I read this quote recently and thought it was so true:
"For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is "I didn't get enough sleep." The next one is "I don't have enough time." Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don't have enough of...Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we're already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn't get, or didn't get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack...This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life..." (Lynn Twist, The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life)
I'm sure most of us can relate! This "scarcity" problem we're faced with daily is a "never enough" problem, and it just doesn't apply to time and sleep and tasks. We can have this scarcity mentality about ourselves:
I'm never...good enough, successful enough, perfect enough, smart enough, thin enough, certain enough, strong enough, or safe enough.
Brené Brown, a social worker and leading researcher on shame and vulnerability, has observed twelve areas in our lives where we can feel "never enough."
Can you guess which are the top two areas for women?
Motherhood (by the way, you don't have to be a "mother" to not feel good enough here – it could be the pressure we feel to get pregnant from others, or the pressure to get married, or even the pressure to have a boyfriend!)
I'm sure we can all recall stories of never being (fill in the blank) enough from childhood. We also bring these feelings of "never enough" to our relationship with God, too. Spiritual enough, sharing my faith enough, pure enough, doing enough, faithful enough, humble enough, praying enough, good enough, and the list goes on!
When I was single, I struggled with feeling like I will never be pure enough. I struggled for many years as a Christian with a pornography/impurity addiction and never believed that I could truly overcome (thank God that through Bible study, prayer and accountability, he enabled me to repent and it's been almost 10 years since I gave into impurity!).
Presently, as a newly married woman who recently started leading a small mission team, I can struggle with: "Am I spiritual/humble enough to help lead a church? Will I disqualify myself from ministry because I'm too prideful/not trainable? Am I doing enough for the ministry? Do the people I lead think I'm doing enough?!" Often, I can beat myself up because I'm afraid of what others will think, even if nothing is said.
When these areas are triggered for us, we can get attacked by Satan with lies that make us feel ashamed. We need to fight these lies with the truth, so that brings us to ask the question:
What does the Bible say about this dilemma?
The answer: YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Let's look at 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Paul helps us to have a mind change about our inadequacies – whatever area you feel that you are never enough in. He reminds us that God's grace makes us enough, that his love and mercy make up for all of our flaws and weaknesses! His power is most evident when we're weak and helpless – we can only access God's power to help us overcome our inadequecies. Paul 'boasts' or vulnerably shares about his weaknesses to connect with God's power and really let God show off through him. True strength is not how much Bible you know, how many people you help become Christians, or how many church events you attend, but really by being vulnerable and bold about your flaws!
This is completely opposite to what we are trained to think in this world!
I think many of us really struggle with the idea of grace. What is it? How do I give it to people? How do I give it to myself? Do I deserve it?
Paul understood grace better than anyone. He talks about it so often throughout his letters.
In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul writes "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."
I think we forget that Paul was a murderer. He not only killed people, but he killed Christians. Not an easy past to live with, but we never get the sense that Paul felt unworthy of receiving God's forgiveness. His gratitude for God's grace made him work hard for the Lord. It's not the other way around...he didn't work hard to receive grace, but because of grace, he worked harder out of his thankfulness. Paul was aware of his past, but not held down and condemned by it. He doesn't seem to have a conflicted conscience in accepting God's grace, and neither should we.
In our pride or misunderstanding of grace, we often refuse to accept grace. This no doubt breaks God's heart, who wants to lavish grace upon grace on us. He wants to show us how endless his love and grace is for us!
What are the areas of scarcity in my life that I need to surrender to Jesus?
DECIDE TODAY to believe God's promise that I AM ENOUGH!
I wrote 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 in my own words. I hope this inspires you and encourages you to make this personal, as only God's grace can be!
"I asked God three times to take away my flaws, my weaknesses, the parts about myself that I hate. But he said to me, 'My grace makes you good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, 'spiritual' enough; whatever area you may be lacking in, I will supply it. In fact, I can only complete you when you admit how much you need me!' As a result, I will readily share about the imperfections, flaws, and parts about myself that I despise – not to draw attention to myself but to God, and all the work that he's doing in me to change me! So even though it's counter-intuitive, it is completely OPPOSITE to what the world has taught me, I will invite Jesus into my pain, my struggles, and my failures. For truly, when I am in touch with my weaknesses, allowing God's power to change me from the inside out, I am STRONG – no longer weighed down by Satan's lies, his minions of guilt and shame, and I can be confident in God's GRACE, setting me FREE and making me ENOUGH!"