I am not enough

“I am enough.”

We see it all over.  Carved on decorative stones, and painted on banners, mirrors, and chalkboards.  There are images all over the internet of this mantra, scrawled in marker on hands, arms, and even across chests.  Its purpose is to encourage and inspire…to awe us into believing that we can do it, that we aren’t the losers that we think we are, and that we can stop beating ourselves up about not being enough.  To empower us to be the woman that we were born to be!

This started because we as women really struggle with feeling “_____ enough”.  Pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, organized enough, etc.  Fill-in-the-blank with your own greatest struggle in this area.

So women began fighting back and declaring, “I am enough!”

I wholeheartedly agree with the purpose behind this statement.

But.

All of that is so desperately lacking.

The truth is…

I am not enough.

You are not enough.

The truth is, none of us can ever be ENOUGH.  We were born terribly imperfect, to broken and imperfect parents, into a fallen world.  We try to trick ourselves into believing that we are okay…but we’re not.  We are NOT okay.  We are desperately broken.  We are needy.  We are jaded.  We are fickle.  We are untrustworthy.  We are, in a word, human.

No, we are not enough.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.

II Corinthians 3:5, NET

This is Paul writing.  He states plainly that he and Timothy (incredibly successful missionaries, spreading the Gospel all over the world, starting churches wherever they go…) are not enough.  He says, “We’re not enough…we are not competent or adequate…but it all comes from God.”  We are enough…in Jesus.

And that’s it!  We aren’t enough, but God is! And when we live IN Christ, we are enough because He is enough and He’s living through us!

At the end of the day, the best way to live is to completely die to ourselves and our desires.  Listen to my hero Apostle Paul declare this truth:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20, NKJV

If we are only enough when we are living through Christ, why not die to ourselves and let Him live through us?

To me, this is such a relief.  As a (recovering) perfectionist who never meets her own expectations, this sounds fabulous.  What a weight off my shoulders!  Since I never hit the mark, why not give up on that useless battle and let God take over?

Now.  Is dying to ourselves painful?  Yes, at first, but the more we kill our flesh, it becomes easier.  Paul said, “I die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31).  Ironically, that’s the only way to live.  To be dead to our imperfect selves and be alive in our perfect Savior.

I don’t pretend to understand this (DYING to LIVE??), but I know this to be true.  If you’re trying to figure this out, don’t even bother!  God’s wisdom is not human wisdom.  His ways don’t make sense to us.  He does this on purpose.  He is GOD, the Creator of the universe, the Great I AM… and we are mortal beings made of clay.  He thwarts our human reasoning so that we learn that we are in desperate need of Him.  Listen to what Paul says about the wisdom of the world:

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish?
I Corinthians 1:18-20, NKJV

Listen to what God says about Himself:

I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Isaiah 55:8-11, MSG

Why is it important to understand this concept of our ways versus God’s ways?

So we let go of trying to figure this all out, and just embrace its truth.

Letting go is the most glorious thing.  Letting go of ourselves (dying to ourselves) and embracing our imperfection in order to live in the Almighty Creator…it’s spectacular.  Amazing.  It’s like someone coming and lifting a huge boulder off of your shoulders that you didn’t realize you were even carrying.  When Paul said that he was crucified with Christ and that he was living in Christ, he said it with joy! It is a JOY to live in God.

I know this to be true because I’ve done it both ways.  I have tried striving.  I have tried in vain to BE ENOUGH.  To get it right!

And now, with the help of Jesus, I am abiding in Him.  Hanging out on the vine, allowing His Spirit to flow through me and live through me.

I like this much better.

Come to me in a few weeks, and I’m sure that I will have slipped up a couple of times….fallen back into striving simply out of habit…but I will not stay there!

I will continue to cling to the Vine, Jesus Christ, because,

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

-Jesus (John 15:5 NKJV)

I can’t do anything without Him!  Striving=failure/pain/distress/exhaustion/fruitlessness.  Abiding=joy/peace/rest/productivity/life.  There’s no contest!

My dear, dear sister…you are not enough.  I am not enough!  But that’s okay…because I know the One Who is.  I will choose to die to my imperfect self, lay my imperfections down at His feet, and live in Him.  What will YOU choose?

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

II Corinthians 12:9-10, NKJV

Instead of frantically trying to prove myself, and be strong, and try to be good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, witty enough, whatever…I am going to brag about my weakness and how miraculously, when I am weak, I am strong!  I am going to brag about my strong Jesus Who is always more than enough!  He always comes through, and He is never lacking.  His grace is sufficient to cover all of my weaknesses and imperfections.  I am going to “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

I’m going to let Him be strong, and just be me!

No, I am not enough…but I am in the arms of the One Who is!!

“Lord Jesus, help me to hide under Your shadow, and forget about trying to be ‘enough’.  Remind me that my sufficiency comes only from You, and that You make Your strength perfect in my weakness.  Instead of trying to be strong, teach me how to find rest in Your everlasting arms.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahfoudh/8183071307/”>yowalid</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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