“You will never be enough. You’re a failure.” I could close my eyes and try to rest for a moment, or think about things that bring me joy…and within a few minutes, this same false narrative tries to permeate my mind still to this day. “You’re not enough” is harmful, but when words like never are inserted in these narratives, they can be very damaging if we choose to believe them.
When I started battling anxiety and depression in my early twenties, this false narrative showed up and grabbed ahold of me. When I was at work, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough until I worked myself into exhaustion. As a new wife, I didn’t feel like enough for my husband. As a Christian, I often held back from sharing because I didn’t feel like a good Christian. I believed all the damaging lies and naturally, they began to impact how I felt about myself.
Mental illness is the king of lies. It plants toxic thoughts in your mind and does everything in its power to get you to believe them and accept it as truth. Once you take the bait, it slowly pulls you under, like a bobber trying to stay afloat. As you sink deeper and deeper, it’s more difficult to swim back up to the surface. The spiral of depression shows no mercy.
The Bible says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).” Satan knows your vulnerabilities and he will try everything in his power to harm you and keep you far from God.
But God is greater.
For the first time in the last ten years, I feel like I’m gaining my power back over these toxic thoughts and false narrative. At some point, enough is enough, right? I’m not letting these damaging thoughts pull me under anymore and define who I am. Neither should you!
Mental illness is relentless, but so is God’s love for YOU! The
Here’s how to replace false narratives in your mind with what truly matters: God’s truth.
- Notice and define the false narrative. What lies keep popping up in your mind? If you don’t see a pattern yet, write them down in a journal. For me, it took awhile to generate the self-awareness I needed to see a pattern in my mind. Self awareness gives you clarity on what those toxic thoughts are and which ones are repetitive. Expose those lies. Let us see them for what they truly are – unhelpful, the opposite of true and damaging.
2. Take time to assess them. Do you know without a doubt this is true? Where could this be coming from? Is this thought helpful? If you believe it, will it help you be the person you want to be? Questioning your negative thoughts = freedom. For me, this has looked like…’no I do not know this to be true. It’s coming from a decade of feeling inadequate in my different roles. It’s not helpful to me at all. If I believe it, I will become a woman lacking confidence and not seeing myself the way that God sees me.’
3. Replace it with the truth. God’s truth. You know that the truth is? God adores you. He doesn’t define you or condemn you by ANY of your mistakes. He is a God of love, grace, strength, forgiveness and purpose. I promise you this: the more time you spend in the Bible, the more you will see the depths of his love for humanity. He loves us so much that He sent his son to die a gruesome death on the cross. For the sins of us all! The very last thing God wants is for you to be taken captive by the toxic thoughts in your mind. Even when it seems insurmountable, He provides us with a way out.
The Bible has all you need to combat those thoughts and replace them with the truth. Do a simple search by topic and you’ll find plenty of Bible verses to start with. For example, I found these verses that speak directly to my thoughts and feelings about not being enough or a failure…
Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:39
We are not defined by our bad moments or mistakes from the past. Nothing we do makes us unlovable or unworthy of God’s perfect love; His love isn’t based on what we do or don’t do. So there is nothing that will make God see me as ‘not enough’ or a failure. That is the truth.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33
Because Jesus has overcome the world, we have the power to overcome our toxic thoughts, lies, worries and doubts. With Him, ALL is possible. Remember to expose the lies you are being told, question their validity, and replace them with God’s Word instead. God sees you as capable, strong, and worthy. Allow Him to show you who you truly are.