Are you “enough”?
I’m a member of an online community calls “Gentle Christian Mothers.” It is a wonderful place for me to be: I get to know women with the same parenting and lifestyles as mine. I get to share what I’m learning and I can get responses. (www.gentlechristianmothers.com is the main site.) It’s the place that got me started blogging and has led me on the path of becoming a therapist.
I think of the place as gracious and welcoming. Of course sometimes folks get a little rowdy, tackling intense issues like seemingly contradictions in the Bible, but mostly, we all get along. Which is why it upsets me when a mama posts that she wants to leave. It’s not so much that they are leaving – if the need to or want to I understand – but usually the reasons upset me. It’s the “enough” about it that bothers me. They leave because they think they aren’t “enough”. Not “enough” of a Christian, not “enough” of a “Grace Based Disciplinarian” , not crunchy “enough”, not whatever “enough.” Or they feel like a fraud because they are not “GCM enough”.
What causes all these “enoughs”? Where else do they exist? Are they a part of all aspects of our lives, or just parenting clubs?
One thing that smacks me on the “you’re not enough” bum is depression. When I’m depressed all of the world revolves around me. Everyone is superior to me in every way and any mistake or error or malfunction in my live means that there is something essentially missing in me because I am such a loser. It’s why everyone is wearing white tennis shoes and I’m wearing sandals. It’s why my blow up pool has a leak. It’s why she doesn’t return my calls. If only I were pretty. If only I weren’t so smart. If only I had more money, that would make life better. If only I had enough.
For some reason my thoughts are drawn to my friend, S. A six foot five, great big Asian man, he and I were close friends. We were walking down the street and I pointed to my church. He said, “I’m sure the place would burn down if I stepped through the door.” Not good “enough”.
Here is the great thing about all of those “enoughs”: They’re not true. I don’t know where we get off talking about the God of grace when we don’t extend it to others. But that’s not the issue here.
The issue is whether we can be “enough.” The answer? We don’t need to be. We are welcomed in to God’s family and His kingdom. Jesus did enough when he flung the gates of heaven open. At His time, it was believed that only a small, devout sect of Jews thought that was where they were going to go. The Bible teachers that God loves the world. Not just the Jews, and not just the Christians. His love extends over any and all of His gorgeous creation on earth.
I have friends who minister to people with disabilities in Taiwan. God so loved that world.
I have an optometrist friend who worked on an Indian reservation, among some of the most hopeless feeling people in the United States. God so loved that world.
I have been on a psychiatric floor where a woman swore demons were taunting her from the foot of her bed. Another woman ate her cigarette ashes and another (at a different hospital) was petting her earth worms. God so loved that world.
These friends and ministers are God’s hands. They work to be gracious and loving. Their touch heals. They are sacrificing more prestigious work to go where Jesus might go and be where Jesus might be.
I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish I could have told S about grace. It didn’t matter where he had been, or what he had done. There were open hearts for him, ready to welcome him and not condemn him. I wanted to have such a heart. But as I remember, I didn’t know “enough.”