I’m attending a Sunday morning class that’s discussing Daring Greatly, Brene Brown’s fabulous book about shame and vulnerability. A few weeks ago, based on thoughts from the book, the teacher asked us to complete the sentence “I am not ______ enough”. I was the first to pipe up with “I am not rested enough”. Ha ha, good one, self. About a half-dozen other folks chimed in, but as my friend Julie mentioned, the comments didn’t go quite to the depth we all know that sort of thing really does. For instance, there’s an almost hundred percent chance every woman in that room that morning has thought “I’m not pretty enough”. But no one said it, including me. ‘Cause, um, wow. Really? Who wants to say THAT out loud? What if you do and someone smirks? Or maybe your own mind just messes with you and tells you ‘You’re right. There’s definitely someone in here who agrees with that statement.’
So, because of Julie’s comment and because I’m feeling prompted (by God? Love? my own inaneness?), here’s a list of how I REALLY fill in that blank. Some of these antagonize me more than others but they’ve all made appearances over my lifetime. Part of the reason I’m sharing is because it’s in my nature to be open about such things. And partly I’m sharing because sometimes I’ll mention this in a face-to-face conversation with an acquaintance and they’ll give me this bumfuzzled look, followed with a comment like “I would have never guessed you felt that way!” Um, yes. Yes, I do.
I am not:
…pretty enough. (ugh)
…smart enough. (this one rolled around about the time of high school math classes)
…calm enough. (ask my kids. on second thought, don’t.)
…wise enough. (so much jealousy of people described as wise)
…skilled enough. (no masters degree, no business start-up, no trapeze capabilities)
…thankful enough. (might help my attitude if I was)
…funny enough. (can’t even think of a joke to go here…)
…talented enough. (claim to fame: 2nd place in a middle school poetry contest)
…motivated enough. (exercise?? excuse me while I double over laughing)
…patient enough. (letsgoletsgoletsgo!)
…confident enough. (and all the best people are, right?)
…involved enough. (does that make me lazy?)
…organized enough. (have you seen my house?)
…frugal enough. (I love saving a buck as much as the next person but I’ve only got so much time, people)
…well-read enough. (but enough to know how not well-read I am)
…fashionable enough. (spoken like a true first-world citizen)
…content enough. (and I’m envious of those who seem to be)
…together enough. (see this post)
…forgiving enough. (oh. seriously. I’m at a loss for words on this one…)
…strong enough. (…to handle all the above feelings)
…a good enough mother. (UGHHHHHH)
…a good enough girl. (Yes, I’m a middle-aged woman…but I still think of myself as girl.)
I feel like none of this should matter. It shouldn’t matter if I’m good at anything. But the society I live in, and my highly-impressionable self, tell me different. That I’m only worth anything if I’m the Good Girl, Top Dog, Head Honcho, Coupon Queen, Big Cheese, Grand Poobah, and oh good grief, the worst of all, SuperMom.
Here’s the thing: I DO matter. I don’t own any of the aforementioned titles and yet I still matter. I could be the absolute worst at everything and STILL matter. Here’s the other profundity: EVERYONE DOES. The utterly helpless just-born being who can do nothing for itself. The being sitting on death row with a heart of stone and no apology. The being who’s lived for a century and can’t remember any of it. And everybody else. We ALL…MATTER.
That’s where I get hung up. How could I possibly be good enough just as I am? Just like this? Without a high school diploma. Or purposefully shunning the new girl because she’s prettier than me. Or in a marriage that isn’t working. Or hating my job. Or with a needle dangling from my arm. Or without children. Or with children whose personal struggles push me to the brink on a daily basis. Or homeless. Or feeling afraid of homeless people wandering the streets. Or feeling disdain for the father who abandoned me. Or being stubbornly unwilling to forgive. How I am good enough, with all that mess dragging around behind me?
Back to those people who have nothing to offer society. I’ve had three of those just-born beings come into the world via my body, held their helpless selves in my arms and been absolutely taken with them. Because they’re good at anything? No…because they exist. That’s it. Because they’re HERE. It’s weird. They can’t do a darn thing for me but I love them anyway. They matter. Can’t explain it. It just IS. Love…IS.
Even as they grow and make a mess of things (because we ALL do), I love them. I love them because they exist…not because of how they’ve performed. They are good enough, just as they are. And if I, a small, fallible human, can love my child that much, doesn’t it make sense that I receive the same sort of love from the Being who created me? Doesn’t it make sense that Love would love me just because I exist?
I haven’t yet figured it out. Don’t know that I ever fully will. But if it’s true…if Love is real…and if Love is who He says He is…then the pressure is off, in so many ways. It means it doesn’t matter if I’m a Good Girl or Coupon Queen or SuperMom. It DOES mean I’m good enough…just like this. As are you.