Am I enough? Nope.
At least that’s how I often feel. And I have lived with this feeling of being “not enough” for most of my life.
As a kid, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I felt like I wasn’t cool enough, or athletic enough, or smart enough, or talented enough, or attractive enough, or outgoing enough, or popular enough, or whatever….
Growing older, that feeling of not being enough continued. My university wasn’t impressive enough (Yes, Slippery Rock University is a real school! And it’s actually a great school!). My degree wasn’t practical enough (What do you do with a B.A. in Communication?).
When I started working, my salary wasn’t enough. The church I led wasn’t big enough. The worship style wasn’t contemporary enough. The church building wasn’t impressive enough. The budget wasn’t big enough.
Self-love and Self-loathing
And, yet, my ego ruled everything I did. It was a mix of self-love and self-loathing. When I started at my last church, I thought I’d be the guy to save that church. At the same time, I constantly felt insufficient to the challenge of saving my church.
You can hear the problem in what I just said, can’t you?
There’s a problem with thinking in terms of saving my church. Saving my church isn’t my job. That’s God’s job. That’s Jesus’ job.
My job is simply to stay faithful to Jesus.
My Broken Ego
That I’m simply called to faithfulness was the hard and wonderful lesson I learned through a dark night of the soul. When I was falsely accused of some really terrible things at a former church, it broke my ego. And when I got voted out of that church, it broke my ego even more.
I realized that I had been putting my hope and my faith in something that would always fail—myself. I had absolutely no power over what was happening to me (the false accusations, the rumors, etc.). So I learned, instead, to put my hope and my faith in God. In Jesus. And to trust in the love of God. And the love of Jesus.
What I learned was that there was only one thing that would never fail. Not me. Not my leadership. Not my expertise.
God’s love is the one thing that will never fail.
So, Am I Enough?
What I have learned is that I am enough. I don’t have to prove myself. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. I can be me, and that’s enough. I can be imperfect, and that’s enough. I can be broken, and that’s enough. I can fail, and that’s enough. I can lose, and that’s enough.
Called to Grow
Now here’s the paradox. As I discover that I am enough, I find myself drawn to become more. To grow. To expand.
But it’s not out of a sense of incompleteness or deficiency. It’s because I am called to become more fully myself. I want to be more fully the Markus I was created to be. I want to live more fully the vocation I was created to live. I want to more fully be the blessing to the world that I was meant to be.
Becoming more, then, is no longer driven by the need to be enough. Becoming more is now simply the next step in the living of my life.
And guess what? If I never become “more,” no big deal. Because it’s not about the achievement. It’s about the faithfulness. God doesn’t call me to achieve. God calls me to be faithful.
You Are Enough
I hope you believe this about yourself. I hope you believe that you are enough. That you don’t have to prove yourself. And that you are simply called to become more fully the you God created you to be.
Grace and peace to you.
If you’d like to dig deeper into this–that you are enough, that you are God’s beloved–here are a few resources I’d encourage you to check out:
- Life of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen
- Abba’s Child, by Brennan Manning
- Surrender to Love, by David Benner
- Episode 38 of Spiritual Life and Leadership, “You Are God’s Beloved.”
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