Comfort in Not Enough

Published April 15, 2013 by joypatton

I have many times experienced the feeling of not being good enough.  I hate it.  It’s what drives me to be perfect, to work harder, go faster, be more so that I will be enough.  Most days I don’t feel like I’m enough for all my kids.  On a recent field trip, I was listening to some moms talk about their kids and their homework.  I quickly realized I have no idea what my kids are doing in school. I have no idea what day my fourth grader has his spelling tests.  I usually don’t even help him study or remind him.  Obviously I’m not doing enough in this area.

Last week my husband almost ran out of clean clothes.  I’m not doing enough laundry during the week, so I spent the whole weekend plowing through mountains of clothes so he could have enough for his trip this morning.  I hate feeling like I’m not keeping up my end of the bargain.

This morning I was reading John 14:8 and realized that Jesus himself was “not enough” for the disciples.  At the Last Supper, Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.”  Basically Philip was saying that all the miracles he had seen Jesus do and all the words Jesus had said were not enough for him to believe.  One of the Twelve disciples whom Jesus had loved and cared for and taught gets to the end of the journey and tells him it wasn’t enough.  What??

The comfort for me is that Jesus knew what it felt like to be “not enough.”  He knew what it felt like to be rejected and misunderstood, even by his closest friends.  So the days when I feel like a failure, when I feel rejected and misunderstood, He knows that feeling too.  It reminds me of Hebrews 3:15.  “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

It’s all nice and righteous of me to identify with Jesus in this situation.  But the truth is that when I look into my heart, I see that I too have been like Philip.  I have told Jesus that he’s not enough for me.  In spite of all his works in my life, his great provision, his Word, I have told him it’s not good enough.  That if he really loved me he would make things easier or better or just peaceful.  I have dared him to perform miracles so that I would believe him again.

And yet I find comfort here too.  Jesus did not reject Philip and cast him out of his presence.  He goes back and re-teaches the disciples all the things he has already taught and said.  O the patience of our loving Lord!  O that I would have the same patience with others who tell me I’m not enough!  O that I would be patient with myself and give myself the grace he gives to me in my failures!

Lord, forgive me for saying that You are not enough for me.  May I have eyes to see your hand and ears to hear your voice so that I might remember that You are enough for me.  May my moments of not being enough drive me to confession and not to perfection.  May I lavish others with the grace you have lavished on me.  

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