You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Well, hello and welcome to this weekday edition of Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh, and Family Talk is the listener supported broadcast division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. Now, we have a special program in store for you today featuring our cohost, Dr. Tim Clinton. His special guest is Allie Beth Stuckey. Now you may have heard Allie's name before, as she is a notable voice among Christian conservative women. Her podcast is called Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey, and she analyzes culture, news, politics, and theology, all from a Christian Biblical perspective.

But what you might not know about Allie is that she used to struggle with an eating disorder and placed her worth and value in many things above her Heavenly Father. God got ahold of Allie's heart though, and her book, You're Not Enough (And That's Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love, is a call to stop telling ourselves that we are enough and start looking to God who actually is. Dr. Clinton and Allie Beth Stuckey's inspiring conversation was recorded at the 2021 National Religious Broadcasters convention in Dallas, Texas. Let's listen in right now.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Allie, thank you for being a part of this edition of Family Talk.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Thanks for joining us. Hey, as we get started, Allie, amazing work that you've got going on. You're Relatable podcast. I like how you're really a strong voice, especially for millennial women. I have a daughter, Megan, who's a young mom, and she's got a lot of questions and issues we've talked a lot about. And I know you're not shy on the issues. I follow you on Twitter. I mean, it's quite impressive, but how do you think all this came about? I know we've got a lot of story we want to talk about, but it's just amazing, in this hour, the need and the cry for people to step up and into the moment.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right. Well, there are a lot of questions that people are asking like you just alluded to that when I was growing up, my parents didn't really have to talk to me about. I mean, we're talking about very basic fundamental questions about what a man is, what a woman is? What is morality? Where does truth come from?

Dr. Tim Clinton: I know.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Does truth actually exist? And so in a lot of ways, I mean, it's disheartening because we don't want to even have to ask these questions because how could we even get to this space to where we're wondering if biological reality is real? And yet it's also encouraging that there are so many people asking, "Hang on a second. We've always just accepted that truth and morality exist, but why?" And so it's an opportunity for Christians to get stronger in our faith, to get stronger in our apologetics, to better understand the cultural issues that we're not going to be able to escape in this life. People are asking important questions that the church can bring clarity on.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Speaking of messages I have in my hands, a book by you, You're Not Enough (And That's Okay). Talk about a message that's kind of counter-culture.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Right now. The whole self-love piece.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Let's start out there and this messaging in everyday life. It's everywhere.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes. Yes. And that's exactly why I wrote this book, You're Not Enough (And That's Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love, and it is a little off putting, of course. I'll admit it's supposed to be a little off putting at first because this is the opposite message that a lot of, especially women, if people have seen it, it's a little pink book, it's targeted to women.

Dr. Tim Clinton: It is.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Because so many women and especially young moms are hearing this. That you're enough. You're perfect the way that you are, there's nothing you need to change about yourself. And the reason that we're getting that message is because there is a very real need among women to hear that we're worth something, that we're valuable, that we don't have to reach these unfair standards of having it all, at all times, that we can be a full-time mom and work full-time and look perfect and act perfect and all of these things that women feel like they're stretched in a million, different, impossible directions, that they have to be omnipotent and omniscient in all of these things.

And so, this kind of "you are enough" self-love movement that we see from influencers, from fitness gurus, from bloggers, authors, and all of that, it's the secular attempt to fill this void of worth that I think a lot of women feel. So the problem is real. The issue is that the solution is very superficial. If the self is the problem, if inside yourself you are feeling like you're inadequate, like you're not good enough, like you're depressed, you're anxious, you're not going to be able to find the solution in yourself as well. So the self can't be both the problem and the solution.

