My “Good” Wasn’t Good Enough

Like many of you, I grew up in a Christian home and from the time my parents could put me in nursery, I was at church. Born and raised, you might say.

I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world and I think that is largely in part because I didn’t know any better. Every time the church doors were open, I was there. Quite simply, I really love the church. That’s a miracle.

However, I grew up believing a really big lie.

I grew up believing I didn’t have a worthwhile testimony to share. That even if I did share my testimony, it would fall on deaf ears. That it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to those I was sharing it with.

The fact is:

I did grow up in church.

I pretended (and looked) to have it all together.

I do come from a stable, loving home and family, though we’re as messed up and crazy as they come.

I was the teacher’s pet.

I attempted to follow all the rules. (That only works for so long.)

I liked looking like I had it all together. That is safe. That is not vulnerable. Hurt doesn’t happen when you fake it.

I have deep desires of my heart that have yet to be met.

I do have trials, hardships and life experiences to share.

I have not been given everything I’ve ever wanted and my life is not peaches and cream. Blessed, yes.

I’ve lied. I’ve gravely sinned. I’ve lusted. I’ve been angry. I’ve gossiped. I’m insecure. I’m helpless. I’m needy. And the list goes on and on.

I do have a testimony. I know my sins. I know my shortcomings. I need Jesus.

My attempt at holiness was lame to say the least. My attempt at producing any good in me to cover up the dark was helpless. My good was simply not good enough, though I desperately wanted it to be.

I don’t want to point fingers or blame any one person or thing, but I think we as a church have done a less than stellar job at portraying what a worthwhile testimony is. A testimony, as we have so endearingly coined it, is simply a public confession regarding the ways Jesus has changed your life.

My sins, no matter how big or small they may seem, still sent Jesus to the cross. My attempt at living a charmed life was feeble and frail.

Our testimony is what makes us authentic. Real. Relatable.

The truth is, everyone has gone through something that has changed him or her. If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savor, you well know that the old has gone and the new has come. You are a new creation. You’ve changed. Whatever it was that brought you to repentance in the first place, is the very thing worth sharing. Whatever it was that was once holding you captive that no longer has a hold on you, that’s worth sharing.

Need I list the things that hold us captive?

Legalism. Sexual Sin. Drugs. Addictions. Alcohol. Perfectionism. Insecurity. Lust. Greed. Jealousy. Hate. Pride. We could go on and on as this is clearly not an exhaustive list.

Where we as a church have strayed is that we glorify the big testimonies. We glorify the folks on the platform that have sinned “big”. We glorify the stories that seemed absolutely hopeless, but ended in victory.

Can I say something? Salvation through Jesus Christ is a miracle, regardless of where you have or have not been. It’s still a faith walk for every individual.

We were all hopeless. We all have victory in the end when we choose Jesus over _____________. (You fill in the blank.)

You, if you are in Christ, have something to offer. You have hope to offer.

If you’ve grown up in the church, don’t believe the lie you have nothing to share. First, yes you do.  If you are a living, breathing human, you’re flawed and need Jesus. Own up to that! But for you, maybe what someone needs to hear is that your good, despite all your failed efforts, wasn’t good enough to make it into the kingdom of heaven. There is one way, and His name is Jesus. You may be a really good, nice, sweet, charming, never-hurt-a-fly kind of person, but good doesn’t get you into Heaven. Jesus does.

To my young friends, don’t go looking for way to mess up so you have a story to share.

Share your story of less-than-perfect faithfulness to a God that has been nothing but perfectly faithful and loving towards you, despite your efforts of trying so hard. Share that even your goodness wasn’t good enough. Therefore, the good kid who has the works thing down, if they can’t do it, who can? That, my friends, is the gospel.

We’re justified by faith alone in Christ.

All sin keeps us from God. It keeps us bound up.

It just goes to show that there is no one good, no, not one. Can we emphasize that? Though from the outside it may appear I have little to confess day in and day out, that’s far from the truth. I lay my head on my pillow each night knowing how dearly loved I am in Christ, yet painfully aware of my shortcomings. Painfully aware of the areas that only Christ can change in me. Painfully aware of my ugliness.

