There is this deep-rooted fear in my heart of not being good enough, not measuring up and being tried and found wanting still. I think many of us have this same fear. For me it goes back to when I entered a new class in first grade. I was the new girl, venturing into a new class. I was a little shy, but I don't think I'd ever struggled too much with self-consciousness. But that day changed me. Fairly carefree, I asked a table full of girls if I could sit with them for snack. They replied, "This table is only for cool girls with sparkly chapstick." And my fate was sealed. Uncool. Not enough.
Even around 20 years later, I'm still not immune to the fear of not being enough. Now as I enter this current season of taking new paths, venturing into uncharged waters, I have to combat being afraid that I won't be enough for it. Somewhere along the line of the rejections I experienced and feeling like I didn't "fit in" growing up I learned perfectionism. If I could meet my own standards then it made not meeting up to others' less painful. I could be good at XYZ, so it didn't matter if they liked me or not. I was at least "enough" in some areas, or at least the ones I decided mattered.
God has so graciously, and faithfully spent many years breaking me of these things. He continually takes me out of the places that I feel like I can "measure up" or earn my brand and do/be enough for the task. Just when I feel like I know where I'm headed, He blindsides me with a new direction or puts me in a place where there are no measuring sticks to go by. That is hard for me. I love measuring, quantifying and being able to take an account of how I'm doing. I'm thankful He has graciously allowed me to be a mother, because it's tough me just how little I can "measure" motherhood. The work is small and tedious, but vastly important. And I won't really ever be able to "measure" my job...all I can do is depend on Jesus, obey His leading and trust Him with the result. My business was the last thing I was holding onto that I could measure my success or at least my own brand of it. And over my sabbatical in July, He told me to let it go, stop publishing, stop marketing, let go of "being someone" in it at all. That season, doing as much as I could for His glory is over. It's now a daily dependance on Him and asking, "What is it that YOU want today Lord?" So I'm not doing anything to grow my business that make sense on paper. I've stopped all the methods I know to work, and also be authentic. It's a simple question: "What today?"
I think God knew I needed to enter into this season of stripping back, of simplifying (yet immensely complicating from my earthly point of view) my day to day process. I'm not striving. I don't have to get wrapped up in my never ending to-do list, because there isn't one! Or rather, a very small one. It's a kind of freedom found in surrender I've never known this deeply. Because He knows me. He knows what I need. He is well aware of my fear of not being enough and my propensity to protect myself by being my own measuring stick. So in love, He broke the stick. I won't lie, it's been a bit painful. Even so, I see where I have wanted to cling to this ideal of what is good enough so I can feel ok about who I am. The irony is that I was covering up who I really am by doing so. In letting go of that measuring stick I've found freedom to truly be who God has created me to be. I don't just have to wear the face of "photographer" to be enough. I don't have to put my "mama" face on enough so people think I'm also a good mom. I don't have to post the right amount of photos from my personal life to show I'm "real and authentic" too. I don't have to wonder if wearing my "poetic/ musician" face will be too much. I'm clearing out the pride of my different faces. So it's just me. My real face.
Knowing that I don't hold myself together is like running, arms spread wide through an open field. I'm not enough to hold my life together. I'm not enough to hold this business together. I'm not enough to create a sweet, life giving home. I'm not enough for the ministry I've been given. And I'm definitely not good enough to write music. In every arena there are so many others better and more qualified. There are far more talented photographers, doing, going more. There are more awesome wives and moms who are killing it for their families. There are far, far more people who write the music I love. Voices that are more incredible, more beautiful than mine will ever be. But that doesn't matter. Not one bit.
God has wrecked my heart lately in 2 Corinthians 4-6:
It's not about me. The truth is I'm not enough. I don't even measure up, often enough, to my own standards...much less God's! But He has said, "I AM ENOUGH FOR YOU." I'm simply a vessel that HE created for HIS glory for a very specific purpose. HE is enough, more than enough. I can cease from striving and simply rest in who He created me to be. I can work at what He has placed in my hands, in total freedom, knowing the results are not dependent on my sufficiency but His. I simply lean on Him. I take each step in surrender and dependance. I work, mother, love, teach, write, sing - all of it, fully aware of my brokenness. Yes, I will still fight the fear of if others will like what I put out into the world - my art, my music. I'm not awesome; I'm just trying to obey His call. If the light of Christ can be seen through all my myriads of insufficiencies, if His grace will overflow in every area where I'm not enough, then I will gladly be weak and not good enough. Being well aquatinted with my insufficiencies will keep me on my knees. Where my pride bowed low is exactly where God meets me and shows His immense strength. I'm not enough, but that doesn't matter. What I proclaim is not myself anyway. Christ above all.
Beautiful Image by Laura Nelson