When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself. -Anonymous
Question #75133 posted on 11/10/2013 4:08 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've spent a lot of my life struggling with feelings of discouragement and inadequacy. Specifically in terms of serving in the church, I've always felt stressed out and guilty in feeling like I'm not good enough and 'failing'.

I've come to understand that these feelings come from Satan, and that Heavenly Father never wants me to feel this way. I've come to feel peace and confident in myself. I know that I can do better, but I also know and know that God knows that I'm doing my best, which is good enough.

I know that God accepts what I am doing (specifically in my calling). I feel confident in that. The problem is that when I feel like someone I serve with or interact with at church is critical or disappointed in my efforts, those old feelings start to come back.

So, my question is, what do I do with these feelings? How do I deal with them? My feelings of peace in regards to how Heavenly Father feels are in direct conflict with my feelings of guilt and inadequacy in regards to how those around me feel, and I have no idea how to handle them.


-Always Progressing


Dear Always,

You show a lot of maturity when you ask what you can do yourself rather than asking why people are so mean. The truth is, I have no idea whether or not the people you interact with at church are being purposefully critical or whether they have no idea that they are coming off that way. It's probably not very useful to try to figure out which it is, either, as it seems you have realized. 

I had a few thoughts while I was reading your question--hopefully they will help you to reframe some of the feelings that you are struggling with. 

First of all, your inherent worth is not tied to your productivity. You are valuable just because you are you. God doesn't love you because you're doing a decent job--he loves you in spite of whatever kind of job you're doing. Yes, it's important to do the best that you can, and it is important to strive to improve, but not because those things determine our worth. Anyone who makes you feel otherwise is full of baloney. Once you've been able to separate the quality of work that you're performing from your inherent value (which is not easy to do, I know) it will be easier to handle other people's disappointment in or criticism of your work without letting those feelings push you down the slippery slope of self-doubt. 

There are always going to be people who are unhappy with what you're doing. People are frustrating and fickle and someone can always find something to be upset about. Even the most beloved books of all time have one-star ratings. But if you know that God is pleased with what you're doing, then really, nothing else matters. Your calling comes from God, so he gets to have the final word on how you're doing in it. 

Whenever you feel anxiety because of others' disappointment, pray and ask to be reminded that you are doing okay. Seek to continue to improve, and trust that your father in heaven will guide you and strengthen you towards that improvement. He will help you to move at your own pace--or more accurately, at his own pace.