In a world so concerned about protecting other’s feelings, as Christians we do a disservice to others if we preach the “You are enough!” message and stop there. Truth is, you are enough only because Christ paid your penalty. It’s nothing you did, it’s who Christ is. You are only enough because God deemed it to be enough for you to come to him as you are- broken and messy- and lay at his feet.
As a woman in recovery, I’ve heard therapists, peers, and the recovery community tell me over and over for years now that “I am enough just as I am.” The problem with that is when the message doesn’t have a semicolon. I was born a sinner and no work I do can change that fact or remedy it. I am not enough- simple as that. I am not enough to save myself. I am not enough as a wife, as a friend, as a daughter, as an aunt, or as any other title I might be given. Hear me out- these aren’t a pile of negative words I have thrown together to discourage you. I want to add a prepositional phrase to these statements.
I am not enough without Christ.
I am not enough as a wife without Christ.
I am not enough as a friend without Christ.
I am not enough as a daughter without Christ.
I am not enough as an aunt without Christ.
I am not enough as an employee without Christ.
I firmly believe we are living in a society of people so terrified of offending others that we will say whatever we need to and twist whatever truth in order to make those around us feel good. I’d say this especially happens within certain kinds of churches. Pastors stand at the pulpit and preach a “feel good” message so that you will come back the next week, inspired. Partial truth is taught. I don’t know about you, but I was raised to believe that if it isn’t the whole truth- than it is lies and deceit.
We don’t need more “feel good messages” coming from the pulpit.
We need conviction and the whole gospel- the gospel that tells me that I am a desperate and undeserving sinner who needs mercy from a just and righteous King.
We don’t need more books and podcasts with messages about “women empowerment” and “creating yourself” and “being a badass” –we need older women teaching younger women and older men teaching younger men about who Christ says they are and how they are absolutely nothing without Him (Check out Titus 2 for reference).
2 Corinthians 3:4-5 says, “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; but our sufficiency is from God.”
It’s easier to skip to the parts of Scripture that talk about how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. But I don’t want to walk in a “I am enough and God is good,” mindset. I want to surrender myself to the “I am not enough but God is good” way of life. As Isaiah cries out in Isaiah 6:5, “And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’”
I cannot possibly be enough without Christ. Yet as dirty as I am, as broken and messy as my life may look- God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) The Apostle Paul boasted in his weakness because through it, Christ was glorified.
My story isn’t complete without Christ. I am open about my recovery journey because there is no way I would be nearing three years sober if it weren’t through Christ’s strength and power in me. My weakness has allowed Christ to move in and be glorified.
I am not enough to stay sober. But with Christ, only with Christ, I am.
My heart aches now when I see the “You are enough” message. I know there are good intentions behind it. For years that message encouraged me that I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone. I was enough as I was-without having to put on a mask (literally and figuratively y’all) and that my personality, my thoughts, my feelings- they were all valid.
And please don’t get me wrong- I’m not disputing the truth in that. But I won’t say that you are enough because you aren’t. You aren’t enough as you are because you need Christ. We all do.
Times are changing and while my blog posts in the past have always included mention of my faith, I never want to miss an opportunity to share the convicting truths of the Gospel. While Salvation will make us “white as snow” and we are promised that the Lord “blots out all our transgressions” – It is important to emphasize the fact that you’ll never stop needing Christ. It isn’t a “pray the prayer and you’re good” gospel. We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling- relying fully on the grace of God. We are given the sweet honey of Scripture that instructs us on how to practice Gospel living. You will never stop needing His grace because you will always be human- at the mercy of a holy and just God.
You are not the exception to God’s grace and mercy, and that’s the beauty of this all. You aren’t enough, and there is nothing you can do to earn His love and forgiveness. No human act can earn the mercy of God- He pours it out freely despite all of your habits, hang-ups, and mess.
I can rest in the assurance that my value doesn’t fluctuate.
1 Peter 2:9, “…For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness and into His wonderful light.”