I don’t remember a lot of lack growing up. My parents worked hard to provide for us. We weren’t wealthy, but we had what we needed with some extras, with the exception of socks. I remember having a lack of socks. I regularly, and with no small amount of chagrin, annoyed my sister, stealing her socks, because my sock drawer always seemed to be bare. I don’t remember asking my mother for socks. I’m sure she’d have coughed up the socks, if I’d have expressed my need to her. To this day, I can’t get enough socks and if I had a wad of cash, I’d be spending it on gobs of unique socks.
Lately, I’ve been hearing the phrase, “You are enough” being put forward, especially by women. Of course, I had to think about what I thought it might mean.
When one has enough, one is sustained and satisfied. There are things that are a must to have enough of; enough of the basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, enough money to pay bills and then some, enough love, enough validation, enough of what we want to achieve and own. When we don’t have enough of what we need or want, we tend to expend ourselves in the pursuit of what we lack. As a species, we’re insatiable. We collect. We heap. It’s a wonder we haven’t been buried alive by all of our more than enough.
Apparently, it’s not enough for us to have enough, we now wish to be enough, but enough for what? According to the meme at the top of the page, we’re good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, and strong enough. Let’s unpack this, in reverse order, shall we?
Are we strong enough? Strong enough for what? To do a chin up, run a marathon, or pull a locomotive with with our teeth? There are those of us who are physically strong and capable of performing all kinds of incredible feats. I can’t even do a proper push up. I’m not strong enough to lift my bulk in that way, but I am strong enough to hike up a mountain and when I share my pictures, I’ve had numerous people say to me they could never do it. Unless a person has a physical job like a dancer, a professional athlete, a personal trainer, or a firefighter, most of us aren’t going to get strong doing what we do to make a living. I have to train to be strong. Maybe Thema is referring more to fortitude here rather than physical strength. I’ve been short on fortitude in my past, much to my shame. My parents weren’t quitters, but I would classify myself as one for much of my life. I established a pattern of quitting things that were hard or painful early on. In grade one, I remember my parents asking me after a year of piano lessons, if I wanted to quit. They must have been tired of fighting with me. Of course, as a child watching my brother go outside to play while I sat plunking away at the piano was distasteful, but how I wish they would’ve pushed me! By the time I was in high school, I was a master quitter. I blew off tests and dropped classes. In my first year at college, I handed in my research notes for a paper rather than the paper itself and earned a well-deserved 0, because I wasn’t willing to do the work of writing an outline, sifting through all that material, selecting the appropriate quotes, and putting things into my own words. I quit jobs, three of them, after one day of work. I broke a myriad of promises, too many to recount. I figured it was my prerogative to change my mind, but, in truth, I was weak and afraid, running from challenges rather than facing them. I became someone who wasn’t to be trusted, unreliable. After meeting my husband, someone whose word you could take to the bank and receive what was promised with interest, I saw my shortcomings plainly, but I had become a habitual quitter. Though, I have matured somewhat in this area, I haven’t always been strong enough and I’m not naive enough, there’s that word again, to believe there won’t come a day in my future when my inner strength will not equal the task.
Are we beautiful enough? Hahahahahaha!!!!!! Beautiful enough for what? To look in the mirror and not have it shatter, to take home top prize in a beauty contest, or to be “the face that launched a thousand ships”(Christopher Marlowe)? North Americans have a specific beauty ideal for men and women. Pleasing symmetry of features, young, unblemished, hairless skin, and long, lean, toned bodies are favoured. According to these standards, I’m not beautiful enough. I have crinkles at the corners of my eyes and lines crisscrossing my forehead. I have marble-sized lumps of fat popping up in various locations on my body called lipomas and my fingers, on their own, scout out a new one on a regular basis (so helpful). I have a girdle of stretch-marked flab swathing my middle that I’m unable to shed probably because I eat more chocolate than broccoli. I’m short. I can’t even sit comfortably on most chairs, because my feet don’t touch the ground, my legs are so stumpy. I feel like a kid, swinging my legs back and forth. Top this off with a couple of hideous skin tags I’ve allowed to exist. (They’re kind of like my pets now). At this rate, in less than 10 years, I’ll be a shrunken, wrinkled, conglomeration of lumpy fat riddled with floppy, skin tags. I’ll have to wear a paper grocery bag over my head and a sign that says, “Look Away!” when I go out in public. Ok. Ok. I’m exaggerating, a little. We all know that physical beauty is hardly the only measure of beauty. We all know someone whose physical beauty is marred by their ugly behaviour. We also know that physical beauty peaks and wains like brain power, but soul beauty will see us to the end. Those who are loving, kind, cheerful, positive, generous, faithful, patient, strong, courageous–these are qualities that make a person beautiful. Both physical and soul beauty require cultivation, even for those who’re naturally gifted.
