Not Good Enough – Guest Post by Ana Bright

{Guest Post by Ana Bright from These Bright Ideas}

You are not good enough. You never will be.

And that’s okay.

Not Good Enough

I’ve spent most of my life not feeling good enough. Two of the three memories of my biological father are filled with fights and anger. In the other memory, he picked my little brother and me up at our daycare (I was no older than 4) and we rode in a taxi with him. I found out years later that it wasn’t a taxi and he wasn’t supposed to be picking us up. He kept my brother and I for a week and he refused to tell my mom where we were. When he finally brought us back home, he made sure to tell my mom, “Just so you know, I can get them whenever I want.”

I haven’t seen or heard from him since then nor do I care to. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent years wondering why I wasn’t good enough for him to stick around and why he didn’t love me. I guess you could say I have daddy issues. And those issues have been transferred to most relationships in my life. Most of all my relationship with God.

Not Good Enough

Always in fear of being abandoned, I took the mentality of ‘leave before you’re left.’ It’s a mentality that seemed to protect me most of the time. Looking back now, one that probably played in my divorce.

After a 6-month span of craziness and bad choices, I finally started to forgive myself. And about a year after the ink dried on the divorce papers, I came to Christ and was baptized. That was 6 years ago. I’ve been remarried now for four but I still struggle with not feeling good enough. It feels like I have to earn love and acceptance, even from people who love me the most. And especially from God. He knows everything I’ve done and thought about doing in my life. Some things I’ve never told a soul. How could He possibly love me?

But He does.

I don’t have to get to a place where I’m lovable. I don’t have to be the perfect Christian. That is an oxymoron after all. Romans 5:8 says it so perfectly, “but God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

There are no exceptions to this.

I am loved. Exactly where I am. Exactly as I am. And so are you.

Not Good Enough


 

ana brightMy name is Ana Bright. I’ve spent my life as a daughter, wife, mom, high school math teacher and now a stay-at-home mom of three great kids. It is the most challenging and most rewarding role I’ve ever undertaken. Since early 2008, I’ve called myself a daughter of the King of Kings, by far, my favorite title. Once my brain turns on, my mind moves a million miles an hour. To keep myself sane, I spend time having mind dumps through my writing at These Bright Ideas and hurling around heavy stuff at the gym.

I Removed Facebook, Instagram, and Safari From My Phone

My connection to the world.  My creative outlets.  My entertainment, interaction, and source of information all gone…

For now at least.

idols

I have a smartphone, like the majority of you do.  I have my favorite apps on there that I use daily. To no surprise, it’s Facebook, Instagram, and the included internet feature of Safari. These are awesome tools for sharing pictures, communicating with friends, doing business, and reading up on the latest news.  I love them, maybe a little too much.  Or maybe it’s my love of photographing my children…and sharing online…that I love too much.  It could be the feedback from friends, family, and followers that I love too much.  What if it’s the feeling of worth and value I get when I see how many “likes” a picture received that I love too much?  Should I continue? I think you get the picture.

These apps are cool things.  They are good things.  Their uses are profitable and CAN BE beneficial.  But where does it go wrong? When does the GOOD get in the way of the BEST?

The good gets in the way of the best when Facebook is the first thing you reach for in the morning before you wipe the sleep out of your eyes.  The good gets in the way of the best when checking your Instagram news feed is the last thing you need to see before dozing off.  The good gets in the way of the best when surfing the internet for mindless poop is an automatic reaction to the silence in a room full of people, and you don’t know how to fill that awkward void.

When life is calm, there is a breathing moment, and time has slowed down for just a millisecond….and your body itches to pull up Facebook because you have nothing to do…that’s when the good gets in the way of the best.

Don’t even get me started on how these apps on my phone have taken away attention from my children, husband, and quiet time.  I don’t need to tell you what a distraction they are from work, chores, and the BEST things in life.  We know that already.  This isn’t a post on what a horrible person you are for looking at your phone while your daughter is twirling in her dress at the park.  That’s already been written.

What I’m talking about is how these apps on my phone have become my idol.  Ouch.  Yep…a direct offense of the First Commandment that the Lord gives:

Exodus 20: 3-6 (The Message)

“3 No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”

My phone became my idol.  I served it first, I served it most, and I served it above the one true God who created me! He loves me so fiercely that he is jealous of my attention, my loyalty, my time, and my love.  Why? Because his love for me is so great and grand, that he gave his son to die a brutal death on a cross just so I can be in God’s presence for all of eternity.  He has a right to be jealous of my worship.  The apps on my iPhone, not so much.

