Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On Not Being Enough

"Why am I never enough?"

This is the question that was posed on a mothering forum recently. It's a question that I know I've struggled with many times myself.

The woman who posted it was just having "one of those days." I've been there. The baby won't nap. The toddler had an accident. Someone wants to read a story (but it must be sung to the tune of a "Frozen" song - but not that "Frozen" song), or she wants to unwind a roll of toilet paper and then run with it through the house while the baby is nursing. Or maybe dinner is burning, my husband had a bad day at work, I just realized I put my underwear on inside out, and suddenly it's 9 pm and I'm collapsing into bed to close my eyes as quickly as possible to put the day behind me (knowing that it will only be a few hours before I'm up again to feed the baby.)

So I read this question and felt the pangs of inadequacy that this other mom was experiencing. And quickly the comments filled up with encouragement - you are enough, tomorrow is a new day, etc. And let me first and foremost say this - I am so thankful for this online community that is supportive and encouraging. Everyone needs community like this, and I think it's wonderful to be a part of a group that seeks to actively lift others up in their troubled times. (So please, don't misread what I'm about to say as me thinking that all of this encouragement was wrong.)

However, when reflecting on my own feelings of "I'm not enough," I came to two realizations:

1) There are a lot of different roles to fulfill.  I am a mother of two littles, a wife, a daughter/daughter-in-law, a sister/sister-in-law, and friend. These relationships are all special to me and take different amounts of time and energy to balance. I am an entrepreneur, small business owner, baker. I am also a babysitter to two other little ones and a church volunteer. I am occasionally an athlete and a writer. And I am pretty much always a basketcase.

2) I will never be enough. Because in thinking about all of these roles (which I know don't seem like a lot compared to what some others do), I left out my most important one - the daughter of a King. And I am not meant to be enough, at least not on my own.

This realization wasn't discouraging; in fact, it was quite the opposite. In acknowledging that I will never be enough, all of the burden of expectation fell from my shoulders. Trying to be everything to everyone (or even just everything to two very little people) is seriously, seriously exhausting.

But I don't need to be perfect, because my Creator is perfect.

I don't need to be enough, because His grace is more than enough.

When I fight to do it all on my own, I fail.

When I submit to God's awesome power, I thrive. My family thrives. My relationships thrive.

When I admit my weakness and allow room for God to work in my life, my heart changes and my focus shifts.

Most importantly, I am reminded that I have a caring Father whose love is limitless and compassion is endless. And He is enough.

Even if my underwear is on inside out.