Do we need the stories of God’s dramatic salvation and redemption? Absolutely! Do we keep sharing those and telling of how God has transformed our lives? Yes and amen! Do we continue to put them on the platform? By all means! May we all come humbly. Those stories also tell us that no one has out-sinned God, not matter how much they think they have! We need not be shocked or judgmental of anything or anyone. We should extend grace and love.

It reminds me of the Prodigal Son. One son did everything right (false) while the other was out doing everything wrong and yet they still needed the same grace. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all more like the elder brother than we care to admit.

But let us be aware of the girl or boy that feels worthless because they didn’t have a Saul-to-Paul conversion.

My goal isn’t to deny what Christ has done for you and where He alone has brought you and rescued you from. Nor is my goal to magnify how good you’ve been. My goal is to glorify Christ.

Conversion is conversion regardless of the pits we’ve been in.

Salvation is salvation regardless of how we’ve acted.

God’s redemption is for everyone.

And His story is good enough to be told throughout the ages.

We were all lost. For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) But Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) Translation = That’s US. That’s enough. That’s radical.

For the one who has served time in prison, been released and feels called to minister to those in prison. Yes! Go! Share that the same grace and mercy that was offered to you, is offered to everyone. In the name of Jesus.

For the girl who’s had an abortion and feels called to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. To you I say go! In the name of Jesus.

For the person (girl or guy) who’s struggled with any type of sexual sin, has broken free, and feels called to minister out of that. Yes! Do it! In the name of Jesus. So that He would get the credit. So that the weight of life change would fall on His shoulders, not yours.

You are redeemed! God delights when anyone comes to faith in Him through Jesus.

Each of our redemption stories minister to different people all over. Not one of our stories will minister to everyone, that’s why we’re the body of Christ. We all have different experiences and stories to share, but the same Jesus.

Putting pressure on the story makes it about you. Putting pressure on the gospel makes it about Jesus

That’s your story. You were once dead and now you’re alive. And that is worth sharing, Sister.



138 Responses to “My “Good” Wasn’t Good Enough”

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  1. 51
    Redeemed says:

    “Putting pressure on the story makes it about you. Putting pressure on the gospel makes it about Jesus”

    Amen. Well said!

  2. 52
    Barbara Gead says:

    Oh, my, you sweet, sweet thing! Your story is my story! I grew up in church everytime the doors were open. I got saved at 10 at church camp! I never once doubted I was saved but I often doubted that I had anything anyone would want to hear about. So I proceeded to live in my sin and think I was “safe” because I was so “churched”. Thankfully God intervened and grabbed me by my scrawny neck and dragged me into relationship with Him. Thank you for this testimony! I very much needed to hear that we ALL have a testimony. I like to hear about the BIG things but I also am tuned into the LITTLE things.

  3. 53
    Eden says:

    Wonderful Lindsee.
    I’m going to share this with my middleschool girls I teach on Sunday ( Many of which I taught sunday school to in the 1st grade!) They need to hear that their story is unique and important and could impact someone deeply.

  4. 54
    Pat S. says:

    Beautifully written and oh, so true! My story is much like yours and I convinced myself I did not have a “good” testimony. Thank you.

  5. 55
    Alesha says:

    Lindsee, I soooo relate to so many of your posts. This post is no exception…I, too, grew up in church and was always a do-gooder, rule follower so I don’t have a dramatic testimony. Or do I? You’ve helped me see it in a different light. If a goody-goody rule follower needs Jesus…so does everyone else. God bless you sister!

  6. 56
  7. 57
    Sarah B says:

    Thank you for sharing. I can totally relate to this post. It’s a message that is sadly not promoted more in the church.

  8. 58
    Kimberly Mays says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I too grew up in the church…born & raised and have often felt I didn’t have a testimony worth sharing. The simple fact is that we all need Jesus and that IS worth sharing! I plan to help my children know that even though they have been born and are being raised in the church that their need for Jesus is worth sharing too!

