Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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When You Feel Inadequate

Leslie Basham: Sharon Jaynes speaks to women across the country, and she finds that many of them feel insecure.

Sharon Jaynes: What I’m amazed at is you can see someone who looks like they have it all together. They might look like they have a wonderful marriage. They have wonderful children. And yet that person is still feeling inadequate.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Wednesday, August 17.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You’ve heard the lies before. Maybe you’ve even whispered one or two of them to yourself from time to time. Maybe you’ve repeated some of these lies so often that you’ve actually started to believe them—lies like:

“Nobody loves me.”
“I’m worthless.”
“I would be happier married to somebody else.”
“I can’t forgive the person who hurt me.”
“I’m just not good enough.”

And the list goes on and on. Well, it’s time for us to recognize the enemy’s lies and to replace those lies with the liberating truth of God’s Word.

We have a guest here with us today on Revive Our Hearts who’s written a book about how to identify those lies and replace them with the truth of God’s Word. Sharon Jaynes is a friend. She’s a fellow author, and she’s been with us before on Revive Our Hearts.

Sharon, it’s great to welcome you back to the broadcast.

Sharon: Thank you, Nancy. I’m glad to be back.

Nancy: The book you’ve written that we’re talking about this week is called, I’m Not Good Enough . . . and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. As I read this book, I thought that the lies you’re dealing with here are things that so many, many women find themselves hearing over and over again. It’s not necessarily that somebody else tells us these lies—though that could be true—but often it’s the fact that we’re telling ourselves these lies.

Sharon: Absolutely. I think what happens, Nancy, is many times we get the lies from the culture, or we get them from the enemy. It’s something that Satan actually tells us; we start repeating them to ourselves, and then it kind of becomes who we are. That’s who we think we are, even though it’s not the truth.

So we hear it from somewhere else. It becomes ours. We start saying it, repeating it over and over, and it becomes who we think we are. It’s like a stronghold in our lives.

Nancy: For so many women, those tapes just play over and over and over again in our heads, so we start to believe those things and think they’re true even though they really aren’t.

Sharon: It’s like a bad song you get stuck in your head.

Nancy: A bad jingle.

Sharon: My husband does this thing with commercials. I tell him he’s a commercial-phobic. A commercial will come on with a jingle, and he automatically pushes down the mute button so he doesn’t hear it. I tease him about it. But you know what happens to me? I start singing the jingle in my head, and I can’t get it out.

Well, that’s what these lies are like. We start saying, “I’m so stupid. I’m so stupid. I’m so stupid.” And we repeat it and repeat it. Maybe we don’t say it out loud, but we’re saying it to ourselves. And that becomes who we think we are when it’s really not true.

So we’re telling lies. And you know what, Nancy? God doesn’t like lies, and yet we are lying to ourselves about ourselves.

Nancy: And the problem is then that we start to act on the lies we’ve believed and actually shape our lives into that image of what we’ve convinced ourselves is true even though it isn’t.

Sharon: And here’s the thing, Nancy. We try to change our behavior. We’re so much about changing our behavior, but we can’t act any differently than we think. That’s why it tells us in Romans 12:1, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed”—how? By changing the way you act? No! It says be transformed “by the renewing of your mind.”

So we have to start there. We have to start with our thinking, and that affects our behavior. So we’ve got to start with those lies if we’re going to start acting differently.

Nancy: And you have a real life message about this, and I’m so glad that you shared a lot of that in this book. In fact, in one of the earliest chapters you talk about the lie that many women tell themselves, “I’m not good enough.” You say, “I could have been the poster child for this lie. If feeling inadequate was an Olympic event, I would have been on the winner’s box.”

Sharon: I would have been. I felt so inadequate as a little girl. Nancy, I grew up in a home where my father drank a lot, and my parents had a lot of problems. They fought a lot. They fought verbally. They fought physically in front of me. As a child I saw things a child should never see, and I heard things a child should never hear.

Because of the struggles that they had in their marriage, they had no idea just the effect that their words were having on their children. You see, here’s the thing: Our words become the mirror in which others see themselves.

