Enough.

This shirt is more than a comfortable thing to wear, it’s a great conversation piece too. One time I wore it on a flight home from a conference. When I reached the connecting airport, my next flight was delayed and I was stranded in the Newark for hours. To soak up some time, I decided to invest in a meal at one of those overpriced airport restaurants.

My waiter thought my shirt was great (he told me so) and stressed the “enough” phrase in much awkward conversation. He emphasized the phrase in normal waiter questions like, “Do you have “enough” to drink? Is that “enough” cheese for your spaghetti? I do not think you’ve had “enough” bread.” And a bit more personal statement, “You look like you haven’t had “enough” rest.” (Yep, seriously!) Before I left the restaurant, I’m ashamed to admit that didn’t leave him “enough” of a tip, because he was right, I hadn’t had “enough” rest or “enough” patience, and I had had “enough” of his sense of humor. (Hey, I’m human.)

The idea of “enough,” or maybe more accurately “not enough,” comes up in many conversations and creeps into our thoughts and actions in sneaky little ways. While the use of the phrase is not necessarily bad or wrong, I am specifically referring to the the idea of “not enough” as a personal attack on our self-worth and confidence. In this way, the phrase carries weight and implications that can cause cracks in our confidence, create conflict and confusion, and can stop us from joyfully living out our purpose and passion.

Here are a few examples of the “not enoughs” I have entertained in my own life.

“I do not have enough skills.”

“I do not have enough of what it takes.”

“I did not get enough done.”

“I do not have enough time.”

“I did not get enough sleep to have enough energy to get enough done in the not enough time. “

Whatever the “not enough” is for you, the idea is still the same. The small phrase and accompanying emotional reactions can snowball into turbulence. The turbulence can turn into a negativity that forges disappointment and disillusionment. Constant attention to these things can create a disheartening in us.

“Not enough” is an expectation, a limitation, and a lie. It’s often fought against with cute memes, inspirational quotes, and half-truths that leave those who hear and read them with a dissatisfaction and desire for more. We want so badly want to believe what we hear and read, but cannot seem to make the connection to what the words say and how to apply them to our reality.

While repeated “you are enough” statements seem like they work in the moment, they do not create lasting change. They miss out on the core truths of Christ. It’s only with Jesus, “not enough” turns into “more than enough.” It’s only in Jesus Christ we can reclaim our true identity, counterattack comparison, realize we can rest in contentment, and continue forward in confidence.

The truth is, we were not created for just enough, we were created for more than enough. Not more striving and stressing, but more seeking and surrendering.

To discover these truths, requires a step. A step of faith in humility toward the unlimited power of Jesus. An act of courage to believe he has more than enough love and everything you need. A brave belief that Jesus wants to give you hope for a future that will be more than you ever thought possible. All this takes trust and work. An inside out type of work.

If you are interested in what type of work this may be, or want to discover a way to conquer your “not enoughs,” stayed tuned. Over the next few blog posts, I’ll be writing more about these things and challenging us to apply truths, ideas and strategies to live in a way that is more than enough and full of peace, love and joy.

“Not enough” is an expectation, a limitation, and a lie.

WONDER-FULL Wednesday- Keep Your Feet on The Ground

Keep Your Feet on the Stars and your feet on the ground- Theodore Roosevelt

I reached for the ice axe handles and held the door open as my three children joyfully stepped inside the “store of grand-adventures-waiting-to-happen.” Wide-eyed, the kids and I stopped to stare at the hanging bicycles, the colorful walls of packs, and the people buzzing in and out of racks of clothing and equipment. The store smelled of hope and wonder. I felt out of place, like an awkward preteen on her first day of junior high school. I did not know where to go or who to ask or even what questions to ask but I had three kids with me and I was their leader in this escapade.

We had come to buy new hiking boots. Over the weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to try on my old hiking boots just to make sure that they still fit. I would be wearing these boots for hours and hours, over many miles, for several days, they needed to be comfortable and fit correctly.

I wasn’t surprised to find the boots were tight and uncomfortable. I had purchased them back when my feet were a size and half smaller (my feet have grown 1/2 inch with each of my pregnancies.) My poor, old boots had been neglected for many years. The closest they had come to gracing my feet was their placement besides my well-worn, favorite pair of sneakers. Part of me was glad and excited at the prospect of purchasing new boots but another part of me knew that buying hiking boots was not as easy as buying a pair of flip-flops. There were many different brands, different styles for different terrains, and an added expense to consider.

old hiking boots
The Poor, Old Boots

The kids and I found the shoe section and met a very nice saleswoman named, Helen. A soft-spoken woman in her early sixties, Helen became my BSF (best store friend.)  I confessed that I had no clue what I was doing or what I needed. Helen chuckled and smiled confidently. She gave me hope that everything was going to work out and she was going to lead me to the right boot. At the shoe display, she talked about styles, terrains, leather verses fabric, toe-boxes and ankle support. All this information seemed foreign and overwhelming to me and I found myself paying attention to only two things-the two things I could understand- the cost and the look of the boot.

