“Will I ever be enough?”
I was talking to Kyle Worley on the phone, driving home from a job I hated. I worked long hours, and I worked hard, but every day I seemed to clock-out more beaten-down and more deflated than the day before. I still remember Kyle’s response. “Stephen,” he said, “there are going to be a thousand times in your life when you ask yourself that question. And the answer will always be the same: Jesus is enough.”
As I take an honest look back at that conversation, I can see the source of my question wasn’t exhaustion or feeling unappreciated at work—it was disappointment. Deep disappointment. And the disappointment I felt was with myself.
I was about to become a dad. I was wrestling with being a man. And, in the process, I was wrestling with everything I thought a man should be. A man provides. He loves his job, is the best at his job, and is loved by everyone in his life. He comes home spilling at the brim with life to pour into his family—life flowing out of all his achievements, all of his friendships, and all of his fulfillment. But I felt like the opposite. I felt empty. I felt as though I had very little to give to anyone. Was this the trajectory of my life? I had obviously failed. But, would I ever be enough?
Maybe you’ve been there too. Under similar or different circumstances, but asking the same question. It’s terrifying. If the answer is no, then what are you even here for?
But the answer is no. We could try to white knuckle it; to commit our days to living out the vision of whoever we’ve convinced ourselves we’re supposed to be. But sooner or later—in the course of your life or at its end—the house of cards has to fall down. You will never be enough for that job, for that spouse, for that parent. You can’t be. But you weren’t made to be.
And through Jesus, you can be. Because Jesus is enough. When he died, he said, “It is finished.” He offers that statement—that colossal sigh of relief—to you today. We know that in Christ, we have been adopted as God’s children (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). What kind of message does God have for his children? “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”
When was the last time you paused from your striving and took a moment to meditate on that declaration? To hear your father say “I love you and I’m very pleased with you?” To sit in his words and believe he means them for you?
You see, if Jesus is enough, you don’t have to be. If Jesus is enough, you’re enough even when you’re not.
That is the gift offered to us in Christ. I pray God helps each of us to receive it, over and over again.