My sleepless eyes fixed on the shadowy ceiling above my bed as I cried out in desperation to God. It’s hopeless! Will I ever measure up, Father? When will I be enough?
This thought journey had begun long ago, and was now coming to a head. Popular culture, even Christian culture, seemed to say that I was enough. When I messaged a friend about my struggle, her immediate response was to assure me that I was sufficient in my roles. And yet, this one word continued to haunt me: Enough.
A Child’s Battle
As a child, the questions were different than today. Was I “good enough” to merit my parents’ approval? Was I truly “good enough” to deserve God’s love? Would I ever be “good enough” for someone to devote a lifetime to loving me?
God’s Word gave some answers in the negative. Isaiah called my attempts at righteousness “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Jeremiah told me of my deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Romans reminded me of how I fell short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), and Ephesians spoke of not boasting in my works (Ephesians 2:9). These descriptions convinced me that I needed a Savior, One who would be enough to wash away my unrighteousness.
After accepting the gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8) as a girl of twelve, I desired to please the Savior who had given His all for me. The burden of being enough was lighter, but rightly or wrongly, the haunting thought still trickled into my mind every so often. The salvation question was answered, but there was so much more of life that still posed the question from other angles.
It came when I failed to portray the fruit of the Spirit.
It came when I lost my temper.
It was as if there were an unwritten standard that I measured myself by, as a Christian, in order to please God. The marker I was aiming for was that word: enough. But no matter how hard I tried to reach it, I couldn’t.
A Woman’s Battle
The more recent questions came in bigger numbers and with stronger intensity:
Would I ever be a “good enough” wife? Parent? Homemaker?
Would I ever end the constant battle for the evading trophy of being enough?
Could anyone else relate to my struggle?
For years, one word continued to haunt me: Enough. Would I ever be a “good enough” wife? Parent? Homemaker?
I found some relief as another woman shared her battle in the same war of “enough.” But the unanswered questions continued to haunt me, and soon crowded out the sliver of help that comfort provided. I turned to God’s Word for some answers, and was left more convinced of my hopelessness than before.
I knew that salvation wasn’t the arrival of perfection in my life. God tells us He will keep on working on us until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:6). God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), and continues to mold them into His image until the day they die.
Was There Hope?
So there I lay that night, sinking further into the darkness engulfing me. A tear blazed a trail that others followed. I begged God for a pinprick of hope to shine on my struggle. Am I to face a plague of failures night and day for the rest of my life? Is this defeat Your plan for those who love You, Father? This doesn’t add up to all I know You to be, based on Your Word! You are good (Mark 10:18), You are loving (John 3:16) and You promise peace to those who focus on You (Isaiah 26:3). What am I missing?
It was there, in that moment of desperate prayer that God began to speak, graciously and tenderly. He pointed me to another passage, one that shook my world and brought peace. It was a familiar one. I had heard it repeatedly growing up in church. It was the story of Moses and how God spoke to him through the burning bush.
Moses Wasn’t Enough
Moses, in Exodus chapter 3, was barefoot and on his face before God, seeing and feeling his own smallness in light of God’s magnificence. God shared the plan for Israel’s deliverance with Moses, and in my mind’s eye, I could see Moses shriveling in insignificance as he asked God, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?” (Exodus 3:11)
I realized, for the first time that night, that Moses was also struggling with being enough. Through the events of Moses’ life until that point in time, God had already revealed to Moses that Israel’s rescue was only going to happen if done on God’s terms. Now that Moses could clearly see his own weakness, God was ready to use him.
But Moses wasn’t ready. He knew he wasn’t enough. As I replayed this story in my mind, my single focus was on God’s response. Would He explain that Moses was enough with God’s help? Would this be the answer I’d been praying for? I was ready for God to teach me.
But God’s answer didn’t deny Moses’ weakness. Instead, it showed that God Himself was enough. “I will be with thee” (Exodus 3:12). Light was swiftly piercing through my darkness as God taught me through His Word. I read further of how Moses asked one question after another. Each query showed he felt he wasn’t enough in himself to complete the task given him. And every time, God gently responded, assuring Moses that He, God, was enough.
Finally, after God refuted every excuse of weakness with proof of His strength, Moses feebly asked God to please send someone else (Exodus 4:13)! Moses still didn’t see it. It wasn’t Moses who needed to be enough! God’s response this time was anger. Couldn’t Moses understand? God graciously made provision for the weakness of Moses, but He was still enough.
The Wrong Question
I used to be annoyed with Moses and all his questions for God in this passage. So it was humbling to realize that I had made the same mistake. I had been asking the wrong question all along. I was focused on myself and what I could accomplish, instead of looking to God and what He could do! I had seen my inadequacies, instead of how God’s strength is made perfect through those weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9)!
We simply need to rest our smallness in God’s greatness and acknowledge that we need Him.
I had desperately tried to measure up to the unattainable bar I had set for myself, only to fail, give up, and flounder in self-pity. Then I would finally muster up enough gumption to give it another go. Round and round it went, when all along the answer was right here in the story of Moses. I also discovered it in a chorus I had heard enough times to memorize:
My God is enough
He’s proved it o’er and o’er
He’s never known to fail
His power still prevails
Down through the test of time
God’s people always find
Whatever life may bring
God is enough!
God Is Enough!
At the right time, with the right circumstances of earnest desperation, God graciously revealed to me that I never needed to try to be enough again. God was, and is enough! It was time for me to resist the lie of current culture saying that I am, or should be, enough, and raise my hands to the only One who truly is: God.
I no longer have to strive to be enough. I no longer have to measure myself by the standards I or others create. I simply need to rest my smallness in God’s greatness, and acknowledge that I need Him. We all do.