So, the point of my book is not that, "Hey self-love is toxic and you should really hate yourself." Of course, that is not the message. The message is, "Self-love and self-confidence and self-empowerment is only going to get you so far." Because contrary to what these-

Dr. Tim Clinton: You're never going to be good enough.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: There's always going to be somebody better.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Exactly.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Somebody prettier.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes. Every day, every second, you are going to find that you don't measure up to the standard that you or someone else has set for you. And the comfort of my book, or the point of my book, is that while self-love is superficial and temporary, it's going to change depending on what people think of you, how you feel that day, God's love isn't. It is satisfying. It is sufficient. It is that thing that you are trying and failing to find inside yourself. You're trying to find inside yourself that purpose, that confidence, to make you feel better and it's exhausting you. So the point is to get yourself off of this hamster wheel of self-empowerment, and to realize that you're not made to be sufficient.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Matter of fact, we can't change enough.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: We can't keep up with all this recommendation coming our way. But how bad is it, Allie? I read a piece about girls and this fad of wanting to change something about themselves, willing to actually go through some type of surgery, anything.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Just to make the adjustment, just to get to where I want to be. You know the old saying, "You can't be too rich or too thin."

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That's bad.

Allie Beth Stuckey: It's really bad. And it's taken a lot of different forms over the past few generations. I mean, adolescence is hard for a lot of people in a lot of different ways. I think that social media, especially for girls, who just naturally are going through a lot.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Awkward stages and too and all kinds of things, right?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah, and I know that guys are too, but from a female perspective, I know especially those middle school years of trying to fit in, trying to feel cool, not understanding who you are and what's going on and what beauty actually means, and all of those things, and hormones and everything that comes with not having a fully developed frontal lobe. It's difficult. And so, yes, there are a lot of different unhealthy manifestations of insecurity that a lot of young girls go through.

And in one sense, you do want to tell them, "Hey, you need to appreciate the self and the body that God gave you." And some people might say, "Well, isn't that self-love?" And in a sense, of course, the appreciation that you should have for the creation that you are, being made in the image of God. But the point is focusing on yourself will only get you so far until you realize the infinite value that God has given you, that He has demonstrated through the gospel by sending His only son to die for you, until you realize that, you will never be able to convince yourself for long enough that you are good enough. Until you look to the cross and stop obsessing with what you think about yourself, you're going to be exhausted.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That doesn't mean you don't want women to work hard.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Or to make adjustments or things that need to be dealt with in my life. But what it says is if my identity is all wrapped up in what I do and what others think of me, I'm in trouble.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah. Or even what you think of you, because the secular solution to, "Hey, stop comparing yourself to other people, stop thinking about what other people think of you." The secular solution is, "Well, focus on what you think of you." But I'm telling you what you think of you is just as untrustworthy as what other people think of you. What God thinks of you doesn't change because if you're a Christian, what He sees when He sees you is righteous and clean and pure and good and worthy because of Christ, not because of you. And that takes the weight off. We're not supposed to be carrying the burden of self-identification. Whereas today that's the thing. Identify how you want to identify whatever feels good, your truth, that is making yourself a god and you're not supposed to be able to carry that responsibility. And that's really good news that we don't have to.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. You identify five myths that kind of fuel this insanity and you give the answer.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And you take us on a journey. What I love is there's always backstory, there's narrative that drives this kind of thinking. And for you, I was fascinated reading your story about being in college, in love, wheels come off.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You find yourself in a mess and you were battling an eating disorder. And I think there was a conversation, a one-liner came your way and it said, "You're going to die."

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Take us back there.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes. So I was raised how probably a lot of people listening were raised, perhaps, I was raised in a Christian home.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah.

Allie Beth Stuckey: And I was a Christian. I believed all of it and it was genuine, but I realized that maybe my faith wasn't as my own as I thought it was when things no longer went my way. When I had this plan of getting engaged and getting married and having my life look exactly how I wanted it to and, honestly, probably how I thought that I deserved it too, when that fell apart and I felt like I no longer had control, I also no longer knew who I was. My identity, which I probably would have said at the time was in Christ, was actually in all of these other things that God had given me that I felt like I was entitled to. And when that fell apart and I realized that my sufficiency was not in actually who I knew that I was in Christ, but in having the perfect boyfriend, or having the perfect reputation, or having all of these things that I wanted to keep together, and that was no longer there, I tried to find my identity in other things.