So they were saying words to me, and that’s how I perceived who I really was.

Nancy: So, for example, what was something that you may have heard in your home as you were growing up that left you feeling inadequate and not good enough?

Sharon: Well, one thing is: “You are so ugly.”

Nancy: A parent actually said this to you?

Sharon: Yes, and it wasn’t outer ugly. It was that I would do something a child would do, and I was told so many times, “You are so ugly,” or “That was ugly.” It was mainly speaking about my character, when I would make a mistake or when I would say something wrong.

You know what? My parents had no idea what their words were doing to their children. I think that’s true with a lot of parents, with most parents. They probably just throw things out there and don’t realize how those words are affecting their children in the long haul.

So I felt like I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t smart enough. And, Nancy, I always wanted my daddy to love me. That was one thing that I wanted. I really wanted a daddy who loved me. At the same time, I was afraid of him.

I was afraid of him because I saw him, how he would get when he would be violent. And yet I would see my friends with their dads, how they would crawl up in their laps and how they would hold their hands and kiss their little princesses when they dropped them off for school in the morning. I wanted that.

I wanted a daddy who loved me like that. So in my little mind, what did I have to decide? Well, I decided I just wasn’t worth it. There was something wrong with me that I didn’t have a daddy like my friends did who would love me that way.

Nancy: Were you conscious of those thoughts as a child?

Sharon: Yes, I really was. I just felt like something was wrong with me. I can remember being in the first grade and thinking, “Why am I not as smart as everybody else?” I remember thinking that in reading class in first grade when we had spelling tests. I really struggled with spelling. So I thought, “There is just something wrong with me.”

Now, let me take you from first grade to twelfth grade because, you see, it wasn’t that I was stupid. It wasn’t that I was slower than everyone else. When I graduated, I graduated with honors. I was in the National Honor Society. I was at the top of my class.

However, did I feel that way? No. I always felt like that little girl in the first grade who couldn’t spell. Those feelings of inadequacy get so ingrained in us that even though we might grow out of that or our circumstances change, that continues to be how we see ourselves.

Let’s take a gal that maybe is in third grade. Her teeth are a train wreck; maybe she has bottle-thick glasses. Her legs are way too long, and she’s got stringy hair.

Nancy: You’re kind of describing every third grader.

Sharon: That’s true, but then something happens. By the time she’s a senior, the orthodontist has done a great job. She’s got contacts. She looks beautiful. But she doesn’t feel that way. She walks into a room of other women, and she feels totally inadequate.

Those feelings that we develop as children are so strong that it’s very hard to overcome those as adults.

Nancy: Another lie that you say a lot of women tell themselves is, “I’m worthless.” Is that something you felt as a child?

Sharon: I did. I felt I was worthless; I had no value. Nobody really cared about me. I felt like a throw-away person. I didn’t have someone telling me that I was the apple of their eye or cuddling me in their lap. I didn’t have that.

I thought, “I’m just . . .” I don’t think I used the word worthless as a child, but I felt like nobody really cared about me. I see that so much in women today. They just feel like they have no value.

You leave this country and you go into some other countries, and it is so prevalent that women feel like they have no value.

Nancy: Although the interesting thing in this country is that we’ve had two generations now of huge emphasis on self-esteem and telling young people and children that they really are worth something, that they do have value. Yet it seems as if self-esteem and happiness and sense of worth and value have not increased.

Sharon: Well, here’s the thing. I love the quote that says, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very poor package.” When we teach a child that they have worth; that they are competent in themselves, well, they know what’s in their head. They know what’s in their heart. They know what they can and can’t do. But when you teach a child who they are as a child of God, when you teach a child about the power of the Holy Spirit, that makes all the difference in the world.

Two men that are actually looked at and compared are Moses and David. You see, Moses had very little self-esteem. When God came to Moses and called him to lead the children out of Israel, he said, “Well, what if this happens? What if that happens?”

Nancy: “Who am I?”

Sharon: “Who am I? I can’t do this. I can’t even talk.” You see, he was looking at himself, and he knew in himself he could not do it.