  9. 59
    Samantha says:

    Oh Lindsee, so very well said! Those words are full of wisdom beyond your years. Thank you for encouraging the WHOLE body to be bold in sharing the difference Christ has made in each of us. And you’re right, salvation is a complete miracle for us all!

  10. 60
    Richelle says:

    I’ll second that, Lindsee! I’m 48 now, but will always be a P.K. Most of them have a BIG testimony as you mentioned the kind we were used to hearing. Not me. I’m the people pleaser, rule follower, don’t want to shame the family name, etc. For many years, I didn’t think I had a testimony. Your experence, Lindsee, sounds just like me! About 8 years ago, I had a serious moment while applying my mascara. 🙂 I kept asking the Lord, What is my testimony? I’ve kept this a secret ever since (until now), except for telling my sister because I knew she would understand. Do you know what the Holy Spirit told me? “You survived church.” I am truly a miracle. No one has to understand that but me.

  11. 61
    Dawn says:

    Love that! Thanks for blessing us and sharing your story!It is the reminder that I needed! Love your heart girl!Thank you so much Lindsee

  12. 62
    Shelly says:

    This blog ministered to my soul. I am that person who grew up in church, but I faked having it all together, being “the good girl”. However, I struggled,and still struggle, with pride, perfectionism, people pleasing, lust, etc. I need Jesus!! Thanks for sharing this powerful message!

  13. 63
    Pam says:

    I try to imagine what it would look and sound like if someone in leadership actually took notice of me and said “now there is a woman with a testimony. She has been a member of this body of believers for 20 years and yet we have never heard her testimony. Would you please share?” I do have a testimony. What I don’t have is a fancy home to videotape it in, however. The people on our church witness stand or on the big screen are often stylish and well spoken and the videos are filmed and edited in such a professional way that it brings out my insecurities as I compare the setting to my own place. I will continue to dream of the day when I do share my testimony among the body of believers I am called to love and belong to. After all, they need me just as much as I need them and we all need Jesus!

  14. 64
    Carol Crabtree says:

    Thank you, Lindsee – well said. I needed to hear that today.

  15. 65
    Debbie says:

    All of us who share this story need to keep our eyes peeled for those lonely church kids who are sitting in youth group watching the leaders all rally around the bad kids turned good kids who are being held up as an example. Yes, we are so happy that they have found Jesus and are turning from their wicked ways! But still, it’s really hard to remain faithful year after year and never once have anyone notice.

    I remember those days and it still stings a little. Let’s love on those kids extra hard! 🙂

  16. 66
    Dianne Jones says:

    Awesome, awesome post Lindsee!! Thank you for sharing these wise, honest words.

  17. 67
    april lopez says:

    Praise jesus!!! I praise our redeemer because it is out of our brokeness he makes it into his story…..

  18. 68
    Tanya says:

    I might add to this blog–

    I had two people who (well more but 2 I’ll mention) who helped me sooo much after I became a christian.

    1. A friend who had grown up churched like me–and rebelled like me…and reaped like me.

    2. A friend who used to be my sunday school teacher who loved Jesus and was good all the way on up. She will never really *understand* but the simple fact that she is faithful and good—and deeply loves me the way a woman knows (you all know when you are loved for real!)—that is a salve and a balm and a guide.

  19. 69
    Deb says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have a 20-year-old daughter in college, raised in the church with us, who though she claims to be a Christian, has yet to publicly profess this in our church. And I believe there are battles within her that may be preventing her from doing so. I so often think of her when I read your posts, and wish for her to be reading them as well since she may relate more to you than “mom.” Today was no different as I started reading.