Removing the apps from my phone is temporary.  I’m on a cleanse.  I’m reprogramming my automatic tendencies to stare at my phone most of the day, and instead reaching for scripture, praying, studying my children, hugging them with both hands empty of any distraction, and replacing the good with God’s best.

The Lord will tell me when the time is right to install the apps back to my phone. He will tell me when, and HOW, to use these forms of social media for not only my benefit, but for the benefit of others and his kingdom.  Please don’t think I’m saying Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever form of social media you love are bad or evil.  They’re not.  They can be used for good.  But when the good gets in the way of the best, that’s when we are really on the losing end of the deal.

I will still log onto Facebook from my computer, but I’m not on there NEARLY as long or as often compared to when I browse it on my phone.

What has become your idol?  Maybe you can directly relate to these apps becoming your primary focus over the better things God has for you.  What if it’s work?  Volunteering?  Crafting? Exercising? Money?

I don’t know.  But God does, and he can reveal that to you if you pray and ask him to.  God has so many blessings ready to give you, but he can’t if you are worshipping another god.  That other god (idol) that you worship cannot fulfill your needs the way God can.  Repent from your sin of allowing something else to become an idol over God, and ask for his power to help you change. Only through Christ can you transform your mind and live differently from what the world says is normal, what the world says is good.  I want God’s best.  How about you?

Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message)

“1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. DON’T BECOME SO WELL ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING (emphasis added). Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Because You Want To Be Called “Daddy” – A tribute to all dads.

Dear “Daddy”…

As Father’s Day draws near, it reminds us all to stop and pay tribute to our father.  Every single one of us has a father.  We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t ;) !

Fathers deserve a little recognition and “thanks” for what they’ve done for us, but DADS deserve more.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort, sacrifice, or commitment to be a “father”.  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “father” as this: a man who has begotten a child. The definition of “daddy” is this: a father.  Merriam-Webster, while your definition of “daddy” is true, it’s not accurate.  DADDY is not a synonym for father.  They are totally different.  And you, DADDY, are more than just a father.

A man becomes a father after biological reproduction.

A man becomes a DADDY by choice.

Fathers DayHaving your child call you Daddy is a privilege earned by love, hard work, sleepless nights, commitment, encouragement, quality time, and sacrifice.  YOU are a Daddy because you have chosen to be one.

You uncomfortably sat through the ultrasound visits…because you want to be called Daddy.

You helped pick out the name, even though your contribution of “Hulk” or “Hogan” got shot down quickly…because you want to be called Daddy.

Father's Day

(photo credit: Leslie Tate)

You spent hours in the floor, cursing Graco under your breath, as you assembled baby gear…because you want to be called Daddy.

You were there in the delivery room, coaching and encouraging, as you witnessed the miracle of your child being born…because you want to be called Daddy.

Father's Day

(photo credit: Paperlily Photography)

…or maybe…You signed one million papers, raised what seemed like one million dollars, and waited what felt like one million days to finally hold that child in your arms and welcome him into your home…because you want to be called Daddy.

Father's Day(photo credit: Hannah Wood)

You traded in that Georgia red, lifted up, F-150 to buy the four door sedan…because you want to be called Daddy.

Father's Day

You swallowed your pride, strapped on that baby carrier, and wore your child on your chest…because you want to be called Daddy.

You fought back the urge to vomit and pushed through that diaper change…because you want to be called Daddy.

You canceled on the guy’s poker invitation, fight night, or pick up game to spend time at home…because you want to be called Daddy.

Father's Day(photo credit: Christy Martin Photography)

You learned the words and can sing along to Dora the Explorer, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Bubble Guppies…because you want to be called Daddy.

You take off work to be at pre-school’s Donuts with Dad and you leave work early to be there for the t-ball game…because you want to be called Daddy.

You kiss boo-boos, give baths, brush teeth, clean up toys, and go on special ice cream runs…because you want to be called Daddy.

Father's Day

You go to work, provide for your family, and sacrifice financially…because you want to be called Daddy.

You cuddle, love, support, protect, guide, discipline, teach, and listen…because you want to be called Daddy.

I know you don’t do all of these things because you HAVE TO, because you’re their father.  You do it…and more…because you WANT TO.  Because you’re their DADDY.

And because you’re AWESOME!

Happy Father’s Day not only to a father, but someone who chooses, EVERY DAY….to be a DADDY.

Father's Day

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”