Are we smart enough? Smart enough for what? To learn a new skill like a language or an instrument, to pass the bar exam, or win at Jeopardy? Let’s face it, we’re as dumb as a stuffed bunny the day we’re born and it takes us a couple of decades for our brains to fully develop. I moved in the middle of my grade one year from Canada to the US and I remember being bewildered in that class. I didn’t understand the material, especially the math. I was made to repeat my grade one year, because I wasn’t at the same level as my peers. I hadn’t learned what I needed to know to progress to the next grade. I wasn’t smart enough. This was no great hardship other than the fact that I was kept with the same teacher, Mrs. Peitz, a crabby woman with chicken soupy hair and a bulbous nose, who wore a generous layer of greasy, orange foundation on her sour face and garish blue eyeshadow. She once put tape over my mouth for talking too much, but I intentionally digress for the fun of it. After that year, I recall excelling in school until I hit junior high. My first C was a revelation. I was confounded. Apparently, my natural giftedness was no longer enough to maintain my previous level of success. I would have to study and study I did. This is life. We’re not always smart enough. We don’t always know what we need to know to do what we need to do. We may have the smarts to access the resources and comprehend a body of knowledge and we may not. We may be keen in one area and confused in another. There are geniuses among us, but most have average smarts and gravitate towards certain fields of study. I’ve always been better with words than numbers and my calculator is my friend. According to this article, our various mental capacities peak at certain ages and then begin to decline. Our smarts can even come and go depending on our current state of health and how well we take care of ourselves. The truly intelligent are those who’re curious and teachable, humble enough to admit they don’t know much, eager to learn and share what they’ve learned with gentleness and gratitude. Procuring smarts should be a life-long goal we never fully attain.
Are we good enough? Good enough for what? To sing a solo, participate as an athlete in the Olympics, or write a best-selling book? Or, is she referring to the virtuous kind of good? Many in the world believe they’re inherently good in this way and they believe their children are, as well. I have three children and looked after other people’s children for eight years when my own were young. I know kids. My two-year-old son greeted his newborn sister for the first time by bonking her on the head and that wasn’t good! Fortunately, he didn’t hurt her, but violence is not good, even when meted out by an ineffectual two-year-old. Jesus, when called a “good teacher” by someone said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.” (Luke 18:19) We’ve all lied, talked behind someone’s back, put someone down, or treated someone with disrespect and many of us have done worse, just watch the news for a host of heinous examples, which is why we need laws governing our behaviour. A person might say, “I’m mostly good”. Are you sure? Are you sure you’re good enough? Who sets the standard, you? Are you good enough to get into heaven or just to stay out of jail? Jesus came for those who were humble enough to admit they weren’t good enough, to admit they needed saving.
If an individual is enough, it would stand to reason that one need not grow, that no additions to who one is are necessary. This kind of thinking is wrong. People who never grow up, who never change and mature, who never refine their thinking, upgrade their character, or develop their giftedness are not people to be praised. There’s always room for improvement and we should want to become more than we are for ourselves and for the betterment of the world. The bible is clear on the issue of whether we’re enough or not. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. It couldn’t be more blatant. We, in our sin, don’t cut it and it isn’t glorious, folks, but, believe it or not, this is good news! God said enough is enough, lifting the burden of our failing to be enough from our shoulders, when He sent Jesus, the one who is more than enough to bear our sins, shore up our weakness, and give us all we lack. What a mind-blowing concept it is that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and draw near to God, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, growing the life-giving fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives. We can stop pretending! We can be ugly, ignorant, hungry, thirsty, tired, sick, unmotivated, confused, overwhelmed, afraid, grief-stricken, angry and, even, sinful and collapse into the love, forgiveness, comfort, and strength of our Heavenly Father. We’re enough in Christ. We’re enough when we are so immersed in Him that He eclipses us, that we exude His character and reflect His glory. May we lay down our need to be enough and accept the all sufficiency of Jesus. Amen and amen.
Feature Pic from Live Life Happy. All other pics from Pixabay. Double exposures and footer edits by me. Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to follow me or sign up to receive my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram. Take a peek at my Redbubble store Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com, my clothing design page on Le Galeriste, or my fiverr page. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time! 🙂