You Are Enough?

How often do you see the phrase, “You are Enough,” plastered all over Pinterest and in places like Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx. I struggle with that sentence. It always seemed incomplete to me. You are enough for what? For God? Absolutely. For your spouse? Maybe. To accomplish your dreams? I have to say no here. No, you aren’t enough. If you were enough then you would have accomplished it already right? I mean, I know that you have given it some serious focus tries and still, you have come up short. So if we are “enough,” then why are we still struggling to get across the finish line?

How do I know that we aren’t enough? Maybe it’s the fact that no matter how successful you are at something, there’s always another hill to climb. OR  the fact that I’ve read it in the bible, which I believe to be the breathed out words of God, I can feel it. I can feel the emptiness every once in a while. I used to feel it a lot before I met Jesus. It’s the same emptiness that caused me to fail at oh so many things. It caused me to cry endlessly because I was disappointed in myself. It caused me to go places I knew were a waste of time. It caused me to use drugs and drink alcohol under the guise of “being in college.” It seemed like whether I was responsible or irresponsible, I just couldn’t get that picture perfect life I just knew everyone else had. I don’t want that feeling anymore. I thought that becoming a Christian made that hole inside me go away. I thought that I was never going to feel inadequate or incomplete again because I wasn’t right? I had Jesus and he made me whole.  So why am I sitting here feeling it again?

The last year and a half of my life have been spent in limbo. I left my job at the church, started homeschooling 2 of the kids and navigated life with my husband deciding to open his own company. Awesome timing. Everything in our lives is turned upside down and what does my husband say to me? He says, “Hunny I think God is wanting me to open my own company instead of working for someone,” (with the stable paycheck…. I added… in my head of course). I was still reeling from the upheaval of my own daily life and now we were not only facing the poor house but we were home school (rather, I was homeschooling) a 15-year-old and a 6-year-old and I didn’t want to go get a job! I didn’t say that out of selfishness, I said it out of pure fear. How was I going to do that? Where could I get a job that would make that possible? But alas, my God is so good. He had my husband tell me he was going to handle it and I would be able to stay home. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been possible!

After the first year, I expected things to start to get back to normal. I hadn’t recognized  myself for a long time.I wasn’t passionate about the same things I had always been and my whole demeanor changed.  All I wanted was to feel like I fit in somewhere again, like I had something to be on fire about and it just didn’t happen. I was going to church, to bible study, I was reading the right books and talking to people about it. I was forcing myself out of my house and still, things were stagnant. I couldn’t understand. I was angry. Then, out of nowhere, things started to change. I couldn’t even tell you what caused it and I certainly can’t say I was sitting there praying and waiting patiently. I had given up at that point. I wasn’t giving up on God, I was just not thinking about it anymore. I think I had accepted this new normal as permanent. I started to bible journal. Like coloring in my bible. Which was so right up my alley. NOT because I am so artistically talented, because  I really am not, but because I was doing something dangerous. You DON’T paint in your bible! Even if Pinterest tells you it’s ok. One of my friends was committed to the fact that it was breaking a commandment somewhere in the bible. I knew in my heart that it wasn’t a mortal sin that would cause me to be struck by lightning. I was putting my feelings on the pages next to the words God had left for me. I wasn’t destroying the bible or blocking out words. It was almost like I was communicating with Him about what He was showing me. For a while, I felt a bit of satisfaction and was happy tracing things other people had drawn and using my colored pencils, but as God usually does, He changed things again.

I watched a video from Dawn Nicole about hand lettering and how easy it was. I was hooked after the first time I tried it. I was determined to write those pretty letters on my own. After a few failed attempts I started to get the hang of it. I even tried some of the distressed ink over the pages (after watching many YouTube videos and trying it on the back pages of my bible a few times…). Then, for the first time, without the help of a picture to trace or look at, I had made my own 100% original journaling entry.  I was stunned. I kept doing it and getting better at it. This is HUGE for me. I don’t do crafts. I don’t like crafts. I don’t know how to do crafts. I certainly NEVER wanted to learn how to do them either. It was like I was watching myself become someone completely different from the person I had known my whole life. Not just small changes but total 180’s. It was crazy. I was loving it. And then God struck again. “Open an Etsy Store,” He said one night. And so I did. I am still not even sure why I didn’t over analyze the idea like I usually do, I was just obedient. Now don’t think this was all roses and candy because it wasn’t. It was hard. I was learning to do things I HATED doing before, like graphic arts and working with IP addresses. I was writing bible studies & devotionals and I was making printable to trace in your bible. I don’t ever remember stopping to think about this too hard. I just kept going forward, like I was being propelled by God himself. It is one of those things that is so scary, and yet felt awesome. I was motivated and excited about something again.

