. We Hide our Pain and Shame – Just as Adam found a fig leaf, Jonah headed west opposite of Nineveh, David pushed Bathsheba’s husband to the front battle lines, and Peter went into hiding after denying Christ, all of us consciously or unconsciously hide or cover-up our sin, pain, wounds, and shame in a variety of ways, sometimes even effectively posing or covering-up our personal secrets, fears and dysfunction. As Eldredge puts it, “when you meet a man you meet a poser.” Actually all of us do it – men and woman. Some do it better than others, but everyone is hiding or posing, trying to put our best foot forward, with varying degrees of transparency.

Therefore a problem arises in our heart-of-hearts when considering the question: “Do I have what it takes?” and related questions of worth, love and acceptance like “Am I good enough?” or “Am I loved?”

To varying degrees we actually know the honest truth: we don’t have what it takes. We’re frauds – weak, insecure, and unworthy, unlovable.

I Know God Loves Me, But…
And it gets worse when you bring God into the picture. If you think about it, one can function in life even with their hidden secrets and brokenness and their posing. Many in fact go through life in denial of the implications of their “issues” beyond just “getting by” in life.

However, whether early or late in life, when one encounters the Biblical gospel of God’s gift of redemption through Christ’s atoning death on the cross, many readily accept it. They are happy to be “saved” and have their eternity-ticket wrapped up. They are now born again – a Christian – and intend to live happily ever after.

The problem is that they don’t. In fact they still sin. And actually, in many cases, they still think they are losers, frauds, hypocrites, guilty, guilty, guilty, and unworthy. Many cannot let go of their past sins or forgive those who have sinned against them. Many have not even connected or understand the source of their own brokenness, which may actually have been beyond their own control.

And they haven’t forgiven themselves and actually doubt that God can really forgive them too. I’ve heard men say in great shame: “You don’t know what I’ve done.” The implication is that their sin is too horrible for God to forgive. The burden of this is like a weight bringing one down constantly, even for a lifetime.

What’s the Fix? 
It’s actually a mental and spiritual shift. It’s a conscious move from managing and controlling all the painful variables in your own head to extending them out mentally and spiritually to God/Jesus in a once-and-for-all freeing act of surrendered submission. The past is past, surrender it to God. The pain past, present and future is to be surrendered to God.

It’s done in a simple prayer. Nothing fancy beyond your full, honest release – that’s it.

“Lord God, I’m done carrying this. It’s yours. Forgive me. It’s finished. Thank you for setting me free. Thank you that I now know that you really love me regardless of my past. In your eyes, the eyes that really matter, I do have what it takes. Amen!

Do you understand that, with Christ, you do have what it takes?
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” – Isaiah 43:25

Categories: Abundant Living, Faith, Fathering, Forgiveness, Manhood, Marriage, Parenting, Prayer, Suffering

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