Let’s talk about that awkward moment when you are not enough. You were counting on your superhero clothes. You know, the ones that help you perform well at work, organize your life efficiently, or meet the needs of your minivan full of kids. But something happened that pointed out with total clarity that, although it may seem on the outside that you’ve got it all together, you . really . don’t.
You are not enough. You turn to the bottle to hide it. Or to the thrill of shopping. Or to the embrace of the next warm body. Or to managing your image with beauty products and surgeries. Or to being successful. Or to being needed by volunteering to excess. Or to pills, needles and the like. Or to…
Let’s make it more to the point. I’m talking about me. I was the one, who came to that realization the other day.
I learned anew that something I thought I had control of, really had control of me. I learned anew that something I thought I had control of, really had control of me. Does it matter what my particular addiction is? Let's just say it's more important to point out how common this is to the human experience.
Now, this is not a new phenomenon. Two thousand years ago, a man named Paul penned these words, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?1”
This is painful place, but it may finally reveal a path of blessing. We carry on our backs a load of lacking. We are aware of how many times we have trodden these same steps…the steps that lead back to the same pernicious pattern. The shame wears us down. The hopelessness threatens to overwhelm us. Finally comes a day when we say, “Something has got to change. I am ready to listen.”
Here’s the secret.
We don’t have to be enough. We can’t be enough. Only God can. Paul’s lament ends with a flourish of hope, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.2”
If these words resonate with you, my friend, there is hope. Humbly bow your head, admit your need to God, and ask him to make you teachable. He wants to make you free. He can make you free. And He is very gentle. “A bruised reed he will in no way crush, a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.3”
1 Romans 7: 18-19; 24 (Italics the author’s)
2 Romans 8:1-3
3 Isaiah 42:3 and again in Matthew 12:20