I’m not enough.
At least that’s how I can feel sometimes.
And with that feeling comes another assumption that I think is shared by a lot of people.
If I’m not enough then I must be nothing.
If I feel incomplete then I need to try and be everything.
I think we compensate by telling people, with the utmost of good intentions, “You’re enough.”
And we mean well by it. And in some cases it’s partially true. But I also think it falls short.
Awhile back I gave a talk titled “I feel inadequate”.
What was funny is after the talk someone came up to me and said “Oh, don’t worry, you’re adequate”. In an attempt, I think, to encourage me.
The whole point of my talk and this post is something I’m learning is easy to say or type but harder to live.
I’m inadequate. And that’s okay.
See I think that’s what we are trying to tell people when we say “You’re enough”. What we’re trying to say is:
It’s okay if you feel broken, if you feel like not enough, if you feel inadequate, if you feel like you’re failing in any given area.
But I’m not enough.
And I’m not adequate.
And that’s okay.
It doesn’t make me nothing.
It doesn’t make the things that I’m good at, and the skills I have, and the successes I’ve seen, nothing. See I think part of the problem in our culture is this idea of complete self-reliance. That we don’t need anyone else. That anyone can be anything and everything they want to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to advocate for personal responsibility. But the fact of the matter is, sometimes, I’m not enough.
Put very simply, we need each other. We need other people. You need good, faithful, loyal people to be on your side when you’re right and even when you’re in the wrong. Someone to get your back and someone who you defend.
That might be a spouse, it might be a family member, it might be a friend.
But you need other people.
And the truth is, I believe, even then, you’re not enough with those people.
But that’s okay.
See if ever there was a guy in the world of ministry or the church that could say he did or was or accomplished, enough, it’d be Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament, started dozens of churches, and led countless to Christ personally and through his writings, and he said this:
But he said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I am happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me (2 Cor 12:9)
You catch that?
“My power is strongest when you are weak.”
It’s okay to have weaknesses and failings and inadequacies, and deficits. If you’re a Christian you are not called to be enough. He doesn’t need you to be.
Because He is enough.
So stop telling people they’re enough because eventually they discover they’re not. And when the expectation is that you should be, or need to be, or need to act like it, it sets people up for failure. Instead what if we told people.
“I’m here for you.”
“I’ve failed too.”
“You don’t need to have everything together.”
“Let me pray for you.”
The truth is when I hear, “You’re enough” or “You’re adequate” I’m disappointed because I don’t feel I am. And if I don’t feel like I am, when apparently I should be, I don’t feel okay.
The truth is no matter what weaknesses, ugliness, failings, or sin I feel weighed down by, I’m still okay. I’m still accepted. So the fact that I don’t have to be “enough” is honestly, liberating. I don’t feel crushed under the weight of expectations. I feel lifted up in grace. Paul wrote something about that too.
God has shown his love for us. While were still sinners, Christ died for us. The blood of Christ has made us right with God (Rom 5:8-9)
That doesn’t mean I can’t grow. It doesn’t mean Christ won’t continue his work until it is finally finished (Phil 1:6).
It simply means that I don’t have to feel complete right now.
Because, I need others. You need others. They need others.
I need you. You need me. We need them.
And above all, we all need Jesus.
Because I’m not enough.
And that’s okay.