You Aren’t Good Enough…

“You aren’t good enough…” That has been a recurring thought in the back of my mind for the majority of my life. A perfectionist to the core, I’ve often idolized being perfect and would do everything in my power to attain perfection, but then, when I’d fall short, I’d remind myself, “Maren, you aren’t good enough.” My inward reflecting was debilitating and discouraging to my overall self-esteem. Regardless of what it was specifically, I’d tell myself that I wasn’t adequate. Whatever it may be: body image, intelligence, cleanliness, work ethic, friendliness-I wasn’t adequate. I did this over and over for years but it wasn’t until within the last few months that God allowed me to realize that these things were pure lies.

A friend of mine had recently answered God’s calling to her life by taking a step in obedience to do ministry. She shared with me her struggle of trusting God daily with His plans for her and because of that, she often believed in lies that were not from God. However, since the day she took this courageous step, she planned to overcome her struggle with replacing those lies with scriptural truth. She had plastered her bedroom walls with bible verses, one specifically I remember distinctly:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,             whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
-Philippians 4:8

Then, finally, it hit me. All those years I had been believing lies from the devil. They weren’t true. I finally realized that I had been in a spiritual battle…one with that of Satan. The more I follow Christ’s will for my life, the more Satan will attempt to lead me astray. The only way I could win that battle was to fight it with scriptural truth. So now that I realize what I need to fight, I can take action by looking up verses for specific topics that I struggle with. For instance, if I’m struggling with worry, I go to Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:24-34 and Philippians 4:6-7; if I’m struggling with body image, I go to Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27 and Romans 12:6; if I’m struggling with patience, I go to Psalm 27:14, Lamentations 3:25-27 and Romans 12:12. The Word of God is my armor for this battle and since I had this realization, I’ve never felt stronger or more confident in truth!

IMG_3519The more I’ve learned to replace those deceptive lies with truth, the more I’ve seen the beauty of the Gospel displayed. Case in point, my title. “You’re not good enough…” That’s a true statement. We aren’t good enough! The way we live our lives are proof that we are living train wrecks! Our sinful nature has done nothing to declare our lives worthy of being good. No matter how perfect we try to be, we will NEVER reach perfection. Our sins make sure of that. BUT, that is where the beauty of the Gospel comes into play! Because God loves us unconditionally, He sent Jesus, who IS PERFECT to atone for all of our sinfulness…the sinfulness we deserve to die for! So, when I look at that statement, “You aren’t good enough,” it’s true, I’m not good enough, BUT because Jesus died for my sins and I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, I am now “good enough” in God’s eyes! That lie has been replaced with truth and I could’t imagine any other more perfect truth than the Gospel alone!

Lessons from 6 Years of Marriage

On June 11, Zach and I will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary! To say that it has flown by is an understatement. There are days I can’t believe that we’ve been married six years and then there are others where I am amazed how much life we have crammed into these six years. As I reminisce back to June 11, 2011, I not only think about how perfect a day it was but also how much I’ve changed and matured since then. I was just 21 when Zach and I tied the knot and though I was more mature than the majority of 21 year olds, I still had a lot of growing up to do. I’m so thankful that God provided me with a loving and nurturing husband that was willing to give me grace through the times where the growing pains not only affected me but him as well.

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Six years later, I can say that I am even more in love with my wonderful Zach than the day I said “I Do” and that could only be possible because of my relationship with God. The more I get to know Him, the more I see how a successful marriage should mirror that of God’s bride… the church. The more I’ve matured in my faith journey and relationship with God, the more lessons I’ve learned about how to love Zach just as Jesus intended.

The following are some lessons that I’ve learned over the years on what has made a successful, biblical marriage for Zach and I.

Love each other. Not everyday is going to be rainbows and butterflies in marriage but loving each other despite our sinful ways has allowed us to overcome conflicts in our marriage. Since we are sinners, it’s guaranteed that we will hurt each other but I’ve chosen to love Zach daily no matter how he may make me feel.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”- 1 Peter 4:8

Respect. Although submitting to Zach hasn’t ever been much of a struggle for me, I’ve always tried to be intentional about respecting the opinions and decisions he’s made about our life. Zach is my spiritual leader and I trust that his decisions are based fully on his biblical wisdom and knowledge.
Ephesians 5:22-23 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”

Becoming our own “Family.” This was probably one of the toughest things for me to learn as a wife. Growing up, I’ve always been super close to my family. I even moved to Missouri to go to college here even though I was accepted to a university in South Carolina to be closer to my family when they moved. Even after a few years of marriage, I’d cry every single time I left my parents house. For some reason, I could never seem to let go of the attachment I had with my parents. Zach used to say, “Maren, I’m your family now.” Growing in my faith, I began to be convicted by Matthew 19:5-6 but it wasn’t until after my parents moved 14 hours away that I began to detach and wholeheartedly become a “family” with Zach which has strengthened our relationship significantly.
Matthew 19:5-6 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Being Modest. I grew up in a home with a mother that dressed very flamboyantly. My mom has always been stylish in her dress and I’ve closely followed her suit. However, I have been guilty of taking my flamboyant dress a little too far in that it may have not reflected how a godly wife should dress and present herself. Zach has brought that to my attention multiple times throughout our marriage but I hadn’t really felt convicted of it until recently when I studied through 1 Timothy. God has changed my heart to see that dressing modestly is respectful to my husband and that I should respect his opinion of the way I dress.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments..”

Communication. I have a husband who is painfully quiet. He thinks about things internally for quite sometime before ever bringing them up and may sometimes forget to share important information with me. I used to get frustrated and would allow it to lead to lots of unnecessary arguments. The longer I’ve been married, the longer I’ve realized that communication is extremely important. Over six years, our communication has improved quite a bit.
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Be slow to anger. One characteristic I am not proud of is that I can have a bit of a temper. When I was younger it was much worse. Nothing used to separate Zach and I more than when I allowed my temper to overcome me. I still struggle with this issue, but the Bible reminds me to be slow to anger. I’ve learned that whenever I become frustrated, I should calm down before I actually speak and show grace to Zach during times he may cause me to get angry.
James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”

Pursue God together. The most important thing I’ve learned about marriage is that pursuing the Lord together allows us to become more sanctified. This has been a beautiful lesson to learn together. Since we’ve been members of Anthem, we have both grown in our faith drastically and have been given the opportunity to pursue ministry together. What a blessing it has been to do this together!
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” 

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That is just a small list of some of the lessons that have allowed Zach and I to have a wonderful six years but it’s definitely not all of them. I’m still a work in progress. God is still molding me into the godly wife he designed me to be. I’m so thankful for Zach and I’m looking forward to many more happy years together! Happy 6th Anniversary, Zacharias! I love you!