I’ve always been kind of a lot, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. I have a lot of emotions, a lot of words. I have a lot of feelings about the ways things should be. When I was a child, I was the one who was too much and not enough, all at once, and this experience has colored and followed me into adulthood. It’s only now, decades later, that I look at these statements and wrestle them down for what they always were: lies.
I’m still wrestling. But before I ever knew there was anything to wrestle down, I received the same message from people around me, whether they said it out loud or not, and the repetition of the message made me believe it was true, layer upon layer upon layer. Over the years, I’ve lost friends because of my perceived too-muchness. Counted myself out of groups because of my self-inflicted not-enoughness. I’ve overparented my children and bulldozed groups I’m in and spoken into situations I had no business speaking into as an active defense of other people and all along, I’ve thought my goal was about them – that no one else would ever bear that gnawing feeling that’s accompanied me through much of my adult life. I want to spare others from the scrapping, desperate, clawing attempt at finally getting the balance right: to matter just as much as others, but not too much. It’s a tightrope and a daily practice and I get it wrong a lot. But I’m still up here, making progress, inch by inch. And I want things to be okay for them, the people around me and especially the underdogs, I really do, but also, I want things to be okay for me.
Like you, I’ve been misunderstood. My motives, my goals, my dreams, my words, my manner of moving through the world – they’ve all been mischaracterized at times. It’s painful when that happens, and it happens to everyone, I know. I’m learning as I craft my own yolk to depend on my own self-assessment more than the assessments of others, and certainly, more than what I often wrongly perceive as their appraisals.
Because, before any relationship or vocation or action, I am a Child of God, known completely and loved before I was ever born. I was made for a purpose or maybe a whole hatful of them, but nothing about my value shifts or changes depending on anything I do or don’t do. I won’t know until my life’s course is done about the handful of words I offered or withheld at the right time to a fellow traveler, about the ways I stepped out in faith, about my labors to trust and serve and know that were uniquely designed for me, but one thing I’ll say about me: I am always doing my best. And one more thing: I am tired. Oh, and one other thing: I am enough.
And, friend, if you are doing your best and if you are tired and if you’re still working to know and trust and serve or if you are sitting in a chair and doing nothing but reading these words in this moment, the same is, of course, true of you.
You are enough.