And I tried to self-identify and self-empower and self-love, and that sent me into a spiral of trying to look perfect and trying to feel perfect and trying to get the attention of people to make me feel enough. But in all of that, I was proving this paradoxical reality of in trying to prove my sufficiency, by getting affirmation from myself and other people and through an eating disorder, trying to be skinny or have a certain weight on the scale I was proving that I wasn't enough, because I was actually miserable. And it took me quite a few months, I would say probably nine months of being in this spiral of not just going from anorexia to bulimia, but also over-drinking, that I actually sought help.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And the truth is, it's pretty intoxicating.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: It's highly addictive, if you will. I mean, the pattern is so strong that it's hard to break.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah, it is.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And when you go in there and you hit rock bottom, I mean, it's rock bottom.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right. And it can take you a while, because of that intoxication, it can take you a while to realize that you really do need help because you also convinced yourself as I did, "That this is just a phase. I can stop anytime I want to. I can get back to normal anytime I want to." And once I realized that I couldn't...

Dr. Tim Clinton: "I'm in trouble."

Allie Beth Stuckey: That it was out of control.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah.

Allie Beth Stuckey: And actually, a friend, I was caught in this cycle of binging and purging, and a friend caught me in that cycle and I was just so ashamed. And I realized, "Okay, this is becoming who I am and I'm constantly trying to convince myself that this is not me, but it is." And so that's when I sought a Biblical counselor and after a few sessions, she finally just said, "Look, this is going to kill you. You're going to die." And when I realized it had gotten to that point, and I was picturing myself, 22 years old, in a hospital bed, dying. And I wasn't to that point physically yet to where that was about to happen, but her telling me that it could happen if I kept going in that direction, I thought, "There's too much I want out of life. This is not who I want to be and I know better. I know better." And thankfully, the grace of God, which is just relentless in pursuing His children, relentless in pursuing the lost sheep. I mean, it really does rescue you and wreck you all at the same time. And I'm just so thankful for His mercy, that He's faithful when we're faithless. Gosh, He could hold so much against us and He chooses not to.

Dr. Tim Clinton: It's almost like that Alcoholics Anonymous line, "I don't have the power. I don't have that power."

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: "I've got to look somewhere else." So, the myth is "you're enough," when in reality, I'm not that good.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I don't have enough.

Allie Beth Stuckey: And in trying to prove your sufficiency to yourself, it will land you in a place that you don't want to be. Maybe not in the same place that it landed me, but you will realize eventually that it's a dead end.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, your host. Our special in-studio guest today, Allie Beth Stuckey. She's all over the place. Social media, everywhere, strong voice, especially among millennials and millennial women in particular. Strong message again on You're Not Enough (And That's Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love. We're talking about some of the myths and I want to cover a couple of more of them, Allie, because these are gifts. These are gifts to us. The second myth, "you determine your truth." Nothing more reckless than that mindset.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right. Right. And we could go back to the origins of this kind of thinking, it really goes back all the way to the Enlightenment, that's really kind of become so mainstream and popular now, but how we're seeing that manifest, it is kind of what we were talking about earlier about that self-identity of saying, "Well, if I declare my own truth, then I can determine who I am and therefore I determine my morality and you can't tell me any differently. So if my truth is that"-

Dr. Tim Clinton: That's where we're living. That's the world we live in right now."

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: What people are everywhere, that's what they're claiming.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right. It's the age old exchange of the God of Scripture for the God of Self. And it really goes back, I mean, all of this goes back to the Garden, but when you think about the first temptation of did God really say, that's still what we're wrestling with today. Did God really say? And now we're saying, "And who is God anyway to tell me what is right, what is wrong? I mean, this fruit looks pretty good and maybe I do have the power to become like God and see what God sees." And that's basically what people are wrestling with when they're saying, "My truth is mine. And your truth is yours." The problem is no one actually believes that. I mean, no one is really a moral relativist because the same people who are saying my truth and your truth are telling me that my truth is wrong in being a Christian. And so that in itself is contradictory.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Was there a moment, Allie, that that light kind of came on for you in your journey?