Now, you go over to little David, this little teenager, and he goes up against the Philistine, and he thinks, “This isn’t a big deal.” He said, “The God who protected me from the paw of the bear and the paw of the lion, He’ll deliver me from this Philistine.”

Well, did he have self-esteem? No, not really. What he had was he knew who God was. He knew what God could do through him.

That’s something we can learn—not who we are in ourselves. Paul said, “In my flesh is no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). And that is true. Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing”—nothing worthwhile (John 15:5). We can be very busy. We women know how to do that. But apart from Him we can’t do anything. It is God confidence in us of what He can do through us.

Nancy: And that makes all the difference in the world.

We want to explore how women can walk out of that emotional bondage, those tapes playing over and over, and how we can walk into freedom by replacing the lies with the truth.

I want to back up for a moment because I think you’ve tapped into some issues here: “I’m not good enough." "I’m worthless.” Here’s another one: “I’m a failure.” Is that something you would have related to as a young woman?

Sharon: I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t felt that. Even as little girls on the playground, we feel like we can’t kick the ball hard enough, or we make a bad grade. Instead of thinking, “I made a mistake,” what we think is, “I’m a failure.” It’s not, “I have failed in this situation,” but “I am a failure.”

Why do we do that? I think it’s because that’s what the enemy wants us to think. We do it as little girls. We do it as adults. We continually see ourselves as failures when we make a mistake.

We saw that in Peter, didn’t we? I love to look at Peter’s mistake because of what Jesus did afterward, because he made an incredible mistake. He denied that he even knew who Jesus was, three times.

What happened after that? When Jesus was resurrected, He told Mary, “Go tell Peter and the disciples that I’m alive.” You see, He pointed him out. Peter needed assurance, “You know what? I still love you. You’re still in the game.”

Remember when Peter and John were fishing and Jesus met with them afterwards, He asked him three times: “Peter, do you love Me? Peter, do you love Me? Pete, do you love Me?” Why was He doing that, and what can we learn from it?

We can learn that, “Yes, we will make mistakes, but that does not mean that we are a failure and that God’s not going to use us anymore.”

God says, “Yes, you made a mistake. You come to Me; you repent"which means turn and go in the opposite direction. He forgives us; and then we can continue on.

Now, what the enemy wants us to do when we make a mistake, when we fail, when we sin, is not to stop and say, “I made a mistake. I sinned.” He says, “No, you are a failure, and you are now disqualified.”

Nancy: “And there’s no hope for you.”

Sharon: “There’s no hope. Why do you even try? There’s no use in even trying. You can’t do this.”

Those are the lies he tells us.

Nancy: Before we look at the prescription for this, I want to just dig a little deeper because I think you’ve tapped into something that is very core to so many women.

You are an author, but you also travel quite a bit and speak. You’ve spoken to a lot of women’s groups; you’re ministering to women. Is this something you pick up and hear from a lot of women? Do you think these lies women tell themselves are things that most women believe?

Sharon: I have yet to meet hardly any women that don’t believe them. What I’m amazed at is you can see someone who looks like they have it all together. They might look like they have a wonderful marriage. They have wonderful children, and yet that person is still feeling inadequate.

We only have to go through the grocery story line and see those tabloids, these women that the world look at as being the most beautiful women, and they’re so unhappy. But even in ministry—you see, we have women in ministry who look at other women in ministry . . .

Nancy: Oh, I would never do that. (Laughter) Not true.

Sharon: (Laughter) But they think, “I’m not as effective as she is. Why can’t I be as effective as she is? Why can’t I pray like her?” In ministries in our churches we are constantly comparing. Comparing is so dangerous.

Listen, I remember one time—it was my first big speaking engagement—it was about 15 years ago. I was terrified. I remember going to a luncheon one day. I was sitting at a table with women I didn’t know. They were talking about the speaker who had been at this very church where I was going to be the speaker next month.

They were saying, “Oh, he was so dynamic, and he was powerful, and his story was incredible, and his son had been an artist. Can you believe that? The pastor asked him to preach on Sunday.”

