Not Enough

It is always there. It never rests. 

I try to ignore it. I try to muffle it. I try to shout over it.

All to no avail. It is as persistent as a mosquito on a humid summer night.

It pops up with crushing regularity.

And with two words, that nagging little voice throws buckets of ice-cold water on everything I touch.

I write a blog post.

“Not enough,” it says.

I bring Joan coffee in bed.

“Not enough,” I hear again.

I give money to my church, my favorite politicians, the American Red Cross, the ragged man on the street corner holding a sign, the environment, and to my grandchildren.

Again, I am greeted with the same refrain; “Not enough.”

I pray. I search scripture. I fast. I engage “others” in holy conversation. I stand on my head in the lotus position.

“Nope. Still not enough,” it says.

I walk. I lift weights. I hit the elliptical for 15 hard minutes a couple of times a week.

“You’re kidding… right?” it says, now descending into pure snarkitude.

I wear myself out trying to silence the voice of RIC… the Relentless Inner Critic.

I get tired of continually falling short… of my own goals… of other people’s expectations… of God’s ideals. I wonder how many more years it will take until I finally get my act together.

And then, right when I am expecting him least, up pops Jesus. That comforter. That guiding light. That soother of troubled souls.

And what does Jesus have to say to me, in the middle of my crisis of confidence?

He holds my hand, looks me squarely in the eye and says, “RIC’s right, you know.” 

Taken seriously aback, I reply, “Excuse me, Jesus? What did you just say???”

“I said, ‘RIC’s right.’ That little aggravating, ingratiating voice telling you your best efforts are not enough just hit the proverbial nail smack dab on the head.”

Jesus continued – ignoring my gaping carp-like mouth. “There is no way here on earth that you – or anyone else, for that matter – will ever be able to live perfectly enough, give perfectly enough, care perfectly enough, or work out perfectly enough. And that song you are trying to learn on the guitar right now? Same thing applies to that,” he said.

He went on, “It is time to face the hard truth about life; you will ALWAYS fall short. You and all 7+ billion of your fellow earth-dwellers.”

Gee thanks, Jesus,” I say, trying – not well – to hide the sarcasm in my voice. “That’s a real day brightener right there.”

Jesus replied, “Well, my buddy Matthew quoted me in his book once saying, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’ Remember that? There is a great follow-up to that one, too. It was written by one of my all-time favorite hype-men, Paul. I believe his words went something like, ‘My grace is sufficient for your needs.’”

“The point is,” he… sorry… He continued, “You were not put here on earth to perform. You were put here to live and to LOVE. You probably remember that time when the rich guy – a guy with the same kinds of anxiety I see in you, by the way – asked me which of the 633 Mosaic laws was most important? Do you remember what I told him?”

“Yes!” I said, eager to win bonus points here in the lightning round. “You said there were only two that mattered. The commandments to love God and love your neighbor.”

“BINGO,” said God-in-the-flesh. 

“And you know what else?” Jesus said. “You will never do either of those perfectly either. But I will see you trying and bless you for trying.”

And for me… for today… that is enough.

Abundant blessings;

12 Responses to “Not Enough”

  1. 1 ephesians413
    October 25, 2022 at 11:34 pm

    So true. It’s only His life in us that will ever be enough. I’m going to think about that tonight. Thank you.

  2. October 26, 2022 at 12:29 am

    Good post, Russell. I think most Americans, and probably others, are caught in the trap of ” not enough.” So glad Jesus set us free from having to be perfect/enough.

  3. October 26, 2022 at 12:44 am

    This is the second blog I read, 12 hours apart, which pointed out that on my own I am not enough. I need Jesus.
    Im not always perceptive but this seems to be the message the Father has for me today.
    Thank you for this post.
    Be blessed~Kate

  4. October 26, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Thanks Russell. That’s really helpful. It’s a challenge… perhaps a paradox. On the one hand I want to avoid the complacency that doesn’t care that I’m not enough; on the other hand I learn to accept my inadequacies and imperfections without beating myself up. With God’s help I both learn self-acceptance and develop self-improvement.

    • October 26, 2022 at 10:16 am

      A paradox, indeed:

      For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.

      Can God allow mortals to achieve the impossible? Hear that hollow echo….
      Some say, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.” (That actually doesn’t work for me, as I believe that it’s too often used as a cop-out. Me, I try to do the best I can, while acknowledging that I’m just as flawed as my neighbour.)

      Excellent, thought-provoking post as always, Russell. Thank you! 🙏

      • October 26, 2022 at 2:03 pm

        I am very fond of the phrase, “I did my best.” It helps me move on from today’s challenges and turn to face the challenges of tomorrow. At the same time, I have to admit it is me who is defining what “my best” is.

      • October 26, 2022 at 2:33 pm

        I see no problem with that. Once you start allowing others to define what ‘your best’ is for you, I think you’re on a slippery slope.

  5. October 29, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    AAAAA-men! Said your not-enough friend.

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