I’m going to admit it…this summer has been extremely difficult. From the date that my parents’ divorce was finalized on May 4th, for 77 days there have been a bevy of crises that have turned my world upside down. Every area of my life that I identified as safe was stripped and revealed to be in turmoil. Pain pushed in on every side of my life, some of it was happening to me, and some of it I created out of reaction to being squeezed so hard.
This has been an arduous process of opening the dusty boxes in my life that haven’t been touched in years and playing keep-it-throw-it-away with things that I’ve been holding onto for so long. All of it needed to be thrown away and cast down at the feet of Jesus.
It wasn’t until last week, upon the 77th day, that my best friend and God-given mate, my wife Caitlin spoke a tremendous truth into my life that gave everything perspective. Fully at the bottom and fully broken, we spent a full morning in prayer together and in confession and forgiveness with each other and before Jesus. And while she has been on this journey with me this summer, she also has been going through her own process of cleaning out her own boxes. In fact we’ve been helping each other; helping to heal each other. That morning I cried to God for mercy; to halt the onslaught of warfare in my life. And He spoke through Caitlin, revealing that everything falling down around me was affecting me so hard because I had believed a horrible, pernicious lie. It’s a lie that I’ve believed for years and had been fully sown into the fabric of my being: “I am not enough.”
Where did this lie come from? The actual question is—where does it NOT come from? We live in a constant meritocracy that informs us we are not enough unless we have the right jobs, make the right-sized paycheck, raise flawless children, drive the correct car and live in the right house. Then there’s also the unhealthy family patterns that follow us…you know the ones where we feel coerced into trying to make everyone happy for the sake of being the “happy family” and so we continue to strive and perform but it never seems to be enough? And on top of that even church can sometimes add to the stress by pushing to serve here, joining a small group there, and then at the end of the service don’t forget to drop a check in the bag on your way out. Any of this sound familiar? The truth is that any and all of these things can reinforce the idea that “I am not enough.”
Upon peeling back the stinging, oniony layers of this deep lie, and not without a small amount of tears shed in the process—was a beautiful and multi-folded truth to replace it. I AM ENOUGH! I am enough as a loving husband. I am enough as a compassionate father. I am enough at a job that feels like it takes me for granted. I am enough when filled with joy. I am enough when scorched by pain. I am enough when I forgive others and I am enough when I ask forgiveness, whether it is given or not. I am enough even when other people don’t see it and I am enough even when I have a hard time believing it. And I am enough because I was created with divine love by God, the same God who loves me enough to surrender his own life upon a cross so that I can be in relationship with his triune and beautiful self forever!
The most beautiful and amazing part of the revelation is simply this—every time I speak the words “I am enough,” then it is also true that I’m simultaneously speaking God’s holiest and most precious name: I AM. And in reaffirming that truth, what I’m actually saying is “God is enough.”
I AM enough = GOD is enough.
So my friends, as you all go forward, through all of your ups and downs, remember to reaffirm to yourself at least once a day “I am enough” because you are actually stating “God is enough.” And when God is enough then our joys are that much sweeter, our trials are much less daunting, and the world’s lies fall apart right before our very eyes.
SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM
Post Script: Why the focus on 77 days you ask? It was my wise and lovely wife who pointed out the connection to the exact amount of time from crisis point to revelation and what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV) when Peter asked how many times should he forgive another, and Jesus answered 77 times (and in other translations it reads as seventy-times-seven). It has been exactly 77 days of forgiveness toward healing in so many broken areas. I’ve learned how to offer forgiveness freely and ask for it in return. I’ve also learned how to forgive myself, and that itself is world-changing.