    When I read “don’t go looking for way to mess up so you have a story to share”, I burst into tears. You see, just 2 weeks ago, as she spends the summer far from home, rarely attending church, I mailed her a letter with so many of the same thoughts you wrote, telling her that everyone — including me — has a story, and many will never be shared publicly because they are not necessarily dramatic. I wanted to say those exact words about not messing up just to have a story, but left them out. Now, I must share your link with her somehow, walking that fine line between a mother’s encouragement and the almost-adult daughter who may not welcome another “nudge.” I will pray for God’s good grace and timing.

  20. 70
    Pattie says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. You truly spoke my heart. I have said this so many times that I don’t have a testimony like others….I have actually been waiting for “the other shoe to drop” and then I would have a testimony.

    “If you’ve grown up in the church, don’t believe the lie you have nothing to share. First, yes you do. If you are a living, breathing human, you’re flawed and need Jesus. Own up to that! But for you, maybe what someone needs to hear is that your good, despite all your failed efforts, wasn’t good enough to make it into the kingdom of heaven. There is one way, and His name is Jesus. You may be a really good, nice, sweet, charming, never-hurt-a-fly kind of person, but good doesn’t get you into Heaven. Jesus does.”

    You nailed it– I needed this so much.

  21. 71
    jenn nahrstadt says:

    that was a sermon, and you preached it perfectly! i could feel the passion oozing, almost shouting, from your words.

    i am like you: born and raised, cradle to casket. i am so thankful for the heritage i was given, yet i took it for granted for many years. now that i am all but finished raising a son, i do not take it for granted, and i LONG for him to own it, even though his story would be as much like yours as mine is.

    keep preaching this testimony, lindsee. it’s relavant. it’s beautiful.

  22. 72
    Sierra says:

    That is so true, Lindsee. I was one of those radically saved prodigals, I have had a chance to share my testimony a couple times and it is really powerful for the Glory of God. I think one personal advantage is when you come from that- when you HAVE followed followed the devilish road to it’s inevitable conclusion (death and destruction) you always have that in the rearview mirror. When I am tempted to sin or get lax in my relationship to God I always have that awareness of what sin did to me in my past. The extreme hopelessness and pain. God’s ways may be more difficult up front but they are SO much better. And though my life is much more cleaned up now- I am still, like you, painfully aware of my sin and shortcomings. I think the biggest miracle is the change that He brings about in our hearts. A human being, willing submitting to God, and denying their sin nature day after day- THAT is a miracle. Keep being vulnerable and real because that is what this generation of women need so badly. We need leaders who are real about their brokenness and desperate (daily!) need for a Savior. …You know Jesus had quite the variety in his inner circle- former Pharisees and former prostitutes. Their is grace needed and available no matter the nature of our past.

  23. 73
    Diana says:

    This is so great and something I needed to hear.

    Thank you!

  24. 74
    Sandi Samms says:

    Lindsee, you have a powerful testimony. Just as we look at being physically born as a miracle we should see being “Born Again” as the same miracle. God has given you a great gift for writing, and I’d like to mention your gift of singing. I so enjoy hearing you sing on Sundays.

  25. 75
    Yvonne says:


    That is all….God bless!

    Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

  26. 76
    Katie says:


    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written this very post in my head. It took me a long time to realize that my salvation was just as valuable as the tear-filled stories of redemption delivered around the fire at summer camp.

    You rock Lindsee!

  27. 77
    lynda rickey says:

    Lindsee, I cannot remember a time when I did not know Jesus. I also cannot remember a time that I was not a rule follower. In fact, some would say I have a “spotless” record. I used to feel like I didn’t have a testimony about how Jesus changed my life. In my late thirties, Jesus really started working on my heart regarding my own sin of self-righteousness or belief that there was some measure of good in me that could merit salvation. I truly began to see my rule following as a sinful attempt to control God. All sin is vile to God regardless of our individual judgement of it. Jesus still works on my little black heart every day and thank God He does. This is the testimony I share with my friends and family both saved and unwavering. I know that I need Jesus for my salvation and have truly come to know in the last decade of my need for Him daily to save me from myself. Thanks for such a loving reminder of our need for Jesus. I don’t want to forget what Jesus is doing in my life. Love ya babe, Lynda

  28. 78
    candifer says:


    soooo totally sharing this with some of the young ‘churched’ ladies i disciple. what a timely post, lindsee!!

