How can I be enough?

By Darcy Peterson
In Got Questions
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“I will not should on myself today.”

These are the words that were spoken over me as I sat in the office of my friend, pastor and boss to tell him that I had made, yet another mistake on his calendar. I rambled on and on about how I should’ve done this and should’ve done that. He just sat there in his nicely pressed navy-blue button up, his perfectly coifed hair and a small grin slightly hidden beneath his full, trademark beard that screams wisdom (Barry Jones, if you haven’t guessed it). He was not nearly as concerned with my mistake as I was. It wasn’t even a blip on his radar.

However, for me, I was unraveling on the inside. Feelings of guilt and shame pierced through my body like a middle-aged woman having the worst of hot flashes. Feelings like this are a daily occurrence for me from as far back as I can remember: the ever-present inner voice that has told me over and over that I wasn’t good enough. The voice that causes me to question my intelligence, my worth and has prevented me from receiving love from both those I’m closest to and from God. For many years, I’ve allowed this inner voice, this false story, as I like to call it, to guide my steps. I was completely unaware of what I was missing because I had become so accustomed to the point of comfortable living in this story. God knew I was comfortable and about 10 years ago began to gently nudge me by way of a certain middle-aged-hipster worship pastor at IBC named Jason Elwell.

If you know Jason, then you know that anytime you sit at a table with him, there is no such thing as a surface conversation. He pokes and prods like a mosquito that just won’t leave you alone. And, like a mosquito, he leaves a mark and it’s one that itches, but in a way that forces you to look a little further inward and ask yourself some hard questions. Questions like, why do I think so little of myself? Why do I question everything I do? Why is it hard for me to believe that I am a beloved of God? Why do I get so angry about certain things? So many questions and so many thoughts. To have a safe space to process such questions has been transformational for me. As I look back, I realize there were five different things that helped me answer those questions.

The Enneagram

    You may have read the wonderful piece written by MaryAnn Connor about the Enneagram shared on IBC’s new blog. If not, DO! The Enneagram, when used correctly, was eye-opening for me. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am without first diving into the Enneagram. I am an Enneagram Type 2, which means I LOVE to help people. The Enneagram has helped me to become self-aware about who I am at the core, what my motivations are, and where they come from. When I say, “used correctly”, I mean that you shouldn’t do what I did, which was put all my focus into the Enneagram. I was focusing so much on what I was learning through the Enneagram that I forgot who I was in God’s eyes. So, disclaimer: If you begin to learn about the Enneagram, do it, but keep God at the center.


      Community provided me a safe space, and nothing is off limits in that space. We get down into the weeds and climb back up to the top of the mountains. We dissect those hard questions. Around our table, I could fight but I couldn’t flight because My community encouraged me to stay and process instead of pushing things down or running away.

      Prayer & Scripture

        I began to ask God to draw me near to Him and to help me to see myself the way he sees me, a beloved child of a good and gracious God. I followed that prayer up with the scariest four words, I believe, in a Christian’s life… DO WHATEVER IT TAKES. That prayer of surrender was hard, but it was worth it to see God do what was necessary to bring me draw me near to him. once I started to get into a rhythm of prayer and asking God to draw me near, I also asked Him to help me understand his Word and to bring the Scriptures to life for my finite brain. And because of two friends who love God’s word, I had a safe space to ask the questions I wouldn’t ask anyone else, and it began to open my mind and heart ot experience God’s Word in a whole new way.

        Spiritual Mentors

          I’ve had the great privilege of sitting only a few feet from brilliant theologians. To say I hang on their every word is an understatement. While my friends can sometimes be boring, they have some really great things to say AND books to recommend. While I’m not much of a reader, I was challenged to make that a discipline over this past year, and because of that, there are now two authors that I lovingly refer to as my spiritual boyfriends. (Not sure I’m allowed to say that). Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning have been greatly influential in my journey and have discipled me with their words like no other. I will often buy their books for close friends and family because their wisdom, knowledge, humility and grace have touched me so deeply.


            It took me a VERY long time to make it to this step. I grew up in a family that I love dearly, but one that didn’t really have the wherewithal to even consider counseling. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom a hard-working Christian woman, therefore we were very much a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” kind of family. Now, 46 years later, I am in my first full year of counseling and it has been so so hard, but so so good! While many looks at counseling as weakness, I believe it’s actually a brave step of hard work.

            These steps have been integral to my growth, and while I still battle that voice in my head, it’s not as often. I am more aware of when that voice enters the room, because I can hear it very clearly and more quickly recognize where it’s coming from. When that negative voice begins to speak, I think about a couple quotes from my spiritual boyfriends, I mean spiritual mentors, Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen, that remind me that I am enough:

            “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” - Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
            “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved”. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.” - Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

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