But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment – when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ – I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (TPT).
This message is for all of us.
It is a message for the woman who feels like no matter what she does, it’s never enough. Like the expectations are never ending. It’s for the woman who feels like she is failing as a mum. It’s for the girl walking through picking up the remains after a broken relationship. It’s for the woman who is full of regrets because she feels like she could have done this, and she should have done that. It’s for the girl who feels like she’s drowning, overwhelmed by everything that surrounds her. It’s for the woman standing in front of what looks like an impossible mountain. It’s for the one who feels suffocated by grief and loss. And it’s for the woman who feels inadequate, insufficient and overwhelmed.
This is a message for me too.
I don’t know why but for much of my younger years I always felt very inadequate. I was shy and I lived as though I was forgettable. I lived in the shadow of many of my larger than life friends, riding on the coat-tails of their confidence. I dreaded social situations because I felt awkward meeting new people. I thought I didn’t have anything interesting to say and that they would forget who I was the moment they turned away. The truth is, I would often pretend that I was meeting someone for the first time because I had a core belief that they wouldn’t remember me from our original encounter – so to save us both the embarrassment I would pretend I had never met them and introduce myself for “first” time – but really I knew it was the second or third time. I don’t think I ever felt enough.
And then we moved to Whangarei. I was 27 years old leaving the only environment that I had known to a place where literally no one did know me and I really was meeting everyone for the first time. In this season, I realised I had an opportunity to let God bring out in me who I really was.
This word enough became God’s echoing song in my heart.
Heres what I have had to come to understand:
1. God is enough.
Steve and I had been married for about 3 years when he had to travel to Hawaii to a best friend’s wedding. We couldn’t afford for us both to go so I stayed at home. It was the first time since I met him that we would be in different countries. We worked together so we were with each other 24/7. This felt like a big moment for me; a young wife, husband leaving her for the first time. For some reason, when he left, fear began to grip me. I became incredibly anxious that something awful would happen to him while he was away and the question ringing in my mind was: what if he never came back? I knew that my thinking was fear based, not fact based. It was emotionally driven, not faith driven. I knew my thoughts were completely irrational. But they still felt very real.
Our thinking can be like that cant it? It can seem completely irrational and yet at the same time, completely real.
This was the first moment God gave me this scripture. “My grace is enough”.
I began to learn over the next few weeks that God is enough. He is all that I need. So as hard as it was to think about, I actually came to a place of peace where I realised that if the worst really did happen, whether it was now or in 20 years, or 50 years – that I would be ok – because as long as I have God, I had all that I need. Because He is more than enough.
Let me ask you this: Have you allowed him to give you the peace that says, even in the most difficult of circumstances, I am going to be ok?
It’s an unexplainable peace, it’s a peace that can’t be put into words or given logic.
Jeremiah 23:6 tells us that because of Christ’s righteousness, because he is perfect, holy, and righteous – because he is enough; we can dwell securely.
Regardless of your situation. Regardless of what your emotions are trying to tell you. Regardless of what your head says. Regardless of what others say.
You can dwell securely because he is all that you need.
2. I am enough.
My youngest son Rocky is really loving his costumes at the moment. He loves to dress up. He will set out a costume the night before and have it ready for first thing in the morning. He has even started wanting to wear costumes to church every Sunday. Rocky will dress up like Where’s Wally, Peter Pan, Spider Man – anything but himself.
I wonder how many of us are grown up versions of Rocky? We may have grown out of the costumes phase but we still wish we could go somewhere in disguise, put a mask on, and cover the real us. Because the real you just doesn’t feel like it’s ever enough. It’s not exciting enough, talented enough, gifted enough, loud enough, quiet enough, funny enough, intelligent enough, witty enough, smart enough, tall enough, short enough, pretty enough.
In fact, if you look back to Genesis we have been doing it since the very beginning of time. Sin came into the world and all of a sudden shame became our prison and we hid.
shame: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Shame will tell you that you are not good enough. Shame will remind you of your shortcoming, your guilt, your inadequacy and your failing. Shame will keep you hiding who you really are, because who you really are doesn’t feel like its enough.
But let these words wash over you for just a moment:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139: 13 – 18 (NIV)
You don’t have to do anything to be enough. You don’t have to achieve anything to be enough. You don’t have to work to be enough. JUST BEING – IS ENOUGH.
3. His grace is enough.
There is nothing like a school bake sale to make you feel inadequate right? I am not a baker. I do not bake things. I don’t enjoy it and I am not good at it. So you can just imagine what happens in my head when they announce a bake sale at school? Do you know what I do? I go to the supermarket or a cafe and I buy the most homemade looking item I can find and I put it in a Tupperware container (ice-cream container for ultimate authenticity) and I pretend that I baked it. Yes, I do. Don’t judge me.
But the bake sale is quickly followed by the Book Character Dress Up day!!! I send my child in a sack with a tea towel on his head only to find these other kids turn up and their mothers have made them elaborate and amazing life like and life size costumes. Like, don’t they have anything better to do with their lives than to try and show up all the parents who don’t have the time or creativity to keep up?!
There are many times in moments like that where I stand there and think “What am I even doing here”? I am the wrong person for the job!!!!
Ever felt like that with your whole life? Like everyone else makes it look so easy and here you are feeling completely inadequate for the job, role or place that you are.
Can I tell you that He has given you everything that you need to do all that he is asking you to do.
It is a grace and He gives it to you for the purpose and the season that you need it.
So you don’t have to question if you have what it takes to be a mum – because He has graced you for it, and His grace is enough.
And you don’t have to fear that you are going to let others down – because He has graced you for it, and His grace is enough.
And you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to get it right – because He has graced you for it, and His grace is enough.
So, go out there and live like you believe it!