Allie Beth Stuckey: My parents would probably say that I was born that way. There is part of that that's just part of my personality. Now I will say I started caring about apologetics, even though I didn't have a straight line of A to B to be in my faith in college, I did start caring about apologetics when I was probably a senior in high school and I'm very thankful for the education that I have. But I would say more recently in the past few years, being very troubled about not just where the culture is going, because we expect secular culture to go a certain direction, but there's a lot of confused people and especially confused women in the church about what is true and what is not.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Does the Bible matter? Is it inherent? Is it absolute? And that is what drives me. I'm so desperate for women to know theological truth. And of course I'm political and cultural as well, but there's a void of knowledge and wisdom.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. What's wild is, and I'm holding my phone in my hand, our digital devices. The stuff that comes at us every day on this, even if you're just scrolling, you're getting pounded with messaging, innuendo, you know that? And if we don't step into the media and the arts, if we're not in these kinds of spaces with truth-

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: What are we getting?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right. And there are some Christians that want to say, "Well, we don't need to be engaged at all because it's toxic.: Well, it is toxic, but that's why you step into darkness with light.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. Let's go to the third myth. "You're perfect the way you are." I don't know many people who really believe that, you know that?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: But in their heart, somehow we're struggling. We're all over the map right there.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And these thoughts can become deeply ingrained in our mind. Talk to us about mindsight. How you break through that?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Well, I think that you're absolutely right, that no one believes that. And once again, this is another one of those things that on the one hand, you do want to tell people who are struggling with insecurity that "You don't need to worry about that. You're perfect the way you are." Of course, our kids, when they have some insecurity, you want to say, "Oh my gosh, you're perfect." And we do think our kids are perfect in so many ways and we want them to feel that.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And you're loved.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes. And so all of that is important. What I see in this, what I call the cult of self-affirmation, this trendy narcissism is what I call it in my book.

Dr. Tim Clinton: The smiley sticker on everything that's going out there.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes. It's trying to diminish what our real flaws, failures, and sins, which we all have, and turn them into quirks that we shouldn't be worried about, we shouldn't feel guilty for, and we should actually glorify selfishness and cutting people off that don't serve us anymore. And we shouldn't worry about changing ourselves at all. We shouldn't try to be sanctified, of course, we know that's a work of the Holy Spirit, and we shouldn't try to improve in any way because how we are is perfect. Well, we know that that's not true. We don't have a good self and a bad self and a better self according to scripture, we have an old self and a new self. We've got a self that's dead in sin, according to Ephesians 2, and a self-that's alive in Christ.

And we work out our salvation with fear and trembling with the power of the Holy Spirit. But nowhere does the Bible ever tell us that we are perfect the way we are. Made in the image of God? Worthy of love because of Christ? Absolutely, which is way better. But we also have very real sins, a very real depravity that has to be redeemed through Christ. So this toxic mindset of, "Well, I'm already perfect. There's nothing I need to change about myself," especially in the mind of the unbeliever. I mean, 1 John says that if you say that you're without sin, you're a liar, and the truth is not within you.

And so, it's important for us to see ourselves as we are. If we see that we've already reached it, we've already reached the pinnacle of perfection, well, then we're not going to see our need for redemption and sanctification.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Even the Apostle Paul, in Romans 7, "The things I would do, I don't. The things I wouldn't do, I do."