Balancing home school and the business became a welcomed challenge and I felt like God may be using me again. I was being supported by my friends and people were giving me great feedback. It kept growing.  As time went on, I have been reaffirmed of this decision in so many ways. I have reconnected with people from my past who I NEVER thought would have found Jesus. I have helped daughter-in-laws express their feelings that they couldn’t put into words by personalizing gifts for their mother-in-laws. I have helped a young adult navigate back to Jesus after losing one of their parents and  walking away for almost a year. I have written personalized devotions, learned SO much about the bible and put smiles on a lot of people’s faces. Between the personalized happy mail I was receiving, and the reviews left on my store or in my email, I could feel GOD working through me and it felt good. One of the best parts was that these were 90% people I didn’t know, and lived states away. They found me. It was gratifying. Not because the work I was doing was so amazing, it had nothing to do with me. It was simply because I knew I was doing what God wanted. I don’t think I ever realized this but, I guess I often walked forward with force, even though I was only “pretty sure” I knew what He was saying. I had waited for almost a year and a half to feel like this again.

So I should be jumping for joy right now shouldn’t I? I should be relaxing in the presence of God’s work in my life. Why aren’t I? Why does it seem like I have amazing days and then days where I feel like I don’t match up to other people who are doing the same thing I am? Like I am never going to get to that point either. This afternoon I was smacked in the face with someone else’s work. There were things on their website, little things you probably didn’t notice, that made my look cheap. The packaging of a devotional I received in the mail was ten thousand times better than any of mine and this was something I worked hard on!   I can’t draw and after a few more visits to Pinterest, I realized that my hand lettering really wasn’t that good either. I had so much further to go, even though I felt like I had come so far already! All that progress was suddenly gone. I was reminded, yet again, that I was NOT enough.

It’s crazy how that happens isn’t it? How one moment I could be so filled with joy from God and then the next so empty. It can make you confused. Am I doing what God wants? Has he blessed me and will he continue to walk with me as I do it? Or is this something I created myself and because I am not listening, God is giving me a glimpse of what reality actually looks like. I have begun to doubt what I thought God was saying…

Just as those words came out of my mouth I realized what was happening. I had played right into my enemy’s hand. He saw me being useful and wanted to render me ineffective immediately. I almost let him.  A few months ago I read a book called Fervent, by Priscilla Shirer. I didn’t think it would be all that awe-inspiring since it seemed to be about things I already knew, but I was wrong. I am starting to see the wear from tossing it in my purse or leaving it open upside-down for too long. In one of the chapter’s she talks about Your Passion. Here’s the opening quote, which hit me hard the first time I read it and again today as I re-read it.

“If I were your enemy I’d seek to dim your passion, dull your interest in spiritual things, dampen your belief in God’s ability and His personal concern for you,  and convince you that the hope you lost is never coming back – probably was just a lie in the first place.”

Those words were happening to me right now. Literally. Word for Word.  As I began typing this out. It made me angry once I realized what was going on. I am OVER this doubt and questioning. It is exhausting and seems to do so much damage! I am frustrated with myself for letting him slip in and pull this wool over my eyes without me notice a thing. It’s not going to go any further. I am stopping this right now.

Yes, there are a lot of people who have already accomplished what I would like to. People who are further along in their journeys and are better at “it” than I am. Yes, I am going to be reminded constantly that there is something better out there, but that doesn’t matter. They have nothing to do with me. I am not going to let that be the words that get stuck in my mind.  I am going to fight back. IMG_0717

   Lamentations 3:22-12 says, The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness, his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

The Lord’s love for me WILL NOT END. Nothing I can do will change that. He is faithful and He assures me that we will try again tomorrow. He will not leave me to deal with this alone because he is disappointed in my performance. He isn’t giving up hope because I don’t have the talent needed. That’s not how He works. He is, however, providing me with what I lack. He is standing next to me, ready to try again. He is what am I missing because I am not enough… I need Him.

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