Nancy: And you’re shrinking.

Sharon: I’m shrinking, and my little tea sandwiches were stuck in my throat. I didn’t tell them that I was going to be the speaker in the next session because, honestly, at that point . . .

Nancy: You didn’t want them to know.

Sharon: I didn’t want them to know, and, you know what? I wasn’t sure I was going to do it. I was terrified because, you see, I started comparing myself.

So do you know what I did? I hate to admit this to you, but I went to that church. I put my $5 down, and I bought a tape of that man’s program. I wanted to listen to his program. Why? Because I wanted to see what I would be compared to.

So I paid my $5. I put that tape in (that was the days of the cassette tape), and I didn’t hear anything. So I fast forwarded it—nothing. I took it out, flipped it over, pushed play—nothing. Fast forwarded—nothing. The tape was blank.

Then I began praying, and the Lord began speaking to me in my heart. He said, “Sharon, this tape is blank because you don’t need to know what he said. I’ve called you to give a message. I called him to give a message. I don’t want you comparing yourself to anyone. You are ministering to an audience of One: to Me. You do what I’ve called you to do, and don’t compare yourself to anyone.”

I tell you, Nancy, that was one of the best $5 I’ve ever spent.

Nancy: For a blank tape.

Sharon: It was a very good lesson at the very beginning of a speaking ministry.

Nancy: As you look back on your teenage years, your years as a younger women, how did you see these lies playing themselves out in your life? As you started to believe these things: “I’m not good enough; I’m worthless; I’m a failure,” giving in to the inadequacy, the insecurity, the inferiority, how did that affect your life, your relationship with the Lord, your relationships with others? How did it play out?

Sharon: Well, it affects your relationships with others. Let’s say that I was to meet a friend for lunch. She doesn’t show up, or she has to cancel. Well, the truth is, maybe her child was sick, or there might be some really good reason. But in my mind, I would think: “She doesn’t really like me. She doesn’t really want to meet with me.”

Nancy: Scripture calls that vain imaginations.

Sharon: It is. It is the truth, but that’s what happens when you’re not operating with the truth. Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true,” and it has that long list, “think on these things.” But, you see, it wasn’t true. It was vain imaginations. The vain imaginations are birthed from those feelings of inadequacies.

Let’s say that my husband would make a certain comment—now, I know I’ve left teen years, and I’ve gone into marriage years—but he might make a certain comment, and because of those feelings of insecurity, I would make them into something that he didn’t mean at all.

There would be an argument about something that he didn’t intend at all, but I’m changing things around. It becomes the filter. Insecurity, inferiority, inadequacy becomes the filter that you’re interpreting your world from.

It makes a real strain on relationships because you’re not seeing them truthfully. It's like going through a hall of mirrors; you’re seeing them distorted and not how they really are.

Nancy: I think many of our listeners are living in that house of mirrors, seeing distorted views of themselves, and living in a prison of their own making because they’ve been listening to and believing lies and not countering those lies with the truth.

The thing that you point to in your ministry and that I’ve tried to do through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts is give women the hope that through the truth they really can be set free.

Sharon: Amen.

Nancy: As you look back at your journey, Sharon, how did the Lord start that process of renewing your mind, liberating you from the lies and setting you free to believe the truth about who you really are?

Sharon: Well, you know what I really wish I could say, Nancy? I wish I could say, “I was just bound up in these lies, and then I came to Christ, and He set me free.” But that’s not what happened at all.

I became a Christian when I was a teenager through a mother—my best friend’s mom—in my neighborhood. She was an incredible woman. When I came to Christ, you know what? I had a whole new set of lies.

Now, “I’m not a good enough Christian; I can’t pray like other people; I don’t see God working in my life like other people.” You see, I just carried all that in with me to my relationship with the Lord.

I married a wonderful man; I had a child, and I was into my 30s.

Nancy: So you carried this into your marriage and mothering, too.

