29 Oct for when you feel you will never be enough, some truth.
Today, I feel dull.
Dull and tired.
Like this feverish sore throat nonsense will never leave. Like I will never have enough energy to get everything I want to get done. Like my children will never be satisfied despite all my attempts to create for them exciting things to do. Like I will always be cold in this house and find myself working with the lights off (why?). Like I will never be creative again.
And I am writing this all down to acknowledge that it is ridiculous.
That my feelings have a lot to answer for. Because they tell me lots of lies.
Like how I am not good enough, or haven’t achieved enough.
Like how I am not thin enough, or interesting enough.
Like how I am not witty enough or creative enough.
When if I stop and think. When if I pull the truth out from under the rug where it has been hiding. When if I allow myself a moment of grace, and to put the heating on, I will realise.
I am enough.
I have enough for today and tomorrow.
Enough time, enough energy, enough space, enough ideas. And I know this as I remind myself that there is always enough grace.
Because this grace doesn’t run out.
There is always enough.
There is a story in the Bible about a woman who Jesus speaks to. She is known as the woman at the well (John 4) and was not the kind of woman the religious people (pharisees) would have thought Jesus should be speaking with. She was a Samaritan and Jesus was a Jew. She was alone at the well and at that time women were only spoken to when they were with their husband, and rarely then by a Rabbi. She was also a woman with a reputation.
If she lived nowadays the things she would have been called would not be words spoken in respectable company.
And she knew it.
She knew she was not good enough. She was not clean enough. She was not liked enough, or accepted enough.
That was why she was collecting her water in the middle of the day. So she wouldn’t have to come into contact with all the other people who collected their water in the early morning, who crossed the street so they wouldn’t be seen with her. So she wouldn’t be reminded yet again of all the ways she had let herself and everyone else down. She even says to Jesus, when he asks her for a drink of water,
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman, how can you ask me for a drink?”
But when she meets with Jesus he does not treat her how she expects. He did not give her what she thought she deserved. He offers her more than she could ever have hoped for. He knows exactly who she is and loves her anyway. He offers her the gift of life, of acceptance.
That is the word that is used ‘gift’.
I love what she says about Jesus, she says;
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did”.
This sentence is one of my favourite in the Bible (which I do know is a bit weird).
Jesus welcomes this woman despite her reputation, despite her behaviour, despite her past, despite her present. He knows her, completely, and includes her anyway. She does not need to be better, or cleverer, or more beautiful or popular. She does not need to be more competent, or holy, or have a greater capacity for others, or even more compassion.
I love this phrase, because in it I hear her joy.
The joy of knowing you are lacking and finding suddenly you are enough.
The joy of knowing you can’t fix it and finding out you are chosen anyway.
The joy of knowing it is not anything you have done, or not done.
The joy of understanding the word ‘gift’. This gift of grace. Freely given. Undeserved.
This is the grace I can count on.
When I know ‘everything i ever did’ and it doesn’t amount to enough in my eyes, or the eyes of the world, I am invited to stay and join in anyway. I am included and accepted.
I am made enough.
And so for me today, on this grey, hard work, tired, dull afternoon, I choose grace.
I choose to remember that it is a gift.
And I will turn the heating on and make myself a brew, let myself off the hook and feel the relief.
Feel free to join me.
It’s going to be okay.