by Robyn Ferradas
This will probably not be my most popular blog post, and I’m okay with that. I’ve thought a lot about this particular topic, and I’m ready to share my thoughts, even if it departs from “the mainstream.” To be quite honest, I am not overly concerned with popular thinking – I am concerned most of all with God’s Truth. But I ALWAYS want to be a person who can share my understanding of Truth in a respectful way, without offending others, and allow each individual to come to his or her own conclusions. I pray this is the case here.
In my line of work, I am always in contact with words: phrases, quotes, song lyrics, written text, etc. And of course, there are some sayings I don’t like or that don’t really impact me, like “Good Vibes Only,” or “Follow Your Heart.” Words impact all of us differently. But there is particular phrase I’ve seen often in the past few years, and it continues to rub me the wrong way as a Christ-follower: YOU ARE ENOUGH. I see it on signs. I see it on shirts. I hear it spoken and proclaimed by strong Christian women on Instagram and blogs and podcasts. Believe me, I’ve thought through the phrase and I’m not trying to be judgmental to anyone in particular. I’ve pondered the meaning of the phrase, talked to friends about it, discussed it with my husband, and searched God’s Word. And in the end, it’s not just that the phrase does not resonate with me. It’s that this particular phrase spreads a false message, rampant in our society, that YOU are enough. Is this really what God says? Am I enough?
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I can understand how many interpret the saying and why they embrace it. In a technology-based society, comparison is rampant. People are struggling with self-acceptance and self-esteem. Especially as women, we’re constantly battling inferior thoughts about our appearance, our weight, our jobs as moms and wives, our home-making abilities, our performance in our careers – and often because we’re comparing ourselves to others (you can see my January blog for more on that topic). The message to do our best within the confines of who God made US to be, is an important one, and I stand behind that whole-heartedly. We should learn to love who God created us to be. But to take the message of being “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and turn it into a message that each of us are already “enough,” is untrue. God’s Word is clear: we are not enough. We are imperfect. We are sinners. HE ALONE IS ENOUGH, and HE is the only One who can make us enough. When a message is spread that we are enough, I believe we water down the actual Gospel message.
I believe we actually SHOULD recognize our own insufficiencies, as it is what brings us to our need for God. I am weak in my ability to be a good wife and mother. I don’t always know how to have the right attitude. Sometimes I lack self-discipline and overeat or procrastinate in my work or speak rudely to my family. I look at myself, and see so many weaknesses and mistakes – I do NOT feel that I am ENOUGH. EVER. I am acutely aware that I am a sinner. But this is also what makes me aware that I need a Savior. If I could do it all and be enough on my own, why would I need God? If I truly think I am enough as I am, why do I need God’s grace…or ultimately His gift of salvation? And this is why I have a problem with the phrase. It does not remind us of our need for Jesus.
The word “Gospel,” means “Good News.” As Christians who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, we no longer live as slaves to sin. We no longer wallow in our weakness, imperfection, or insufficiencies. We know they are there, of course. But we are MADE ENOUGH, because Christ is enough. We have everything we need, because we have Christ, and we can live victoriously, not through ourselves, but through Him. He is ENOUGH and He can use our weakness to show His power. Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But because of His great loves for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
Maybe you’re reading this and feeling like I’m focusing too much on semantics or a minor detail or am just plain over-analyzing. You are most definitely entitled to your opinion. I know many of you love this particular saying. However, my personal feeling is that those of us who call ourselves Bible-believing Christians, should consider carefully whether or not phrases we claim and preach, really do align with God’s Word, especially when it comes to core tenets of our faith. And if not, we should abandon them. Words are powerful. Small messages can have great impact. This little phrase may seem minor to you, but it’s really not – it’s supremely important. We want to make others AWARE of their need for Christ, not encourage them to believe that they alone are enough. We are not perfect as we are. We are NEVER ENOUGH. And this should always point us to our need for our Savior and His grace in our lives. Ruth Chou Simons articulates my thoughts exactly, when she states, “You may not feel like you’re enough, but Christ certainly is.” And this is the message and heart behind this month’s sign.