You are good enough

This is personal.

2007. I had just earned tenure at the University of Florida. I had placed too much importance on my job performance (which, for a mechanical engineering professor at a research university, means my funding level) since starting at UF in 2002. I was watching the wrong score board to see if I was winning. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience.

The day after I received the official announcement of my tenure and promotion was, disappointingly, exactly like the day before. My office looked the same, the pressure was the same, nothing had changed. I could hardly be surprised, but, somehow, I thought this milestone would make a difference. When this “god” failed me, I was disillusioned. Completely.

I took a leave of absence from UF (I was going to resign, but God knows more than me). I started a teaching/coaching position at a local high school. I ended up coaching at the high school (football) for four years, but teaching was a disaster. I was not equipped for the high school classroom. Not even close.

I resigned from the high school at the end of my first semester. Now I was really lost. Another “savior” had died. At my lowest, I finally pursued the only true Savior, Jesus. I earnestly sought a relationship. I read the Bible and books looking for an answer. I asked God to show me my next step. Here’s how God answered. It was a sunny Florida afternoon in Gainesville. I was sitting on the couch. I was alone. I remember the light and shade in our living room. He said: “You are good enough.”

My response, at the time, was “Really? That’s what I get? I’m good enough? I’m not great? Good enough for what?” I didn’t fully understand, but I was somehow comforted. I swallowed my pride. I asked for my position back at UF. I returned to my office and my puzzled colleagues.

Fast forward eight years. 2015. Today. I’m still a mechanical engineering professor, now at UNC Charlotte. I am also a football coach, at UNC Charlotte. God has answered all my desires. I just had a lot to learn and experience before I was ready to fulfill my dreams. I’d love to say that I no longer struggle with self-doubt and insecurity. But I do. I’d like to say that I haven’t fallen, failed, folded in the past eight years. But I have. It’s different now, however. Today, I have a true personal relationship with Jesus. I seek His will. I seek His companionship. I love Him. I know that, because of His grace and mercy, I am good enough.

God uses our struggles to strengthen us. Sometimes you must follow a long meandering path to reach your destination. Choosing God is not the elimination of struggle. But it is the beginning of hope.

I am not unique. Paul helped us understand:

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:29-30

I must daily surrender my will to my Savior. This surrender, however, brings freedom. The freedom to know that “You are good enough”.

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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