  29. 79
    Geri Honeycutt says:

    Amen!!!!! My story is HIS story.!!!!!

  30. 80
    Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your words are a real treasure.

  31. 81
    Tamara says:

    Such great words Lindsee. A good reminder for all of us who have been the “good kids” growing up in church. I struggled for many years with feeling like I had no testimony. Then, I had a conversation with a co-worker who has one of those dramatic salvation stories and she said something to me, I’ve never forgotten. She said that she often wished she had a story more like mine, because I didn’t have to deal with some of the consequences of her choices she still lives with. When she said that, I started looking at my tesimony differently. Even without the “big stuff” in it, it’s still a story of God’s grace saving me.

  32. 82
    Tammy Bellinger says:

    Amen! That is so true, and a trap I have fallen into before. Because I don’t have a dramatic story, I have nothing to share, and that is so false. Jesus saved me! Who knows what I might have been otherwise. But Jesus saved me and saved me young. I have had my moments, some longer than others, where I have fallen away, but He always brings me back. Awesome Word, Lindsee!

  33. 83
    Brittany says:

    Wow. This post is my life.

    Since I didn’t have a wild story or the “God spoke to me in the crack house” moment, I feel like I don’t have a testimony. Sometimes I do feel like I’m not doing anything for Christ since I don’t have an A21 campaign or sharing this grand story of overcoming being raped by my father 200 times (Joyce Meyer). I had hard times but the work God did in me was on the inside – things the world wouldn’t even call sin or shortcomings. They would praise those attributes. It’s hard to believe my boring story of being raised Christian and one one going to an LA church and learning about a whole “different” kind of Christianity (knowing Jesus as day-to-day Lord opposed to Savior alone)would have an impact on another.

    Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone.

  34. 84
    Tanya says:

    This touched me deeply. Third posted reply. Truly God used this post in my heart…clarified something. Thank you.

  35. 85
    Christine says:

    Lindsee..Thank you for this. My testimony of God’s love in my life and what He needed to do was rather dramatic and frankly I would much rather it had not had to be. My children, however, came to Christ as young children and this that you shared was very powerful to read. I will share this because I do believe that perhaps they have felt as you have felt.
    Something I have always shared with them is that what God had to do to save their souls was very dramatic indeed. Powerful and full of love and intention and very needed!
    I can say the same for myself!
    Thank you for sharing this with me and with my children…

  36. 86
    Patti Hayes says:

    Well said, Lindsee. That was a word fitly spoken. We have much in common, but for me, the fact remains, “Once I was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.” And that, my dear sister, is a miracle!
    Much Love,
    Patti Hayes

  37. 87
    Roxanne Worsham says:

    Dearest Lindsee,

    Of all of your many wonderful blogs, this is by far my favorite! You, my beautiful friend, are wise and mature beyond your years. All I can think right now is how blessed the young ladies are that you mentor and minister to! WOW!! Yes, every soul that has been redeemed has a testimony. We need to open our mouths in love and share the great things God has done for us. The pressure is off because all we are called to do is share and sow the seed. Only God can bring the harvest. This may sound corny, but I am so proud of you and I know our Heavenly Father beams with pride at His beautiful daughter- the one He chose to be the bride of His only Son! I love you, Lindsee!

  38. 88
    Irene Talaasen says:

    Oh, Lindsee, that is such a needed message. We are saved by His grace…Alone!! Thank you, I wish I knew you personally (by your postings I feel I do!) I would hug you and claim you as my granddaughter! Now at my age I have a dear 4 year old grandson! but age wise you could be my granddaughter.
    Hugs and Praise,

  39. 89
    Susy Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing this Lindsee. It helps me understand people who grew up in the church. My testimony is a “big” one and it always bugs me when others with better pasts undermine their own stories. My kids are church kids and your perspective gives me hope that they will cherish their privileged upbringing.

