I appreciate I’ve dropped off the radar a little bit lately. Writing was definitely something I meant to do in my week long Easter holiday, but it didn’t turn out quite how I’d planned. Now I’m having to say goodbye to another Grandparent and face another funeral. I’m discovering that new grief likes to unearth old grief, and bring with it a whole host of memories. It’s left me feeling fairly sentimental, and as I thought about what to write, I kept coming back to this post that’s been floating around in my head for a while.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of spending time with lots of children in their first few years of life. I’ve been able to enjoy getting to know these small ones and watch them develop and change into who they were created to be. I got to see some of these children, and meet one new to the world, over the Easter period. And as I played with them or held them, I thought about what I would want for them as they grow up. The words I would love for them to hold as truth as they get older.
My answer was probably not the one you would expect. I could have quoted a dozen bible passages on love and faith, identity and security. But instead I would choose three simple words for them:” I am enough”.
Why these out of all the words I could have chosen? I suppose simply because the world they will grow up in, will constantly try and tell them the opposite. We live in a society that loves to highlight flaws and imperfections, an advertising industry that flourishes on the idea that we will be more if we just own this thing or that. The glossy flawless images we are bombarded with, make us all look in the mirror and see only what we are not. There are hundreds of thousands of people who believe with their whole heart, that they are not enough. That they are not pretty enough, not clever enough, not popular enough, not thin enough or whatever adjective it is that day. People who have judged themselves against the worlds standards and have decided they are lacking. They will never be enough.
We’ve had a lot of talks given to us on the internship around ideas like complacency and expectation. The message given seems to be that our generation thinks too much of itself, that we are complacent and have unrealistic expectations of life. Maybe there’s some truth in that. But when I look around at people my age all I seem to see is people who have no idea how precious and valuable they are, who cannot see their worth. People who think they will never be good enough. Maybe they mask it well, cover it up with a show of arrogance, or push people away so they never scratch beneath the surface. But it’s still there, that insecurity, that lie.
And we have probably all seen what feeling ‘not enough’ can do to a person. How it can eat them up from the inside out, how it taints how they see the world. We’ve probably all got friends for whom this is true, maybe we’ve sat with them as we’ve tried and failed to convince them of their worth and value. Perhaps we’ve been that friend too. That lie of ‘not enough’, is so difficult to shift once it’s been accepted as truth. Once you let it embed in your heart, it becomes the scales on which you weigh each new experience, rejecting evidence to the contrary. How I would love to save the children in my life from this hurt and heart ache.
I want them to grow up knowing that they have a worth and value that has belonged to them from before they were born. To know that this worth can never be taken away from them. For them to realise they were created unique and beautiful by God and put on this earth for a purpose. That whatever life throws at them they will always be enough. That with God fighting their corner, they will always be equipped to face the challenges that come their way. They may never be the strongest, the cleverest or the prettiest. But in God’s eyes and the eyes of those that love them, they will always be enough. That those are the eyes that matter.
I want them to be able to hold out the word “enough” to the world, for those days when it is demanding too much of them. To know their limits and know they should be respected. To be able to come to God on those days when life seems to be raging around them, chipping away at who they thought they were, and find reassurance in the arms of the Father.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t try and do better, and strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can. But that our value and worth cannot be increased by doing this. We cannot achieve our salvation through works, through striving for perfection. Instead it comes from a God who looked down upon humanity and decided we were worth saving, valuable enough to send his only son to Earth to die in our place. And he made that choice ‘whilst we were still sinners’ (Romans 5:8), separated from him and guilty. He still decided that these prodigal children were precious enough to be invited to join his family. We have been judged enough and welcomed in, by the almighty creator of the universe. Who are we to judge ourselves less?
Maybe it’s not too late to claim these three words as our own, no matter how old we are. To look at ourselves and look at our God and say “I am enough”. To take those words and whisper them over our lives, to teach them to our children and loved ones. I am holding these words today, as the future after August looks uncertain and I struggle to work out what God’s plan is for me. The road ahead for me and for many of us may be difficult and rocky. But whatever may come, whatever the challenges or the joys, we can face them knowing we will always be enough.
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8