I sat across the table from my dear friend, tears streaming down my face. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I said, trying to regain my composure. “The kids are healthy. I have an incredible husband. We have a beautiful home. Our business is thriving. I should be grateful, I should be joyful, but I feel miserable, empty, alone. I feel like nobody cares about me. What about my needs? Day after day I do the dishes, change the diapers, tidy the house, return the e-mails, take care of everyone. I’m tired. I need more than a nap, more than a pedicure once a month.”
I tried so hard for so long to be the person I thought I was supposed to be. I tried to be selfless and set aside my own needs and wants. I tried to be happy when I felt sad, and patient when I felt angry. I tried to serve others — do more, be more. Wasn’t that what love was? Serving others and being selfless? Wasn’t that what a good wife and mom did — keep everything working smoothly, make everyone happy? Didn’t all these things prove I was good at what I was responsible for? Didn’t all these things prove I was worth loving?
I hoped I could find order, and in that order find safety, and in that safety find love. But I never found love there.
With each smile, I was losing myself. With each yes, I was disappearing a little. With each half-truth I was putting up a wall between me and those I loved. Eventually I ended up empty and desperate. I felt disconnected from my kids, my friends, my husband — the very people I so desperately wanted to connect with. Instead of order, everything seemed chaotic. Instead of safety, everything felt unstable. Instead of love, I felt loneliness. Instead of freedom, I felt weighed down. I was building a house of cards, and one small breeze would blow the whole thing over. I was losing my spark, lost in a fog of pleasing other people. My intentions were good, but here I was, in a coffee shop, with tears streaming down my face.
For so long my go-to responses had been, “I’m great!” “No problem.” “It doesn’t matter to me.” “I’d love to help.” “Don’t worry about it!” I’d figure out what others wanted to hear, and that’s what I would tell them. It felt easier, neater, and less complicated than the alternative.
Except I wasn’t great.
And there was a problem. It did matter to me. I actually didn’t want to help; I was already overwhelmed. Maybe there was a reason to worry. I started to see I wasn’t being me. I wasn’t showing up as my true self and being honest. I was putting on a mask and trying to become the person I thought I should be, the person I thought other people wanted me to be. I was building walls around myself and trying to control everyone and everything. I wasn’t being honest. I was disappearing from my own life. I wanted to change, but how?
My friend was walking a similar journey, and her encouraging words spoke to my soul. I needed to be me. Me, in all my messy, imperfect amazingness. I needed space to think my thoughts, listen to my heart, make sense of my feelings, and pay attention to my thoughts. It had been so long since I had done any of these things that I hardly knew how to do them anymore.
I couldn’t feel my feelings because I was so busy feeling everyone else’s feelings. I needed space.
I couldn’t think with all the noise. I needed quiet. I couldn’t breathe with all the busyness.
I needed to slow down. It would take some time to work my way back to me.
I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way. Day after day I meet incredible women who give everything they have to show up for their families and friends, and yet they feel exhausted and isolated. They feel like failures, as if they aren’t enough. They wonder if they’ll ever be enough. Maybe you feel this way too.
“I am enough” — it has become kind of a catchphrase, right? I see it on T-shirts, on wall canvases, on cards. The truth? We’re not enough, and we know it deep down at our core. We are faced with our shortcomings on a daily, if not hourly basis. We’re not just imperfect; sometimes we’re downright mean and ugly. We’re broken, and we suspect we’ll always be broken.
I am not enough. You are not enough. It’s like my soul knows it, your soul knows it. This feeling of not-enoughness is our default mode.
But. But God. God decided to love me. He decided to love you. He decided to love us despite our not-enoughness. You don’t have to do more to get His love. You don’t have to be the perfect wife and mom. You don’t have to smile when you feel sad or be patient when you feel angry. Even if you stop doing good things, God will love you. You didn’t earn His love, and you can’t lose His love. When God decided to love you, He said, “You are enough.” You are lovable just as you are. No more, no less. Just you, right now. You don’t have to be anything but you.
God made you just the way you are. God loves you. God wants you to be you. This is our reality.
With God, I am enough. You are enough. But how do we live in this new reality? How do we live in the truth that we are loved just as we are by the God of the universe? How do we teach our souls to rest in the knowledge that we are enough — when every part of us feels like we’re not?
Instead of looking through our own eyes, we need to look at ourselves with new eyes, the way God sees us — broken, yes, and still lovable.
You don’t have to be more or less.
You are allowed to fail. You are allowed to be imperfect. You are allowed to succeed. You are allowed to be amazing. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel.
You didn’t do anything to earn this love, and you can’t do anything to lose it.
You are enough right now
in this body,
with this face,
with that bad habit
and that bad mood.
You are enough right now,
in spite of what you’ve done.
No matter what you do,
it’s not the doing
It just is.
You are enough right now
before time began,
after time ends,
in the slowness of long days
and the busyness of short days.
You are enough right now.
Breathe it in.
Hold this beautiful thought in your mind.
Let it fill you.
Let it soothe you.
You are enough right now.
Always have been,
always will be
just as you are.
Fill in the blanks:
Even when I ________________, I am enough.
In spite of my _________________, I am enough.
It’s ok for me to feel ______________________ because I am enough.
I am __________________ and I am enough.
Excerpted with permission from Be You by Lisa Leonard, copyright Lisa Leonard.
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Are we enough all by ourselves? No. But, in Jesus, we are. Even in quarantine when we behave in ways we wouldn’t have before. Even in fear about the economy when we worry about what’s going to happen. Even when we blow it. We’re still loved. Still chosen. Still enough. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about being just who God made you to be! ~ Devotionals Daily