While our stories of loss and tragedy can leave us feeling lost and unworthy, it’s possible to change your perspective to embrace a feeling of enoughness
I stood in one of my favorite royal blue dresses, the fit and flare one that showed off my best asset, my arms, in front of the group of women. I stood tall, at least for me in the black heels I hardly ever wear anymore. In them, it felt easier to feel the tower of my enoughness.
It was my first ministry keynote and I was intimidated by the level of faith and theology in the room, feeling not quite Christian enough. Intimated and yet trusting I was there for a reason with words of a mighty faith wrestle for both them and for me.
I’ve been in the business of enoughness for over 19 years — literally, the business of it. Yet, it hasn’t been until my mighty wrestle of faith that I have honestly settled into my own enoughness, no longer hustling for my worthiness.
You see, I’ve been working in traditional mental health since I was 19-years-old. I’ve worked with people who have struggled with substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, infertility, grief, and loss. I’ve heard some of the most horrible, gut-wrenching, and beyond-not-okay things in my office for a very long time. The last five of these years I have also been a Certified DaringWay Facilitator, and now a Certified Dare to Lead Facilitator (based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown). Many would say that Dr. Brown’s work is teaching us and showing us the light of our worthiness.
Yet, there I stood for my first ministry keynote, getting strength from three-inch heels (and Jesus, of course) while clinging to my enoughness.
I stood there knowing my fight to truly know His love, ready to share it with this group of women in front of me so they might also create it, fight for it, and find it for themselves.
How does a therapist, and a good therapist at that, trained in the work of Brené Brown, struggle so much to look in the mirror and say (and believe) the words: I am enough? How does she know that she does not have to hustle for her worthiness in her work or in her paycheck or in her relationships?
How could she not know she is enough? Her hard story, of course.
We all have our stories of trauma, loss, and tragedy. For me, my trauma of failed infertility treatments, the losses of three babies, and the work to accept I would never parent here on earth (at least in the traditional sense of the word) left me with an emptiness that both told me, made me, and left me with the all-consuming sense of being never enough.
I used to say there isn’t much like being a mental health therapist who hears terrible things in her office every day who can’t have babies to make you pretty mad at God. I wasn’t just mad though. I had never realized that these hard parts of my story had left me both doubting the love of God and had left me with that empty and striving hustle to never feel enough.
And then, as God would have it, I booked my first ministry keynote and through my writing, a lot of Googling bible verses, and even more prayer, I stopped calling my story ‘hard’.
We all have ‘hard’ stories; none of us get out of this life unscathed. When we call them hard we don’t honor them or ourselves. Most of all, when we call them hard, we don’t glorify Him.
Instead of hard stories, I like to think that we have big stories — stories so big that if we choose to do the work to make them a gift, we honor ourselves and glorify God.
I had made my big story a gift in so many ways: writing the books, teaching the work, and building this platform where people aren’t just intrigued by authentic living, but also courageous enough to learn and then implement the work into their own lives. I was hustling, striving, and proving my worth both to myself and most especially to the world. But despite these gifts that allowed me to be in service, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of not enoughness.
Too often, these big stories of ours tell us that we are never enough. We too easily believe the lies that we are what has happened to us, that it will never get better, that we have to just get over it, that we don’t matter, aren’t loveable, and not worthy. Pick your poison — I know your shame story packs a punch because mine does, too.
When we choose to do the work to truly know our enoughness, to stand in our sacred truth, and to practice the courage it takes to love ourselves and others well, the enoughness begins to settle from our head into our heart until it eventually becomes this inborn and faithful part of our soul.
How do I know?
Because I dug, searched, worked, taught, prayed, cried, screamed, and sought my way to it. As a Christian, I knew my enoughness because I am a loved daughter of the one true King. I also knew it because Christ died for my sins.
In the dark moments of life — the moments where the lies of shame, fear, and scarcity of this world feel too heavy — the old, hard stories no longer feel big.
Knowing this didn’t feel strong enough to keep my head above water, let alone praising Him. I needed to see my worthiness in His Words; not my worthiness because Christ died for me, but my worthiness just because.
So, what did I do? I Googled.
This time God gifted me Psalm 139:13. Depending on your translation, this biblical passage reads: He knitted us, formed us, created us, wove us together…choosing everything, knowing it all, choosing us.
He knitted us = We are just enough. Once I understood this, it was as if the scales began to fall not only from my eyes, but from this space between my head and my heart. I came to realize that the hard parts of my story not only weren’t my whole story, they were the pieces that led me to Him and the reasons I had to choose to do the work to receive Him.
Jesus will look at us all like He looked at the woman at the well in John 4. He will see all of us, flaws and all, and He will love us in spite of and despite those flaws. He will also look at us all like He looked at the man at the pool in John 5 and ask us: Do you want to be well? He always chooses us. He looked at the cross and then looked at us, and said, “You’re worth it.” The question is whether or not we will choose him back. In some seasons of our life, we will need to make that choice to choose Him back every single second of every single day. Especially in those times where our ‘not enough’ lies are triggered. During these times, not only must we choose Him back, but we must also take up our mat and walk.
It takes work to truly know our enoughness. It will also take work to make our big stories a gift. When we do the brave work of making our hard stories our big story, they become a gift — a gift to the world, a gift to us, and a gift from Him.
You may also enjoy reading Enoughness: A Journey of Self Care and Self Love, by Megan Hale