“I am not enough.”
I think that I repeat that phrase in my mind one hundred times a day. I’m just not enough. I can’t seem to spread my efforts thin enough to cover the house work, Etsy orders, church duties, cooking, the kids’ school miscellany, my fitness goals, AND spiritual growth. I can’t do it all. I try to achieve a sense of excellence in all of these different areas of my life, but when I manage to get it all together I can never maintain it for very long. Nowhere is this more evident than in our finances. I’m going to share something with all of you that is NOWHERE NEAR a secret: I am not the best money manager. I try. I really do! Maybe the reason I can never seem to get control of our finances is because I struggle with that love of money that lies at the root of all evil. I will work myself to death to make a buck extra. I want to make it and keep it so I can dream about what I’ll do with it. Seriously. To be clear, I don’t want to be rich. I mean, it would be nice. No, what I want is enough to be in control. We church folk call that enough to be “comfortable.” We convince ourselves that such a modest goal couldn’t possibly contradict our pursuit of holiness. I’m here to say that–for me at least–the fight for comfortable financial control is a direct obstacle to my pursuit of holiness. So, when God wants to get my attention in the day to day, He attacks my money. When the numbers aren’t adding up, I get anxious and grouchy. Seriously.
Let’s be honest, though. It isn’t really about the money. The fact is that I want what I want when I want it. I want it on my terms, earned with the amount of effort that I deem appropriate, and I want it in all areas of life. Anything less than excellence in myself is unacceptable. Money is simply the linchpin that brings all of my best laid plans crashing into reality. I am human. I am weak. I am powerless. I am not enough. This is what keeps me up at night wondering how I can possibly spread our money and myself a little thinner. That’s the real me. Under the laughing and the joking and the creativity, beneath the smiles and the friendship and the charity, there is a grasping, clawing, judging, insecure, frightened, out of control daughter of Eve. And she’s got claws.
Thank God for grace! You see, if I could fully wrap my head and my heart around the reality of that statement, that I am not enough, it would free me rather than define me. God doesn’t need or want me to be enough. I am learning this lesson every month as I struggle to help us repair our finances. God leveled us about three years ago to get our attention so that He could lead us back into full time ministry. Now, here we are, nearing our forties with two precious kids, but we’ve got the finances of a couple of twenty-year-olds just starting out. While our peers are established and building forever homes, we’re paying off school loans and low level credit cards. We’re learning to live within a budget and we’ve come late to the game. I could fix it all so easily by going back to work full time, but I know that’s not what God wants. (It’s not like I was able to solve all of our problems in the last ten years of full time teaching–but somehow I still convince myself that I can fix our problems with a workaholic attitude.) I try to “help” with Etsy sales, but the little fish always come to eat away at my little earnings. At the end of each month we have just enough. No more. No less. I have never been so frustrated to have enough. It makes me laugh to write it down, but it’s true. I’m not happy with enough! That is what God has provided for me and my family: enough. The terms of enough are not mine to set, but His, and His alone. Enough can mean regular monthly expenses, or it can include something unexpected. That extra that we need can come in early or at the last minute. However it happens, the message is clear: it’s God’s business to worry about what is and isn’t enough, not mine, especially when the “enough” is something I’m searching for within myself. If I consider myself to be enough, what need would I have of a loving God? No, friend, God is kind enough to lead us to discover our need for Him so that we can lay our burdens down. He wants to give us peace and rest.
I am not enough. You are not enough. We are not enough. This is a deep truth that every woman needs to accept. It’s time to stop trying to reach it. You, like me, are a daughter of Eve. Within your heart there is a deep sadness over the loss of paradise and a heavy burden of sin. The enemy of your soul will tell you that it is still possible for you to have it all, to be god of your own life. He will tell you that if you’ll just work harder, reach farther, stretch thinner you can recreate Eden according to your own design, and your husband and children can live there safe and protected by your perfection. The reality is that Eden is lost within our eveUYn trying to create it. Peace and paradise are a gift from our creator. The cost of reclaiming them can only be paid by Him. It can only be received as a free gift when we place our trust in Jesus Christ. Anything else is counterfeit. True freedom lies in acceptance and release. Accept that you’re a sinner and release your inadequacies to the God who is able to do more than we could ever hope or imagine. Whether you’re doing this for the first time, putting your faith in Christ and becoming a believer, or of your doing this for the hundredth time, surrendering each day’s efforts into God’s hands, accepting this truth will set you free.
Eden lies within our hearts where we’ve invited the Lord Jesus to walk and talk with us daily. Paradise is the hope we have for eternal peace after this life. Our family is protected when we live in obedience to God, spending our efforts on His kingdom, carefully considering where to apply ourselves and when to be still. We must not run into battle where the Lord would have us wait. Some battles belong only to the Lord and we need to be on our knees rather than on the battlefield. He doesn’t need us to be warriors–not in the temporal sense. He doesn’t need us to be beasts of burden either. What He desires from all of us “Marthas” is a heart like Mary had. We don’t have to be enough. We’re not even supposed to be enough. God is enough. We need only to revel in that freedom and be still.
Be blessed, friends.
Update: A template for this full page “Just Breathe” layout is available in my Etsy shop, ShopSB, along with two similar full page layouts! It is a beautiful set! Please check it out here.