When you think you’re not good enough

I remember it like it was yesterday. I’m twelve, maybe thirteen. I sit behind a desk with a handful of other students. The teacher holds in her hand a high stack of tests and starts passing them around the room, one by one. In a stern tone, she says, “Put all your personal belongings under your desk. Keep only your pencil out. You will have two hours to complete this test. Make sure to fill in your answers completely.”

My stomach starts to churn. The teacher eyes the clock on the wall. It glares at me with a threatening look. “Okay. And your time starts now.” The sound of papers rustling echoes throughout the room. I sweat nervously. There’s no way around it. I do not like taking tests.

Even though we were homeschooled, Mom made us take standardized tests every year. She wanted an outside assessment of how we were doing. Also, hoping we would get scholarships to college, she and Dad wanted to make sure we were exposed to testing.

While sports came naturally to me, I struggled to read. When I was young, my parents determined I was dyslexic, which simply means I process things differently. I had a hard time reading books, writing essays, and taking timed tests. I would get frustrated easily. Why can’t I just pick up a book and read it like everyone else? Why does it have to take me hours and hours? Going into high school, I wondered if I’d pass algebra or be able to take the SATs, let alone make it through college.

If you had told me when I was young that I’d not only graduate college but also maintain a 3.7 GPA, I’d have laughed in your face. I am so grateful for Susan Vanderlinde, my tutor growing up, whose knowledge and compassion made the learning process so much easier. She was a blessing!

Back to the testing day, I sat beside a kid from church. He was picked on mercilessly for being short (by church kids no less!). As I leaned over the exam, slowly reading question after question, from the corner of my eye I noticed him zooming through each page. At the halfway mark, he put his pencil down. He was finished. Wow! People may have poked fun at this kid for his small stature, but he was a genius. Turns out, he received a nearly perfect score, while I had many wrong answers and barely finished in time.

Every one of us struggles with something. And that struggle can all too quickly influence us to think we’re not good enough. I could have easily walked away from that classroom thinking, I’ll never be good enough at tests. And that kid could have walked away from church many times thinking, I’ll never be good enough to fit in.

If you struggle with not feeling good enough, know this: God knew about you even before you were born! When you came into existence, He gave you what it takes to fulfill a unique purpose. You may not be the quarterback of a team, a famous rock star, an award-winning actress, or an Olympic gymnast, but you have a special ability. And with God, that’s always more than enough.

– cross walk

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