After some consultation, Helen went off to find some boots for me to try on. She soon returned carrying three boxes and a pair of socks.  She put the boxes down and handed me the “clean” pair of socks. This was going to stretch me. Everyone has their issues. I had some doubts about the cleanliness of those socks. They did not seem like the disposable Peds that come in the unmarked, white box found in most shoe departments. No wrappers to indicate that they were new. No “SAMPLE” stamped on the sock.  I could not help but wonder whose feet had been in them or if they had been washed. I looked at the socks and I looked over at my kids who were getting more restless by the minute. This needed to get done and we needed to get out of here. I pushed aside my hesitation and slipped the socks on my feet. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

DSC_0390
“Clean” Socks

Helen schooled me on the criteria of a good fitting boot: 1.) No cramped toes. You have to be able to wiggle and move them. 2.) Tap the front of your boot to the floor. Your index finger should fit behind your heel. 3.) Walk on the “mountain.”  Your foot should not slip and toes should not touch the front of the boot.

The very first pair of boots I tried on met all three criteria. They were in the right price range, not as bright as I would have liked, but still pretty. I tried on two other pairs just to be sure but I still liked the first ones the best. There was no time for doubts or second guesses.  I looked at Helen and told her I would take them.  Helen was happy to have a sale! I was happy to have come to a decision! The kids were happy to be heading to the door! It was a win for everyone!

mountain
The “Mountain”

With the hiking shoes purchased, we walked past the ice axe handles and into the fresh air. The first major item checked off my hiking list. The shopping trip had stretched me out of my comfort zone and I had learned something new in the process. I was one step closer to the mountains and happy to know that my new boots would keep my feet comfortable, dry and firmly on the ground.

new boots
The New Boots

Hesitation

I hesitated to start this blog.  Conversations with other moms, about mommy-blogs, produced chuckles and comments like:  “Why would she want to write that?” “How does she have time to write a blog? I barely have time to ..xyz…” Not wanting to be the receiver of those chuckles and comments, I laughed along and kept quiet my own desires to one day start a blog.

In the safety of a few friends, I have shared my thoughts about wanting to blog and in those conversations it was ME who chuckled and made the comments. “But who would want to read what I write?” “Do I really have something to say?” “Writing is not my strong point.”  Those dear, encouraging friends smiled, encouraged me to write, and assured me that they would read what I wrote. Time after time I have talked myself out of it, convinced that “blogging” was not for me. My stalling to be out of a lack in self-confidence and self-consciousness about sentence structure and grammar. (I’ll save the topic of my struggles with a Type-A personality for a future post.)

Days and months went by, but the desire to write and share my ideas persisted. Then came an opportunity to write a few paragraphs for a leadership website. I tried to ignore the opportunity. I tried to not think about what I could write about or the things I could say. I tried to convince myself that I was not a writer and someone better than me could write it. But the harder I tried to stop thinking about it, the more I thought about it and the only way I could get “it” to stop (what ever “it” was) was to sit down and type everything that flowed out of my mind and heart. It felt so good! Therapeutic!

After my initial word and thought “dump,” I took time to add and delete and improve my writing. It was like crafting but without the glue, ribbon, and paper. When the post was finished,  it was more than accomplishment, it was like something that had been stirring inside me was brought out and was staring at me on the paper (or I should say on the computer screen.) I know, that sounds very dramatic but that is exactly how I felt. I decided to send the passage in with no expectations, just thankful that I had accomplished the task. Long story short, the post was picked and posted to the website. And that small bit of writing is what gave me the confidence to write some more and start this blog.

I teach my kids that they should try new things and press on in difficulty. I tell them the more they practice, the better they will become. I also tell my kids that God made them perfect just the way they are, what others say or think should not change what they want to try or who they want to be (in a negative ways, of course.)

I want to write because it is a challenge for me. I know I have a lot to learn. It is a chance to improve myself in a new and interesting way and be an example to my children.  I want to write because excuses, hesitations, other people’s thoughts, and missed opportunities is not the way to fully live. This is an opportunity to take my own advice and practice what I preach one blog post at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.- Lao Tzu