“You are enough.” I see this phrase all over; on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook – everywhere. I think people mean well when they say this, and that they’re trying to be encouraging. But I think it can leave people thinking “well, I still don’t feel like I’m enough.” Simply reading this from a popular Instagrammer or a Pinterest quote won’t suddenly make you feel “enough.”
What Does “Enough” Mean?
I tried to figure out what people exactly mean when they say “you are enough,” so I did a bit of searching, and I found an article by blogger Melissa Camara Wilkins called “What It Means To Be Enough.” She says “You are enough does not mean that you are flawless, or that you never make mistakes,” and “You are enough means that you were made to be you, as you are, on purpose.” I agree with her definition of that, but still feel like the phrase itself can leave people confused and feeling even more like they’re NOT enough. And I didn’t know that’s exactly what it meant, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who needed some clarification.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says “enough” means “to the required degree or extent” and “as much or as many as required.” I don’t know about you guys, but I know I almost never feel like I can do as much as is required of me. No matter how hard I try, I can never do as much as I’d like as well as I want to. I always fall short of my own expectations.
Even though it’s popular to say “You Are Enough,” and I think people do actually mean it, our culture tells us the opposite. According to the world, we need to do better, be better, work harder, not mess up, look better, perform better, never quit. When we try and meet those standards, no one will ever feel enough. Some christians also believe that they have to do certain things to “earn” their faith, love from God, or salvation, which also will lead to feelings of inadequacy, depression, and anxiety.
Am I The Only One Who Feels This Way?
I know people think they’re the only ones who feel like they’re not enough, like it’s a problem only I am struggling with, but everyone does sometimes. Everyone has the desire and longing in their heart to be enough because we were created TO be enough. That’s a desire for heaven that everyone has, but it was destroyed during the fall when sin entered our world. Everyone is searching for something or someone that will tell them they’re enough. But instead of looking where were created to look, we look to the world around us to fulfill this deep need of ours, which only leaves us emptier than before. We keep trying to find something or someone that will make us feel like we are enough, so we can finally rest and stop striving. We try harder and harder, but the only thing that becomes solidified in our hearts is that we’re not enough.
But I have good news for you:
You’re NOT enough.
But there is One who is. Jesus lived a perfect life as God on Earth, and died blamelessly in our place. By doing that he took on all of our sin, trading it for his goodness, perfection, redemption, and glory. THAT is what makes us enough. The Only thing that makes us enough. He takes our place and says that when we believe that Jesus is the Lord, the Son of God, he will stand in our place and make us completely “enough.” “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30) We are only enough through Jesus. Apart from Him, we’re just not enough. The reason everyone feels like they’re not enough is because we aren’t. We’re not enough, and that feeling we all get that we’re not? It’s right. But it should direct us to the one who is. We feel inadequate for wanting to be enough, sufficient, but we all know we’re actually not. We’re fighting our broken, sinful, nature instead of resting in what we are in Jesus.
What ARE We, Then?
If we’re not good enough, what are we? God says that apart from him, we are stuck with deceitful hearts (Jer 17:9), that we’re vain, thankless, foolish (Romans 1:21), and without hope. But IN Christ, God says we are chosen, redeemed, set free, set apart for his glory, righteous, hopeful, expectant, a holy temple, a new creation. We aren’t left in the darkness, but set free from our sin by the power of Christ. We are free to be who God made us to be, and though we will continue to make mistakes throughout this earthly lifetime, we are still counted as Redeemed, Enough, in God’s eyes. We don’t have to agonize over the things we can’t measure up to, things we can’t get right, or everything we lack. ““My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9). The Bible says that we’re actually supposed to BOAST in our weaknesses, because then the power of Christ can shine through us. How can the power of Christ shine through us? When we accomplish things we know we can’t do on our own, we can show them that was actually Christ’s power and glory.
When You’re A Christian Who Doesn’t Feel “Enough”
So what if you’re a Christian and still feel like you’re not enough? Then you are finding your identity in the wrong place. We all do this, so don’t feel singled out; it is a universal human problem that each person daily (and more) needs to reevaluate and point themselves back to where our identities are actually found. We frequently put our identities in our work, parenting, relationship status, financial ability, homes, cars, friendships, social status, etc. But God says that we were made in his image to bring him glory, so when we try and find fulfillment apart from that, we will feel like we’re not enough. When we are Christians and still feel like we’re not enough, we are putting too much of our identities and purpose into earthly things. Whenever we find our sole identity in Jesus, we will be content in our hearts because that is what we were created to do. We feel like we’re lacking because we’re finding our identities and purpose in things that weren’t created to identify us and give us purpose.
Sometimes this is a serious issue in the lives of Christians, and if it’s something you cannot seem to shake, then I would encourage you to talk to a friend, pastor, or, preferably, a christian counselor. There might be a history of abuse, shame, or neglect in your life that is not your fault, but is keeping you from seeing your worth and value in Christ. Find someone who will speak truth into your life and help you see that you are enough in Christ.
You Are Worthy of Love
Just because we know we are not enough doesn’t mean we aren’t worthy of love and dignity. We don’t measure up to the standard of God without Christ, but He still says we are loved, chosen, and worth dying for. This subject is deserving of it’s own blog post, and maybe I’ll go into it sometime, but for now, I want to be clear that being treated with anything less than respect, honor, and dignity is not what God wants for you or has done for you. Accepting that you’re not enough doesn’t mean we don’t deserve respect, it’s simply acknowledging we aren’t enough but gratefully accepting the one who is.
We only become enough by putting our faith in the one who is enough. We become enough by acknowledging that we aren’t, but believing in the one who is. You’re not enough, but you ARE enough in Christ.