This past week I spent a few days at the Mount Carmel Retreat Center in Dallas, partially for my Spirituality class and partially for personal reasons. The truth is I’ve been struggling with feeling like I’m not ‘enough’ – not good enough, smart enough, lovable or loving enough, wise enough, holy enough, worthy enough, generous enough. My feelings of ‘not-good-enough’ have kept me at arm’s length from God, from my family and friends, from my schoolwork and relationships because if I’m not ‘enough’ then what’s the point in continuing on with them?
I felt I had to be faultless and flawless before I could go to God, and I had to be the most Christian of Christians in order to maintain the relationship. I had to be the absolute and ideal son for my parents. I had to be the unequivocal and unmatchable boyfriend. I had to be the matchless and impeccable friend.
I’ve burned more than my fair share of bridges because of this feeling of not being enough. I’ve ended relationships, dropped out of courses, cut off friendships, and tip-toed around God because I didn’t think I was enough. While I’ve wanted to be married, have close friendships, and a close walk with God, I’ve turned tail and ran because I didn’t think I was able to reach these self-perceived expectations of being ‘enough’.
As I spent these past few days in the silence of the monastery I came to the realization that I am, honestly, not good enough. And I’ll never be good enough. I’m never going to be the perfect son, boyfriend, or friend. I’m never going to be the best student, pastor, or Christian. I’m never going to be the most giving, generous, and kind person.
My not enough is, in fact, enough.
In my journal, I scribbled down this letter to myself:
Seriously, Sheth, God loves you. You! Not the impostor, not the poseur, not the image you try to maintain. God loves you in your broken, faulty, sinful, unkempt, messiness. God sees through the falsehood (and hopes you will, too) and knows that that Sheth is the true Sheth. You don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s love. You don’t have to have everything in order and your life looking pretty. You don’t have to be enough for God to love you completely. God loves you, Sheth.
I know it’s difficult to fathom…it’s hard to comprehend…and frankly a little terrifying. But it’s the truth. You’ve had moments when you felt it and knew this truth, but you ran away from it because it’s so beyond your knowledge and understanding. But somehow you can just know it, believe it, and revel in it’s goodness.
Sure, it’s terrifying on one hand to know that God loves you – God who created all, who can destroy all, who is everywhere, every time, always – God loves you. That’s scary.
But on the other hand it’s comforting to know that God loves you – you…a bit on this earth, a mere blip on the timeline…as small and insignificant as you are, Sheth, God loves you…you! You! God knows you and loves you!
Moments will come (probably tomorrow) when you don’t feel loved, when you don’t feel lovable, when you don’t feel like you’re enough for any of it. Nonetheless, God loves you still. No matter what you do or how you act or where you go, God will not stop loving you.
Sheth…I hope you can understand this…I mean, truly in your heart of hearts understand this: God loves you.
I’m not enough – and I never will be enough – and that’s okay. I don’t need to be enough for God to love me. I don’t need to be enough for my family to love me. I don’t need to be enough for my girlfriend, my friends, or my professors to love me. All I need to be is me – the real me, the true me, the not-enough Sheth who will relish the love and affection that is poured on me.
May we know that God loves who we are, where we are, and desires to be with us. And may we realize each day that our not-enough is enough.
much love. sheth.