We are a generation of women who have never worked harder to have it all, yet go to bed most nights worrying that we aren’t enough. We are constantly asking “Why?” We are constantly measuring. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, if you’re married, if you’re rich, poor, old, young, in college, or out of college. Every human heart struggles with this. We are always looking around to see how we measure up to everyone around us and usually focusing on all the ways we fall short.
I believe our struggle with wondering if we are enough goes back primarily to how much we trust God. We aren’t struggling because of the specifics of our circumstances as much as we are struggling because we fail to trust God to give us what we need, to show us where we are supposed to go and what we are supposed to do. That’s why discontentment surfaces in our lives in all the ways it does.
Deep down, we struggle to believe God is going to lead us to what is best for us. It’s our internal voice that whispers we will never be enough, so we work and worry and feel like we must do something big, something huge to prove our worth and to make sure our life matters. We have to host a conference, start a movement, adopt fifteen kids, or fight human trafficking to really matter. Which are all great things, but thinking this way can cause us to lose sight of the small things that can also change a life: bringing dinner to a sick neighbor, smiling at a waitress who’s having a bad day, reading to your kids before bed, and simply praying for someone going through a rough time.
If you’re like me, you can spend a lot of time looking around at what everyone else has or is doing or all the ways they appear better. We measure. We measure our insides by other people’s outsides—and that’s never a fair assessment. We don’t know what they’re going through, how they have been hurt, or the struggles they face. We see their social-media best selves and assume everybody is winning at life. We are constantly seeing the “Everything’s great!” version of other people’s lives while living the reality of our own lives, which may often feel a little mundane and purposeless.
A few weeks ago, as I was reading my Bible, I ran across some verses that leapt out at me. I can’t even explain how I found myself in Zechariah, because sometimes I can’t remember if it’s a real book of the Bible or one I made up in my head because Zechariah sounds like a name that would be a book of the Bible. I read:
And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand! Then I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ” (Zechariah 2:1–5 esv)
It hit me that this is what we spend so much time doing. We are constantly measuring our city—is it big enough? Does it need more? How does it compare to other cities? Does my city have the kitchen that looks most likely to get pinned on Pinterest? Do people like my city? I wonder what might happen if we could quit building walls around ourselves and let others see who we really are. To see where we are broken and where we are hurting and where we feel like we aren’t enough. Sometimes when we speak those things out loud, they lose their power, but when we keep them hidden, they grow stronger because we are almost always our own worst critics.
What if we lived as though we truly believed God has given us a life without walls, that he has plans for us that go beyond anything we can measure or imagine and promises to be the glory in our midst?
I believe God wants to make our city—our lives—so big that walls can’t contain it. His idea of big is so different from ours. A God who promises us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without him knowing is a God who values even the smallest things. He wants us to have peace and contentment that won’t require us to put up walls of protection and spend our lives afraid of being vulnerable and real as we stop compulsively trying to measure the width and depth of our lives. He will be our protection. He will be the wall of fire all around.
He will be the glory in our midst and whisper to us that our lives, no matter how small they may seem to us, are enough because He is enough.
Excerpted with permission from Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle. Published by Zondervan.
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Isn’t it a relief to know that we can never be “good enough” apart from our Savior – and that He loves us anyway. God wants you just as you are! You are enough, because you were made in the image of God and carry His likeness in You! Come join the celebration of that fact and reality in the conversation on our blog!
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