What It Truly Means To Be Enough
A loud, boisterous laugh came from a woman sitting in the back of the room after the speaker stated, “…and I also homeschool my kids.” The laughter was curious to a few but rang true for many. The lovely, pristine speaker had just finished a 5-minute speech about all the things she had going on in her life: Owned a small business, public speaker, worked on their family farm, the list went on and on finally ending with her homeschooling her children. The laughter hit a cord in my heart that day and left a hollow echo. This beautiful, perfect looking woman stood before a group of women and told them she was the example of what a reclaimed life looked like. And the woman sitting in the audience may have laughed out of disbelief but perhaps even out of shame. Sometimes there is no other appropriate response when we are faced with not being “enough” next to someone who apparently is.
The ironic thing about the statement “You are enough” that floats around on t-shirts and coffee mugs is that it is stating that we are actually NOT enough. Deep down inside we know that we cannot do it all. Though some of us admittedly try to (guilty) and even though the world expects us to, we simply cannot. The sad thing, however, is that in our trying to “do all things and be all things” we ended up losing the beauty of our imperfections. Our limitations can only do one thing: highlight our strengths. Our flaws should make us laugh and force us to not take ourselves too seriously. Our limits are built in; we know it, and there is nothing we can do about it. So how can we say that we are enough when we know that we really are not? What is this message really saying in light of the Gospel?
First, enough-ness comes from God. Period. Not from our accomplishments or personality or giftings or income level. Our worth is inputted into us by God Himself. If we truly think that we are enough apart from the divine work of God in our life, we are simply propping up a fragile ego by means of an empty marketing slogan that keeps us buying into a message that is not rooted in the Gospel. Sorry if this sounds harsh but the ego is a tricky SOB that produces only disconnected, immature followers of Christ.
Second, enough-ness comes from accepting our limitations and giving ourselves grace. When we can take a realistic look at our lives and give ourselves permission to NOT do it all and to realize we CAN’T do it all, there is a radicle freedom that lets us do (with joy!) what we CAN. We are enough when that message is deeply rooted in our soul. However, the message of “not-enough” comes from a worldview that you should be a certain way. These are lies and should be laughable! And this is key when excepting our limitations: you have nothing to prove when you are a child of God.
Third, enough-ness comes from being connected to like-minded people. God specifically created a community to compliment and complete each other. Where some are weak, others may be strong. Where we find ourselves falling short, others are there to pick us up and help us keep going. Our lives are not lived in a vacuum, and bubbles can only exist for so long before the veneer of perfection starts to crack. We find that we are enough when we can lock arms with supportive, loving, and imperfect people.
Approved in Christ
I spoke with the laughing woman after the event and asked what made her laugh. She stated that it all seemed too much and felt like BS. I agreed in my head and nodded quietly, letting her talk. I walked away feeling both affirmed in my suspicions and saddened for the speaker of the event. I wondered if anyone has told her “You don’t have to do it all. You can let the world see your limitations (because we all know they exist) and admit that you are trying just as hard as the rest of us. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You are approved in Christ. End of story.” Perhaps if the speaker believed that message, laughter would have been tears that day, and we all could have walked away feeling enough.