Y’all, I feel like I never do enough. I am a wife. A pastor’s wife. I am a mom. A mom of 8. I am grandmama to 4 precious souls. I am a daughter, sister, friend. Homeschool, laundry, and cooking can fill up my days alone. But I like to teach my BFG. I like to study the Scriptures. I like doing craft projects with those Cubbies in AWANA. But I feel like I never DO quite enough. The question is, why? The answer is a theological misunderstanding of enough. And rightly understood this is where peace is found.
The Problem of Comparison
The first is a problem of comparison. I tend to compare myself to other people. I see what others are doing, and I tend to think, “I should be doing that too.” (Whatever that is.) I feel like if I were just a bit more spiritual, I would be more effective and 100% gifted in all ways. A sort of spiritual Wonder Woman, if you will. This comparing is a bad way to think and, at its root, is a theological problem. Teddy Roosevelt is quoted to have said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” He is right; this kind of thinking does not produce joy. It produces unthankfulness because the issue is pride.
The truth is when we see someone doing something well or serving another person, being praised, or excelling in something. Especially if those we see are other Christians, and they are pointing others to Christ. Their service should bring us great joy! But most of us have to work on this.
The Problem of Projection
The second problem is this; I tend to project my feelings (insecurities) about myself onto other people. What I mean is, I act like I know what others think about me. In doing so, I harm my relationship with others and create an impossible situation for fellowship. At its root, this, too, is a theological problem. The truth is, I don’t even know myself very well. When I think like this, I am acting as if I am all-knowing. I am trying to be God. My husband said recently in a sermon, “Sin is substituting ourselves for God.” He is right, and that is what we have to fight against. Mainly, that battle takes place in our minds. The way we think.
A Gospel Application Problem
A theological problem. A problem of how I think about God and a problem of how I view myself in light of who He is. And in essence, it’s a failure to see myself and other people through a Gospel lens.
The first trap I fall into is that when I think like this, it is because I am trying to be sufficient. Sufficient means enough or adequate. I am not sufficient. I am not enough or adequate. And yet I am, in Christ, I am because He is sufficient.
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, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Here’s my problem; I forget where my sufficiency comes from. In reality, it’s through my thorns, my inadequacies, my weaknesses, that Christ’s power is displayed. His complete sufficiency covers all my insufficiency. He is the all-sufficient Savior and the only one worthy of praise. It is true, I do not do enough, but it’s not that that should drive my thoughts. It is that I do anything that matters for eternity. I carry in this clay pot the words of life. This gospel service should be what drives me.
The second trap is this; I forget that Christ not only covers my sins. He also covers my righteousness. My husband put it so poignantly in a devotional video he did for our church last week. He was talking about Christ’s last words on the cross; It is finished, tetelestai, paid in full. And he said this, “Paid in full is written over our sins and our good deeds.” This truth is what gives me true freedom! He has paid it all. He is sufficient. There is nothing I can do for Him. Nothing is enough. Nothing is sufficient. And yet, He gives opportunities, not to be enough, but to display His strength, His sufficiency through my weaknesses.
So yes, it’s true, I can never do enough. But in Christ, that’s the point.