I'm Not Enough - And That Is Good

by - April 10, 2019

Rarely does a week go by where I don't see some form of this popular self-affirming mantra: "I'm enough". "You're enough". It sounds nice, doesn't it? Seems harmlessly positive and uplifting. Yet the ideology behind it is worldly, flawed, and ultimately crushing.

I'm a word nerd. Grammar, etymology, semantics- you name it. Which means I do not like to use language casually or being aloof to the true meaning of the words I say and use. So when I stopped to think about this nice-sounding phrase, I quickly broke down what it really means to say "I'm enough".

What Does It Really Mean to be "Enough"?

What does "enough" mean? Here is the definition in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. A synonym would be "sufficient".

So it begs the question, in what way am I enough? It seems to be all-encompassing to whatever quality you want to insert: strong, beautiful, good. And it has become so saturated into the culture, I even see it in Christian circles. "You are wonderfully and fearfully made. You are enough!"

So why do we say it? Probably because as humans we know what it feels like to reach the end of our rope. To run out of steam, to feel like a failure, to feel like we don't have what it takes to accomplish our tasks, goals or dreams. In response to this very common human feeling, we say this phrase: I'm enough.

But, is it true? Are we enough?

Why "Being Enough" is a Destructive Lie

Doesn't it seem counter-logical? If we are enough, why do we reach the end of our rope? Why do we run out of juice? Why do we fail to reach our goals? Or forget a load in the wash for two days?

We are simply not being honest with our humanity if we claim we can be enough. Here are four ways in which the "being enough" ideal is actually more harmful than you think:

1. It feeds into a foolish sense of self-confidence
We all know these people, who live off self-confidence and self-esteem boosters. It's like a high, but when reality hits, they either burn and crash or to separate even further from reality.

2. It burdens you with the idea of perfection
To be "enough" is to be able to meet the needs of your job/kids/spouse/business with satisfaction. But that is asking for perfection, which is not possible. This will cause too much anxiety, stress and even depression.

3. It makes you comfortable with mediocrity
It can actually make you go in the opposite direction, where you drop your standards and become comfortable with less than your best. Because trying to be "enough" to a higher standard is exhausting and ultimately unattainable. (Col 3:23)

4. It sends you on the pursuit of the temporal
The idea of 'enough'-ness brings in an ideology that says we can somehow attain full satisfaction and it should be pursued. This is how addictions, obsessions and even disorders are formed, because our body, mind and even spirit is so desperate to be satisfied but nothing in this finite and decaying world can do that for us.

5. It is an anti-Christ statement
Pride. That's at the root of this lie. To say to ourselves that we are enough, we are saying that we don't need God. No true believer can hold this view, because it goes in complete opposition to the gospel. God takes this very seriously.

Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man

    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

He is like a shrub in the desert,
    and shall not see any good come. - Jeremiah 17:5 & 6

Why is it Important to Embrace Our 'Not Enough-ness"?

Rather than going around saying we are utterly perfect, wonderful ' enough' people , we are to be humble and embrace the fact that we are weak and in great need of God. It is said that God resists the proud, but "blessed are those poor in spirit" because God is the great deliverer and redeemer. 

We can never boast "I did it!" because only God should be glorified and praised, and given due credit for any and every situation in life. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Why I Don't Have to Be Enough - What the Bible Says

We are not called to be 'enough', because we have a good, powerful and perfect God who we can turn to for EVERYTHING. Whether for peace, patience, kindness, grace, righteousness - you name it - we can never muster 'enough' in ourselves to be satisfying in any circumstance. We must rely on our Heavenly Father.
"I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my strong protector; he is my shelter. Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge." - Psalm 62:5-8

Here are just 7 ways in which we are not 'enough', but GOD is:

1. Good Enough: We can never be 'good enough' to earn salvation - but God provided the payment through the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life without sin and so earned righteousness for us. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

2. Strong Enough: We can never be 'strong enough' to fight our own battles - but God is Mighty and the most powerful being who brought everything we know into creation. He is our Deliverer, our comforter and Jesus himself asks us to throw our burdens on Him. (Romans 8:31)

3. Wise Enough: We can never be 'wise enough' to fully understand why things happen - but God is all knowing and asks us to trust Him. (James 1:5)

4. Sufficient Enough:  There are many verses that express God's sufficiency, here is one from 2 Corinthians 9:8: "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."

5. Patient Enough: The Lord is ever so patient with us, and this quality of God is ever so beautifully illustrated in the Old Testament as God works with the Israelite, who continually wander, disobey and forget the Lord's commandments. (Exodus 14:14)

6: Resourceful Enough: We are called to not worry about what we will eat or wear tomorrow, because the Lord will always meet our absolute needs. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing."
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus"- Philippians 4:19

7. Able Enough : Whatever we lack in skill, opportunity, and general ability, God is able to give us what we need to do any good work he has purposed for us. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

When I'm not enough as a mother...it's ok.

When I'm not enough as a wife...it's ok.

When I'm not enough...it's ok.

Because God is MORE than enough. So rather than turning to myself and inner flawed person, I can turn to my Maker and Lord for absolutely everything.

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