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: "Therefore, daily, I've got to reckon and yield my life to Christ." I know a lot of people talk and debate that theologically, but I think Paul was making a clear statement. It's about our identity in Christ.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And when we get anchored there, it changes the game completely. Two more, we're fighting time. "You're entitled to your dreams, "You can't love others until you love yourself." And those are complicated thoughts.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Because aspiration is what it's about. Driving, reaching, positivity, and so much more, tempered with balance. I heard a message one time, Allie, a pastor said, "As far as you drive the shaft of sin, you've got to drive the shaft of grace. And as far as you drive the shaft of grace, you have to understand the shaft of sin." That kind of balances what we're talking about here, right?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Because if we don't, we will get lost. We'll anchor ourselves in ourselves.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And we'll never survive it.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right. And that fourth myth, a lot of people kind of push back on, you're not entitled to your dreams. And I'm someone who has dreamed a lot. And I do something that I love. What that means is not that you shouldn't have dreams or that you shouldn't have aspirations and goals, because those things are important, and God might put those things in your heart because He wants you-

Dr. Tim Clinton: There's nothing wrong with reaching.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That's right.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Because He wants you to do those things. But I also see a lie that's believed in my generation and younger that I think says that success means making a lot of money, having a lot of followers, doing things that the world says are important and impactful. And you are not entitled to those things and actually just wanting to do something doesn't mean that God is guaranteeing it for you. Any work that you do that is good and productive work that makes the lives of those better around you for the glory of God is impactful. You don't have to be an influencer to have influence. And so that's what breaking up that myth means.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. How many times have we seen people who have all those followers and have achieved so many dreams and accomplished so many things, and yet they're still empty and unhappy?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And broken.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: To those who would be listening right now, and they're struggling. They wonder about if they matter? Are they making a difference? Maybe they've been beaten up by life. Life's confusing, dark.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: When they pick up You're Not Enough (And That's Okay), Allie, as they walk away from that encounter with you, as you share your heart and your thoughts, what's it look like on the other side to be free?

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yeah. So I think a lot of people in that position, they might be offended just as I probably would have been in college to hear, "You're not enough, and, hey, you don't need to be focusing so much on self-love," but I want to reiterate that that is good news. And the reason that that is good news is because if you are relying on yourself to be your source of love and empowerment, you're going to disappoint yourself and you're going to be exhausted. God carries that burden for you. He loves you when you don't love yourself, when you don't like yourself. He sent His son to die for you, He loves you so much. That sacrifice that you feel if you've ever had a child, that feeling of love that you can never even explain, God loves you infinitely more than that. And He carries that burden that you are trying and failing to carry for yourself.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Christ in you, the hope of glory. Our special guest today has been Allie Beth Stuckey. You probably have heard of her on the Relatable podcast, strong voice in the millennial generation, especially among millennial moms and more. Boy, that's a whole another program we could talk about. What's happening to parental rights and so much more, religious liberty infringement.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Those things really, really matter and when you start seeing them in the light of the context of the conversation we just had, it makes sense. If there's ever a time to step up and into the moment and have a voice, it's now.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Yes.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Hey, on behalf of Dr. Dobson, his wife, Shirley, their family, the Family Talk team, we salute you.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Thank you.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And appreciate the great work you're doing.

Allie Beth Stuckey: Thanks so much.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Thanks for joining us.

Roger Marsh: Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves. It is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast." Friend, I got news for you. You aren't enough. I'm not enough. It doesn't matter how many fitness plans we join or how many diets we try or if we have surgeries to help us feel better about ourselves, we will never be enough by ourselves. And that's okay, because Jesus Christ is enough. He's the author and perfecter of our faith. He is our strength, and He is the one in whom we find true worth.

We hope that you've been encouraged by today's program. And perhaps you heard some of yourself in Allie's testimony. We certainly hope so. To listen to any part of the broadcast that you might've missed, or to find out more about Allie Beth Stuckey, her podcast, or her book, visit While you're there, you can also request a CD copy of today's program, or you can give us a call at (877) 732-6825.

Well, that's all the time we have for today. God's richest blessings to you all. And please be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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