When You Don't Feel As Holy As Her

I stood in a circle of women, holding hands as we prayed over all that burdened our hearts. It was a beautiful moment in time and it felt like sacred space.

And then I realized it was my turn to pray next. How could my prayer compete with their prayers?

The prayerful petitions of the women before me were intimidating. They used big words and strung them together flawlessly. They prayed about things that never crossed my mind. I listened as they painted a powerful picture with their words. And I felt small.

And as the woman next to me squeezed my hand—the universal signal that she was done and I was up—I began to sweat. I lost my words. My mind went blank. And I stood there for what seemed like 10 minutes, desperate for any kind of sound to slip through my lips.

But nothing happened. So I squeezed the hand of the woman on the other side of me, feeling like a failure.

Lord, I can pray at home. I can pray in my car. Why can’t I pray in front of others? What’s wrong with me?

Have you ever been afraid to pray out loud in front of others because you’re worried your prayers aren’t as good as hers or theirs? Or maybe you’re too self-conscious to share your insights at Bible study because you’re certain the women you consider spiritual giants will find your comments silly?

We can get so trapped in comparison when it comes to our faith.

I’ve lead small groups and Bible studies off and on for years. And in every one of them, I’ve known one or two women who have felt terribly inferior. It’s understandable, though. Many of us would admit to being hurt by the church at one time or another.

… We’ve sat with women who think they’re better than the rest of us.

… We’ve heard the flowery prayers—the ones where they sound super holy but we’ve no idea what they’re even saying.

… We’ve been on the receiving end of judgmental or condescending comments and glances.

… We’ve been corrected for our words or theology in front of a group in a mean-spirited way.

… We’ve all felt small, belittled for asking “silly” questions.

And it’s left us feeling insecure about connecting with other women and sharing our thoughts or prayers out loud.

For many of us, we’re simply too afraid to share our struggles because we worry others might judge us or see us as faithless. We keep our mouths shut because we don’t feel confident in how we interpret scripture and are afraid to mess up. And we won’t pray out loud, scared we’ll sound elementary.

It’s is shaken our confidence. Even more, it makes us shy away from meaningful community. We may crave the deep waters of faith with friends, but our insecurities keep us in the shallows.

The last thing we need is one more “I’m not enough” reminder, and so we decide it’s not worth the risk. Because deep down, we desperately want to measure up. And we want to be seen as holy enough in our prayers… in our interpretations… in our godly advice.

But you know what? Faith isn’t about putting on a good public performance. And it’s most certainly not a competition.

When we buy into those lies, the Enemy wins. He knows that if he can make us more concerned with looking holy rather than living holy, our faith becomes a measuring stick for our self-worth.

But sisters, here is truth to chew on:

1)  God created each of us differently on purpose. You weren’t made to be just like her, you were fashioned to be one of a kind.
2)  He gave us different gifts and talents and insights. He designed only one of you and only one of her.
3)  We have different spiritual giftings. And part of thriving in community means we recognize those differences and celebrate them!
4)  We hold different perspectives and life experiences. God crafted each of us to see life in fresh ways. Your point of view adds value to a conversation!

We’re designed to fit together to make a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. We are created for community, and we each bring something special and unique to the collective.

So be careful to not let faith become a measuring stick. Pray out loud. Share your struggles. Offer your perspective. Ask the questions. Present your understanding.

We are all in this together.

Carey Scott

Carey is an author and speaker, honest about her walk with the Lord… stumbles, fumbles and all. Her NEWLY RELEASED BOOK, Uncommon, a battle cry for women to step out of the ordinary and live with purpose and passion. Carey also wrote Untangled, a book about the insecurities we face as women and how to live in freedom. She lives in Northern Colorado with her family. Learn more at CareyScott.org. You can also connect with her on Facebook.   

Join the discussion

samara July 13, 2017 at 5:40am

Ms. Carey Scott, have you been reading my journal? This was so timely. God is doing a work in my life and is showing me things about myself that he wants to free me from. Funny how sometimes we struggle alone when there are others out there who have been through a similar situation that they've been set free from and have a word of encouragement that can too set us free. I can't think you enough for sharing this, it has truly blessed my life. I will pray, I will speak and I too will share.

Barbara Jones July 12, 2017 at 5:21pm

Thank you for your article. I have many times felt inadequate to pray , even in the quiet of my own home . I struggle to find the right words . I struggle to bring my "stuff" to God . I have been in the wilderness for dome time and trying to reconnect my relationship with God and found this article really rang true . Thanks

Puleng July 10, 2017 at 4:48pm

Thank you so much for the article . Thank you for reminding me that I am different ad it is normal to be different . God really is awesome .

J.E.Grace July 10, 2017 at 3:08pm

Loved the article and can relate to it. There have been many times that I have felt not as good as someone else when it comes to prayer. Your message gives me hope knowing that I"m not alone in my feelings and that there is hope that with Faith and God's help, I can overcome it.

Catherine Dickerson July 9, 2017 at 2:10pm

Very inspiring article, so glad I read it now it gives me a sense of freedom where I can be me. Thanks and may God continue to bless you to bless other women!!!

Michelle Alexander July 9, 2017 at 8:42am

I have struggled with praying in front of an audience for a long time. Reading this really helped me. Thank you.

Amanda July 9, 2017 at 8:20am

Thank you for this! I struggle so much with this. I am a Coordinator at our church and I always compare myself to our other leaders. I always feel I wasn't good enough, I don't know enough and so on. Thank you again for writing this article.

Susan Gruener July 9, 2017 at 5:19am

Thanks for this. I too have been at a loss for words to pray...even after 50 years of knowing the Lord. I've been praying more that His Holy Spirit just fill my mouth, mind and heart with His words, because sometimes my mind is just blank...
I'm so glad Jesus knows our heart at these times...
Bless you!

Claudia July 9, 2017 at 3:24am

This word is so timely. This is exactly what I've been grappling with

I thank God for this confirmation that I'm in Him and that he values me.

God bless you Carey Scott and all Propel Women.

Annamae July 9, 2017 at 2:13am

Thanks for sharing this ! We all have something to contribute as we seek to grow in Christ!

Raquel July 9, 2017 at 1:18am

This topic is real and relevant for so many women. I have heard this time and time again. Comparison steals from us. Thank you for this article.

Lisa Revels July 6, 2017 at 9:14am

Thank you so much for being so transparent it kept me engaged and wanting to keep reading!