Even those who are outwardly successful often inwardly lack a sense of worth. So it was with my friend Cindy Sproles—novelist, ministry co-founder, conference director and so much more. The sense that we aren’t good enough can be a nagging lie that follows us relentlessly. For Cindy, the turnaround came when she realized her worth is ultimately found in the Great I Am. Here’s Cindy’s story…
I’m nothing special. That’s the lie I fight daily.
I’ve often wondered where that lie originated. My childhood was wonderful. There was never any abuse or brow beating. My folks were super parents, so it befuddles me, where this lie developed.
Maybe it came from being an “almost” only child. Twelve years separated my sweet brother from myself, and he was my hero when I was little. I never understood why my brother felt it necessary to marry and move away.
Perhaps it stemmed from having a multi-talented mom – an innovative, do-it-yourselfer, creative and determined to make things work. It was not uncommon for teachers to ask me to participate in things, so they could utilize Mom’s talents. My skills and abilities weren’t enough to land the honor on my own.
It could have been that, no matter how hard I tried, second place seemed my best. So much so, my high school track coach dubbed me Consistently Second Cindy – something that did nothing for my already floundering self-esteem.
I married in my early twenties, and when my husband divorced me and married another, I once again found myself living up to that title, Consistently Second.
It’s funny what happens to us when the cards are down. We can choose to play or call ourselves out. When I found myself a mom of two babies and divorced, I had to play. Despite the lie that plagued me, I went to my knees and asked God something simple.
“Lord, I’m not asking you to fix this. I’m just asking for the strength to open the blinds each day and see the sun. If I can see you in the day, then I can figure this out.”
Over the next 32 years God continued to give me the strength to open the blinds. He brought me into a relationship with a wonderful husband, who taught me I was worthy of love. He walked with us as we raised a blended family, sorted through the rough patch of one prodigal, and an adult child who hit upon tough times. He guided us with a son with disabilities. You name it, God lassoed us and pulled us through.
Still, with all these blessings, I never felt worthy or special. Was I so self-consumed that I couldn’t see my own self-worth?
I wasn’t self-consumed, I just didn’t believe. Not in God – of course I believed in God, but I didn’t believe Him. And it took a walk in the desert of life to finally make the connection. For a time, it was like God had turned His back on me. I walked through this hot, sandy desert of emptiness. It was as though I could see the oasis in the distance, but one foot was nailed deep into the sand and all I could do was walk in circles, catching a glimpse of relief with each lap.
It took this time of reflection to let go of the lie that was tight in my fist. That’s when the realization took hold and I learned to believe God had made me special and worthy.
I began to seek after my own dreams. Writing was always a love, but nothing I’d considered a passion until a minister friend read some of my work and took the step he knew I’d never take on my own. He signed me up for a writers’ conference and paid for me to attend.
I attended with only a few little pieces I’d written for my children, but once the door opened to the conference, amazing things flooded in. Authors, agents, and publishers took notice. My work was rough, but they saw something. They saw heart. Desire. Passion.
After I returned home, I spent some quiet time with God, having this conversation:
“Lord, you’ve strengthened me through the years. Helped me open the blinds. What do I do with this writing? There’s so much to learn.”
“But, what about. . .”
“About what? I’ve strengthened you over the years. Prepared you. You simply have to believe me.”
That day, I believed God had a plan. That He’d gifted me.
Consistently Second Cindy grew into the gifts God had given her and what I found was an amazing success. Not just in my writing and publication, but success within myself.
The question was not, did I believe in Christ, rather it was DID I BELIEVE HIM?
I’ve learned over time that I am who I am. Always worthy. Always special. And though my writing career began later in life, the passion of a loving God solidified a fearful, seemingly unworthy gal into a grateful, truth-seeking woman.
I still have days when the lie creeps up on me, but when I believe the Great I Am, then I am who I am and it’s good.