Sharon: Oh, I did. I carried it right along with me—that ball and chain just clanging behind me. I was a young woman in a church, teaching a Bible study in a growing church, and yet all those insecurities were still there.

Nancy: And would anybody else have been aware of that?

Sharon: No. They would have thought, “Man, this Sharon Jaynes, she knows her Bible. She’s got a wonderful husband. If I could have a husband like hers, I would certainly be happy.”

Nancy: Would they have thought you were a confident woman?

Sharon: Yes.

Nancy: And it makes you wonder how many other women we’re comparing ourselves to, who look confident and put together, and we don’t know the battle that’s going on in their own heart.

Sharon: We have no idea.

I remember when I was dating Steve. He’s very athletic. Anything with a ball, he can do well. But I could snow ski. I was teaching him how to ski. We were on a hill, and for me to teach him how to slow down, I said, “Just turn your skis sideways.”

So what he would do is, he would be going down that hill very fast, and he would turn his skis sideways. But he’d tend to turn a little bit too far. So when he’d stop, he was pointing downhill backwards, and he’d start going downhill the wrong way.

Nancy: That sounds dangerous.

Sharon: Well, it was hilarious. But what he learned to do—he figured out that when he turned sideways, if he turned too far, and he found himself looking like he was going to be backwards, he just made a big circle. So here’s this big man going down the hill, making these humongous circles all the way down the mountain. It was quite a sight.

Well, at the end of the day, this woman came up to him and said, “Sir, I have been watching your acrobatics all day. They are so beautiful.”

Nancy: She was really impressed.

Sharon: She said, “Can you teach me how to do that?”

We laughed, and, you know what? I thought, “That’s life.” People might look at us and think, “If I could do it like she does it; if I could act like her; if I could look like her, then I’d be confident; I’d be happy.” But we have no idea what they’re going through, the circles they’re making in their own life just to survive.

That is such a false thing to look at someone else and to think that they have it all together and that they don’t struggle with insecurity. Some of the best Bible teachers that I know struggle with insecurities.

Nancy: And I think we all do in different ways.

So, as you think back to that season in your life, when you were in your 30s, and God was starting to put His finger on these issues, give us, in a nutshell (and we’ll pick up this conversation on the next program) how the Lord started that process of really setting you free.

Sharon: He showed me four steps that I needed to put into my life.

  1. I needed to realize who the true enemy was in my life.
  2. I needed to recognize the lies that I was believing.
  3. I had to reject the lies. I had to stop and say, “That’s not true.”
  4. I had to learn how to replace the lies with truth. In order to do that, Nancy, of course, we know we’ve got to know what that truth is.

Nancy: And what you’ve just spelled out there, Sharon, in the last minute is a huge key that I believe can unlock the prison door for a lot of our listeners who’ve been listening to your story, and they’re saying, “Boy, I relate to that; I relate to that; I relate to that. I’ve been hearing those lies myself. I’ve been telling them to myself.” Some who have not felt that they could ever really be free.

So we’re going to continue this conversation on the next Revive Our Hearts. I think that many of our listeners are going to find God using these truths to walk them through to a whole new level of freedom and joy that they never believed could be possible.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Sharon Jaynes about the inadequacy many women feel. Sharon describes this problem in her book I’m Not Good Enough . . . and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. But she doesn’t just identify the problem. She also points readers to God’s Word to find the solution.

I hope you’ll get a copy of this book. As you read these pages, you’ll identify your true enemy, pinpoint lies that have affected you, and replace those lies with the truth.

We’ll send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Give us a call at 1-800-569-5959 and ask for I’m Not Good Enough . . . and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves, or visit to make your donation, and we’ll send the book to you.

If you’ve resonated with today’s conversation and want to let Sharon Jaynes know how it’s affected you, visit the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. Sharon will be participating today, answering questions, and reading your comment. Visit, scroll to the bottom of today’s transcript, and add your comment or question.

Now if you’re feeling condemnation like you’re inadequate or that God can never forgive you, Sharon Jaynes will show you how to find freedom. She’ll be back with Nancy Leigh DeMoss tomorrow. Please join us again for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.