I’ve said it before: With God, you are enough.
But maybe that’s not true. At least, not in the way I used to think about it.
I’ve had a few experiences of late where I have, for lack of better words, not been enough.
Someone invited me to participate in something, and I did. But it didn’t yield the results they were hoping for. I didn’t meet their expectations. I wasn’t enough.
It’s been a rough parenting few weeks and one nigh recently I found myself in tears because, once again, I don’t know how to help my child. I don’t know the answers. And the answers I offer aren’t received well. I am not enough.
I have a strong understanding of and firm belief in certain spiritual truths, such as casting out fear with faith and not allowing external validation or criticism to sway my feelings about myself and the world around me, yet I sway. I am not strong enough to stand in complete confident serenity. I am not enough.
Like Paul, I know that with God all things are possible.
But I am still not enough.
I used to think (as early as this afternoon) that God could make me enough. That He could take all weaknesses and make them strengths. That with His help I could be exactly what my children need them to be, what the world needs to me be. . . what He needs me to be. That with Him, I could somehow be enough.
But I don’t believe that anymore.
This is not a siren sounding from the depths of a depressive epiphany. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
You see, I had clung to the fact that with God I could be enough for everything and everyone in my life. I wasn’t okay not being enough on my own, but I accepted it because I know that with Him I could be enough. I could be the mother my kids need me to be. I could be the speaker and writer publishers and readers need me to be. I could be (insert calling or label here) that others need me to be.
But that night, as my daughter walked out of the room taking my heart with her, I realized I wasn’t enough for her. The following thought was that with God I could be so I need to pray to be more.
Then a new reached into my mind like sunlight peeking through newly ripped blinds.
I am not enough for her. I nor will God make me enough. Because she needs more than just me. She needs Him.
I let that sink in, then began down that mental road.
I am not supposed to be enough for her.
I don’t know all the answers, and though God can and has blessed me with inspiration regarding my children, He won’t give me all the answers each of my children needs, because I am not the only source He wants them to turn to. If I were enough for my daughter, for instance, would she need Him? Would she seek Him? Would she need others in her life?
I have put so much pressure on myself to be enough—which, translated in woman-speak means everything—that I haven’t left space in my mind for the idea that I’m not supposed to be enough.
I can’t be enough
I will fail people.
I will make mistakes.
I will not know all the answers.
I will not connect with every viewer or reader.
I will have weaknesses and faults as long as I live.
I will disappoint people.
I will not be perfect at everything.
I will not be everything everyone needs—or even everything one person needs.
I will fall short.
I will not be enough.
And God, as good and capable as He is, won’t make me.
He won’t make me able to never fail people.
He won’t make me mistake-free.
He won’t make every viewer or reader love me.
He won’t take away my weaknesses and faults completely.
He won’t magically turn me into someone who won’t disappoint anyone.
He won’t make me everything everyone needs—or even everything one person needs.
He won’t make me succeed every time.
He won’t make me enough, even if He could.
Because it’s not about me.
The moment I try to be enough for others—meaning, to meet all their needs and make them happy, I do a few things. I take away some of their personal responsibility to think and do for themselves. I take away their privilege to grow through struggle. I also leave little room for others to meet their needs as well.
I am not supposed to be enough for them because God has put other people in their lives to help them, support them, and love them too. People who think differently than me, who can reach others in a way that I can’t. Even my own children.
As my daughter and I shared tears that night, I realized I wasn’t enough for her. I wasn’t enough to give her all the answers or to take her pain away. I wasn’t enough to respond to her in the perfect way. I wasn’t enough. And I’m not going to be enough because being enough for her isn’t my job. It isn’t the way God has set things up. She needs Him. She needs others. She needs me. She needs herself.
It’s not that with God I am enough, in the context of Him making me enough. But rather, when I stand with God, I am part of enough. When I stand with others who can help my children, we are part of enough. And when I help my children stand for themselves, they become part of enough.
I am not supposed to be enough. I am supposed to be a part of enough. My part of enough, then, is to love and serve and teach the best I can.
I won’t be enough in my speaking and writing, simply put, because there are some people who simply don’t connect with me. I don’t resonate with them. Some even don’t like me very much. God isn’t going to make me enough for them because it’s not about me. They don’t like me. And I have to be okay with that. My part of enough, then, is to do my part—to speak and write the good things I love the best I can.
I won’t be enough for those in my larger circles of friends and acquaintances. I’m not meant to me. I’m not the friend you see in the movies that says the perfect things in three lines and all the world is better. I can’t be what everybody needs. I am not enough. My part of enough is to be a good person and try to improve a little every day, to love and be loved, to get up after I fall, and to be real.
I used to think I could be enough with His help, meaning, He would make up for my mistakes and faults and fill in the holes I’d left—like holy armor or a divine clean-up crew—so my efforts would, then, be enough.
But now I see it as me standing next to Him. I fall short and He smiles lovingly at my effort. Then He goes to work through the Spirit, through divine choreography, through others, to help meet the needs and righteous wants of those I love. I am a part of His plan. Not the whole plan. He is not the backup plan for when I fail. He is the coordinator of the plan I am a part of.
I am part of enough. He knows the whole enough.
In this new light, I am no longer afraid of not being enough for my children or anyone. There is no failure in not meeting everyone’s needs because that’s not God’s expectation. That’s not my job. I can trust that God knows my children and His children well enough that He has plans to give them all they need—to give them enough—if they let Him. (Because in all of this, others still have their agency and can choose to reject all their enoughs if they want to.)
With God, I am still not enough. But, with God, I am part of enough. I am a part of their enough, and I am a part of your enough. My part is different sizes in the lives of those around me, but it’s still just a part.
My mind turns to the people in my life, how they fill their parts of my enough. And I love them. I love the different colors and beats they bring into my life. I love that my needs are met through many of them—some needs I didn’t even know I had. Some play bigger parts in my enough—like my husband, children my parents, and close friends. Some play smaller, but vital parts of my enough—like the friend who sends what they think is a random message but actually the answer to a prayer I’d whispered that morning. Like a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes swirling together, I can see God bringing people into my life that all play parts in my enough.
And I can see, now, that I am just a part of theirs.
I don’t have to enough for everyone. Even my kids. I just have try to do my part of enough well. And that is something, I think, God will help me make possible.
So, now, I have a new motto. Rather than, “I am not enough” I am going to say “I am part of enough”. In fact, I’m going to cross-stitch it on a pillow. That’s how much I like it.
I am part of enough. And that's enough.
I am part of enough. And that's enough.