The root of overcoming the lie, “I’m not enough” is found in finding vulnerability within community. M.B.
On Instagram, I asked my followers for suggestions on what they wanted to read about. Ironically, only one of my friends (Jordan Brenize) responded with “vulnerability.” I was, at first, kind of bummed I didn’t get more response on this one, but I believe it brought more merit to the topic of this post. It reminded me that any pride I took from an overwhelming response to one of my posts can be totally stripped away by a lack of response on another.
I realized that my value in that moment was not determined by truth or how God sees me, but rather determined by a number. I was no longer in the zone of creating to create; because my heart aches when I don’t write. I found myself, hungering and thirsting after the approval and applause of others. I even thought of trying to trick or convince people to respond with FOMO without looking desperate.
As silly as it sounds, don’t we all do this in our own ways? we try to cover up what we see as weakness in our own lives so that others will see us in our most refined light. If it’s social media with scenarios like mine, or like some, trying to up sell the fun you’re having so people can see you’re not boring or ordinary. Some of us will act totally different around our bosses then our coworkers if it means impressing them for that praise or raise, while still trying to keep up our image around our co-workers. Some will donate publicly and others will buy expensive clothing or shoes or you fill in the blank. Some will fake an identity to win the heart of a man or woman and end up loosing themselves in the process. Some will hide within themselves, taking on the title of shy or mysterious. They’re afraid of how people see them if they were to actually speak their mind. The main fear behind each of these examples is this; “I’m not enough.” It’s normally posed in question form, “are you enough?” provoking the answer, “no, but what if I (do/become/say) this? then maybe I will become enough. This fear is no stranger or new theory to humanity. The first man and woman felt incomplete, even though they had everything they needed, in the closest community with God and each other.
This lie has started wars, divided churches, separated families, taken lives, caused people to cheat and steal; each act of sin motivated by striving to be someone that is enough. As each of us sells ourselves short, we believe it’s for our better, even if ultimately we know it’s not where satisfaction is found. But Thankfully, we aren’t forced to stay in that mindset, because the truth is, in this moment, you are enough! We all have weak seasons of life.
The root of overcoming the lie, “I’m not enough” is found in finding vulnerability within community.
The thing about vulnerability is it often gets mixed up with transparency. Transparency is putting yourself on the internet, to then hide behind your screen, looking for pity or praise. Transparency is also showing up to a small group or even a stage and sharing all of your problems and avoiding or not hearing out those people you’ve opened up to. In a good, heathy context, opening up to a solid community, or a good couple of friends if it’s a sensitive issue, is the best thing you can do, although part two is the most important step you can make: Let them touch your problems. The Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ.”
Transparency, like a ship in a bottle, says, I’m here! I’m fragile, but don’t tough me. Take pity, but don’t you dare try and change me. Vulnerability is if that same fragile ship was able to be taken out of that bottle and set on a table before a group of people, knowing full well that if they choose, they can with one swift swing, smash it into a million pieces, or harder yet, point out and help you improve your ship towards greater beauty. It takes humility to let people into your heart and the places we feel dirty or not good enough, or crazy. The amazing part of this, and the reason I say that vulnerability within community is the best way to fight the lie, “I’m not enough” is because a lot of places where we feel alone or out of our minds or dirty or ashamed are the same feelings that other people in your community have likely gone through, are going through or will go through. It gives you encouragement that it won’t last forever, creates bonds with people that you can fight side by side with, and it gives foresight to those who will possibly go through it.
With all of that, anyone can find so much freedom, although, as a Christian, I believe without Jesus as the center of your community, when your community isn’t looking at you through the eyes of Jesus, and if your heart isn’t first going to him for help in times of need, then there’s a higher chance that in your community, those people will accidentally speak something into your life that isn’t true. They will tell you that you’re not enough or that you must be someone or something to finally be happy or free.
With the perspective that none of us have it in our own strength to be perfect or earn our way to heaven, we can then see we are all enough for Jesus. He sent his son to earth because, in our sin, we deserve death, and he didn’t want that to be the end of the story. Jesus took our place and said, if you come to me, know I’ve created you in my image for a purpose and a plan. Stand by me. Believe I am the son of God and that through me and only me, you can be set free. Turn your face away from all the things that left you lonely and unsatisfied and turn your face to me and I will fill you with joy unending, love overflowing, peace that passes human understanding, and I will even give you a helper, my Holy Spirit, to live inside of you.
That seems like the most no-brainer decision I’ve ever herd, but he also desires and even prays in John 17:20-21 that we (his followers) would be unified, and not just unified, but that we would be one as Him (Jesus) and the Father God are one. That’s a pretty wild prayer, but if Jesus prayed it, I believe it can happen!
In closing, if you don’t have a community that you can trust and lean into for help, please reach out and even pray that God would lead you to one. If you don’t know what Jesus thinks of you or how he sees you, ask him, ask your community, and read the Bible, his word. (If you don’t have one, there’s a free “youversion” bible app thats really comprehensive and easy to use.) Be open with God and others about your questions, insecurities, and fears and let them help bring you towards a place of freedom so that you can confidently be you without striving to fulfill someone else’s dreams. You are enough.