  40. 90
    Hannah says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you for reminding us that there is no testimony that doesn’t have value, that wasn’t authored by an amazing God, and isn’t used to change lives. This has given me more courage to share my testimony even though I’ve viewed it as dull in the past. The message of Christ is anything but dull!

    Thanks for another relatable post!

  41. 91
    Elizabeth George says:

    Amen to all of the above. well said.

  42. 92
    Janelle says:

    whew–wee….I did not take a breath while I read that whole thing….
    The Wind of the Spirit blazing through your fingertips, your mind and your heart, my dear baby-sister! Praise The LORD!! and bless you, dearest Lindsee!

  43. 93
    colleen says:

    I wish so much someone could have shared something like that with me when I was younger. I was raised and saved in the church…ever the ‘good’ girl…DESPERATELY trying to ‘keep’ my salvation year after year going to the alter at revivals and keeping the rules. Then a guy came to our youth group from California….hippie with the stories of all he had done and how God turned his life around. I Literally decided I wanted a testimony like that and started doing those things…then…my mom died when I was 19 and I went into a real tailspin. It took years for me to see the truth about salvation…because GOD is faithful. He has been all along…even when I was the supposed ‘good’ girl. Praise the LORD I’ve been saved from the ‘good’ and the bad…”by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony”….you have just preached the gospel SO effectively, Lyndsee….keep on sending out the truth. Thank-you!!

  44. 94
    Dannel says:

    Thank you Lindsee, May God bless you and keep you as you journey onward…Keep on sister.

  45. 95
    lori wiens says:

    This post is SOOO ME! Throughout my life, and even now at 40-something…I STILL find myself struggling and doubting with whether or not what I pray or say or do is based on what I really believe, or simply because it’s what I “KNOW” because “that’s the way it’s always been said/done in my church growing up”. Is it really my Faith or is it just “what I see as being expected or the right thing to say to be ‘accepted’ “…accepted not only by others….but by God. Is what I say or do “Good enough” to ‘make it in’, because I know how much I have screwed up…and still screw up.

    When I first started reading this post, I IMMEDIATELY thought of Amy Grant’s new song,
    “Don’t Try So Hard”


    “DON’T TRY SO HARD”…by Amy Grant

    “Another Monday comes and I just wanna breathe
    Cause it’s a long,
    long week for someone wired to please
    I keep taking my aim, pushing it higher
    Wanna shine bright, even brighter now
    Wish I would tell myself

    Don’t try so hard
    God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
    Don’t think that you’re not worth it
    Because you are
    He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
    Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
    You’re lovely even with your scars
    Don’t try so hard

    Do you remember how the summers felt when we were kids
    Oh we didn’t think much about it,
    we just lived
    Taking our time,
    beautiful leisure
    When did we start,
    trying to measure up
    And all this time,
    love has been trying to tell us

    Don’t try so hard
    God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
    Don’t think that you’re not worth it
    Because you are
    He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
    Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
    You’re lovely even with your scars
    Don’t try so hard

    God gives you grace
    You can’t earn it
    Stop thinking you’re not worth it
    Because you are
    He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
    Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
    You’re lovely even with your scars
    Don’t try so hard”

  46. 96
    Melany says:

    Wow, very well said!

  47. 97
    Deborah Davis says:

    Elgin, Texas

    This post spoke so much to my heart, that my verse this week is memorized with our foster baby’s mother in mind:

    God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who forgives our sins and sets us free.

    Colossians 1:13-14

  48. 98
    Elaine says:

    Lindsee – Goodness gracious, girl, this is one of the best blog posts EVER!! I’m printing it off and putting it in my Bible to share with my high school girls (or anybody else that needs to hear it!).

  49. 99
    sue ellis savannah says:

    Ps 56:3 when I am afraid , I will trust in the Lord

  50. 100
    Patty says:

    I have absolutely enjoyed and been blessed by this post. I am a PK who certainly can relate to much of this post and the comments also. Thank you for sharing and may God be glorified.

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