I am not enough

Published March 19, 2010 by joypatton

Most mornings I wake up and I am drowning in my “not-enough-ness.”  It seems everywhere I look something is broken or not working the way it should.  Usually I start my day keenly aware of not getting enough sleep.  I roll over and try to squeeze a few extra minutes out of the night.  As soon as my feet hit the floor, someone needs something.  The dog needs to go out and eat breakfast.  The baby needs a diaper change and a bottle.  Hope Renee waddles in with a heavy Pull-up that has usually leaked all over her pajamas.  I can’t take care of everyone all at once, so whoever is whining the loudest gets to go first.  I’m not enough.

The boys complain that there isn’t any cereal in the pantry they like.  Once again I have not been to the store in a timely fashion to get their favorites.  What are their favorites this week anyway?  I’m not enough. I find the note in their backpacks that they have run out of lunch money.  But unfortunately there is not enough money in the checking account to cover that today.  There’s just not enough. My feet run over the warped wood floor in front of my dishwasher that leaks.  We need a new dishwasher, and we need to hire someone to redo that floor hopefully before it rots the subfloor and we all fall into the basement.  But if there’s no money for lunches, there isn’t enough money for dishwashers and floors.  Just not enough…

My husband reminds that we are having guests for dinner who have never been to the house before.  Translation: everything has to be spotless and look like a million bucks.  Is he really going to add that to my day?  I think to myself, “If that’s what he wants, then he better help because I am not enough.” My bed is piled high with outfits.  I’ve tried every combination I can think of.  But what I really want to where are the skinny jeans I can’t fit into after baby number four.  I’m just not thin enough. I have to call and say I’m going to be late.  Apparently I still can’t figure out how to leave the house on time.  I’m simply not disciplined and organized enough.

I have also realized that the people in my house are not enough for me either.  Instead of thanking me for all the good food I did buy the last time I went to the store, they complain about their favorite cereal being left off the list.  My husband makes my load heavier instead of relieving it.  He’s not enough for me because he is already overloaded himself.

This is the tension of this world. We are not enough and we never will be.

But couldn’t I be good enough, rich enough, pretty enough if I just worked a little harder?

This is the lie I believed most of my life.  I believed that it was possible to be enough, and I would wake up every day convinced I could be enough and determined to make it happen.   This is how I became a perfectionist.  I believed that life could be perfect and it should be perfect.  And it was my job to make it so.

I know that some of you may have been devising plans and tips to help me fix my not-enough-ness.  I’m sorry, but I’ve tried most of them.  It’s not a lack of knowledge that keeps me in my not-enough-ness.  Those things can only change the external look of my not-enough.  They cannot take it away because they cannot change my heart and they cannot change the people around me.

Yet despite my best efforts at making it all enough, I still wake up in the middle of “not-enough-ness.”  So how do I deal with that?

I hide my not-enough-ness.  There’s no way I can let all the people who are enough know that I am not.  I can also give you a whole list of wherefore’s and whatnot’s that explain why I am the way I am.  Sometimes I even compare myself to other people and believe that their not-enough-ness is worse than mine, so mine can’t really be that bad.  I work hard to make the areas where I am enough outshine the areas where I’m not.  It is quite an exhausting way to live.  I do the same things every day to manage my not-enough-ness and somehow expect it to be different when I wake up the next morning.  But the next day someone or something reminds me that I am not enough.

So what does God want me to do with my not-enough-ness? Does he want me to hide it?  Does he want me to work harder and do better?  Is he the one who said that I could be good enough, rich enough, pretty enough in this life?

God wants me to take my not-enough to Jesus.  At the cross, he takes my not-enough and makes it enough.  Remember the five loaves and two fish?  It wasn’t enough to feed 5,000 people.  But somehow when Jesus took that not-enough, he made it into enough…actually more than enough.   To me this is what sanctification is….God taking my not enough and making it enough.

But how do I become sanctified? By believing and trusting.  Trusting means I have to trust God with my not-enough.  I have to give up control and managing my not-enough-ness.  I have to surrender.  I have to believe the truth about me…that I am not enough and that I will never be enough.

Will I ever be a good enough mom for my kids?  A good enough wife to my husband?  A good enough friend?  No, I won’t, not in my own strength and by my own effort.  I also have to believe the truth about people around me…they are not enough for me and they never will be.  My husband no matter how great he is will never be enough to satisfy all of my needs.  All the love of my children will never be enough for me…in fact someday they just might grow up and leave me.  Then who will I be when I’m nobody’s mom?

By now I’m afraid you’re getting depressed and wondering what is the benefit of realizing “I am not enough.”  The good thing is that when I am not enough, I leave room for God to come in and be enough for my kids, for my husband, for my friends, for my family.  I can stop making myself crazy.  I can stop running to the grocery store every time someone runs out of their favorite cereal.   When I realize that it is not my job to fix my not-enough-ness, then I am free.

Another good thing is that God looks at me and sees me as enough.  He looks at me through the blood of Christ and sees that I am good enough, righteous enough, holy enough to live with him forever.  He’s not up there looking down in disappointment and judgement at my not-enough-ness.  When I use his standard of enough instead of my own, somehow I pass.  What a relief!

But why would God want to make me enough so that I could live with him forever? For His glory, for his name’s sake.  He is most glorified when he can take nothing and make it into everything.  He takes my not-enough and makes it more than enough.  In fact he delights in transforming and sanctifying me.  God is in the business of changing names.  He is changing my name from “Ice Queen Bitch” to “Sweet Sensitive Princess.”  He has named me, not for who I am, but for who I will become.  It is the loving Father who chooses to love me through my not-enough-ness.  So on the days I look like I’m enough, realize that it is the loving Father who has given me time and space and breath to be enough in that moment.

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