In our culture, the message “You are enough” is everywhere. From T-shirts, to book titles, to cute mugs and wall hangings, the message is spoken far and wide, but what if that message is not really true? What if it actually brings more stress and anxiety than freedom?
This is where I found myself one bright and sunny morning. Sitting, curled up in my chair, I was telling God that I just didn’t feel like enough. It seemed no matter how hard I tried in my mothering journey, I came up short somewhere and I was trying my hardest. I couldn’t possibly give more than I was giving and still I was finding holes where my kids had needed something I wasn’t able to give. I had done a lot of things right, but that wasn’t what was bothering me that bright morning. It was what I couldn’t give that bothered me so much. Not only that, but my need to be enough for them, kept them from being able to be honest with me about things they felt hurt by. My identity had become rooted in me being enough. If you’ve ever accidentally touched someone’s source of identity, you know it is never a good thing. My very desire to be enough was causing some of our biggest problems. In trying to be everything for them, I had become controlling, fearful, prideful, developed a victim mindset and overly attentive. Not only that, but they were under increased pressure to always be fine. I needed them to be proof of me being enough. We were all tired.
In my prayers, I whispered, “I’m just not enough.” I think I kind of expected a response like, “You are because of Me” or some more Christian version of the “You are enough” message. What He actually said stunned me and has become one of the most freeing things I have ever had Him speak to me.
“You are not enough. I am. You never have been, never will be and were never meant to be. You aren’t enough for your kids either. I am. Don’t try to take my place in their lives. They need me. you are not their answer. You are not their hope. It doesn’t all depend on you. I have never asked you to be enough. I have only asked you to lean into me and rely heavily on me. They will only find the answers for their lives in Me.”
With those words, I suddenly realized:
My job is not to be enough. God is the only one who was and is ever enough. In fact, the belief that I am enough is the belief that I can be him. I cannot take his place. My job is to take my broken and unhealthy pieces to him. My sin, the rags I keep choosing to wear – some I am aware of and others I have yet to see – are to be surrendered to him. Surrendering the rags require vulnerability and openness with him. It causes pain as I begin to see things as they are, not as I wish them to be. I see how I have pained others and caused ones I love to hide pieces of themselves from me. It shows me where I am unlike Jesus and unsafe for others. He takes those things and gradually exchanges them for his robe of righteousness. It takes time and I am always held by him no matter where I am in the process. I see that I am not who I used to be, but I am not who I am going to become either. I am a work in progress and will be until the day I die. There will be parts of me that were not and are not enough for my kids or for others. That’s okay. It was never my job anyway. There are parts of me that hinder them and cause them pain, but as I open my heart to him, his healing and restoration will begin to take hold of my heart and I will become more and more like him. I will have courage to acknowledge those places and my relationships will be honest and real. Never perfect, but always growing. His grace doesn’t leave me where I am, but reaches down and gives me the steps I need to climb higher. His grace and unending love give me the courage to face who I really am and let him make me into who he has designed me to be. Without him, I am helpless and can never change, but with him I am transforming, powerful and able to move forward with confidence.
I am not enough. He is.
John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
2 Corinthians 3:5 – Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I Peter 2:9 – But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. you are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Psalm 138:8 – The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Philippians 4:13 – For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
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