I have had the very recent privilege of serving on a church planter assessment team. This was a team of 3 women and 9 men from various backgrounds of service in ministry, plus one. The ‘plus one’ being a licensed psychologist, also with a background in ministry.
When I first received the email asking if I would participate on this team, I wondered...why me? While it’s true that my husband and I have experience in doing both a new church plant and a replant, I wondered what I was going to bring to the table in working with this team. I think I was the oldest assessor on the team. You know...with age comes wisdom. So there’s that.
Still, I began to question if I was cut out for the task. Even though at that point in the conversation, I wasn’t exactly sure what the task would require of me.
I tend to analyze things. It’s an integral part of my personality. So, in spite of the fact that I can be self-confident and secure in knowing who I am, I can be a second-guesser at times. How about you?
I think we all at one time or another question ourselves:
Am I enough?
Am I equipped for the task ahead?
Can someone else do this better?
Is someone else already doing this better?
Why would I even think that I can do this?
I am not enough...or am I?
Have you ever found yourself asking any of these questions? I think if we are honest, we would all admit to questioning ourselves. We question our own abilities. We question the intentions of our own hearts. We question current callings in light of our past accomplishments.
It becomes a spiral of questioning that leads us down a cluttered path to unrest. Unrest. Because while the world tells us that we are enough, we recognize in our hearts of hearts that we are lacking in some way...we are not enough. Many times we see our own weaknesses. Or we see someone else ‘doing it better’. And so, in that place of unrest we find ourselves looking for help to shore ourselves up under the weight of those weaknesses so that we can be enough.
And honestly, just this longing to be enough can be exhausting. In seeking to be enough we tend to compare ourselves with others. If we want to feel good about ourselves we compare ourselves to someone who is not doing as well as we are. If we are feeling down on ourselves, it is often because we are looking at someone who is experiencing success in an area where we are feeling like a failure. Comparison in this way leads to exhaustion and it does indeed steal our joy.
Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
You may be asking, “if it’s true that I am not enough, then why does everyone, even my sisters in Christ, tell me that I am enough?”
Maybe it’s just me or it’s just semantics. But if we want to understand why we are not enough we need to understand first what it means to be enough. So let’s quickly explore the word: Enough
The Cambridge English Dictionary tell us this:
Enough: determiner, adverb, pronoun
as much as is necessary; in the amount or to the degree needed.
So if enough is as much as is necessary or to the degree needed, how does that apply to the statement that you are enough? It would seem to imply that no matter your circumstances or what you are facing, you have what it takes within yourself to do whatever that situation requires of you. Whatever is needed to the degree that it is needed...you have what it takes to be or do what is before you.
Okay, so at first glance this seems to be very encouraging. If I am enough, then I can do basically anything I am called on to do.
Except, I can’t. Not really. I’m not superwoman and the thought that I am enough now becomes a pressure filled reservoir of expectation with fear of failure thrown into the mix. No thank you!
Being enough implies that I don’t need you or anyone else to help me be all I need to be. In order to be enough, I am required to be all and do all...and I’m just too old and too tired for that!
So what do we do when we question ourselves or our own abilities in a given situation? How do we become enough?
For me, being asked to serve on this church planting assessor team as a team leader was one of those moments. Since it seemed to come out of the blue, I believed it was a God thing. For whatever reason, He wanted me on the team. So, in spite of my own self doubts, I said yes.
Let me tell you that after two rather intense 12 and a half hour days of leading a team of two other women as we conducted interviews, took notes, made observations, and recorded scores while meeting with three different couples(church plant candidates), my brain was fried. On the afternoon of the third day we were to let the candidates know our recommendations.
On the night before that last day as I settled back into bed I knew that I did not have the brain-bandwidth to go back over all of the information to be more prepared for the next day. I couldn’t even keep the names of the candidates in my head at that moment. How was I ever going to remember the details of their stories? If I couldn’t remember that, how could I encourage them or speak into their life?
At that moment, I was not enough. I knew that I was lacking and I could not do this on my own. And so I prayed and slept.
The next morning as I prepared myself for the day, drove to the meeting, and sat in the room for instruction for the last meeting with our couples I prayed, “Lord, you know I am not enough for the assignment ahead. I’m tired and my post-covid brain is tired and glitching. Give me the words that You want them to hear. They need to hear from you and not me. If I hear from you, I will speak up. But if I don’t...I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us this is the way forward to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
So I leaned into the Father, confident that even though I was not, He was...enough. His wisdom, His counsel, and His direction is enough. I wasn’t sure if He would lead me to say anything at that moment. But as each couple sat before us He gave me a vision and words to say that were specific to each person. Particularly to each woman. I was amazed at the words coming out of my mouth. His wisdom...not mine. I didn’t have to wonder if it was the right thing to say. He can be trusted.
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on the last evening they spent together, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Unless you abide in me, you will bear no fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Do you get that? Nothing! If we want to be enough, we have to be connected to the One who is enough.
I lean into Him because He is enough. He enables me, gives me strength, to do all the things He calls me to do.
Are you a second-guesser? Do you question yourself in your role in the workplace? In your home? As a wife, or mother? Lean into Him. Follow hard after Christ. Get into the Word and let it get into you. Talk to your heavenly Father throughout your day. He is your source of strength and courage to step out in confidence. The confidence that through Him and only through Him you are enough.
Written By: Gay Idle
For more from Gay, head to her website: www.gayidle.com
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