My sister sent the text at 5:06 p.m. I read it just as I was pulling in the driveway from work.
“The ambulance is getting dad from the golf course.”
Dad had a heart attack on the golf course. He’d just finished the 4th hole and wanted to finish a 5th, but things had been going downhill fast, so he knew he had to get back to the clubhouse as quickly as possible. He made his way back to safety and the owner of the golf course called the ambulance immediately.
Dad was transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital, and then transferred to a bigger hospital where he’d receive more specialized cardiac care.
My husband and I kept the news to ourselves for a while, but then decided to tell the kids, “Grandpa’s in the hospital.” We gently reminded them that grandpa’s lungs have been sick for a while, noted the oxygen tanks they might’ve seen around grandma and grandpa’s house, and indicated special concern because grandpa had a heart attack tonight.
After some debate and a couple phone calls from mom, we decided the situation didn’t require urgent action on my part. I’d wait until morning to travel and visit dad in the hospital.
I wasn’t sure if I should bring our toddler with me to the hospital. Annother great unknown in this realm of parenting. I debated all the way up until leaving the house. Should I send her to daycare for the day? Or should I bring her with me?
I’m glad I decided to bring Maisie with me.
She was a light from the start.
When we arrived at the hospital and began down the long hallway to grandma who’d been waiting at the cardiac unit, Maisie ran all the way to grandma. She ran what was probably a block, with arms open wide until she landed safely in grandma’s loving embrace.
She was a light from the start.
When we were brought to the consultation room and told by a doctor dad had not one, but TWO arteries in his heart that were 90% blocked, and would need stents placed immediately, Maisie was there. She found a sticker and put it just about everywhere – on the door, on the table, on a landline phone, on my hand, and even on my nose. She brought joy and laughter where there would’ve been none.
She was a light from the start.
After we waited an hour and a half for the stents to be placed, after the cardiologist came in to give us the thumbs up that the procedure was successful, we proceeded to dad’s room on the cardiac unit. When Maisie saw grandpa for the first time, she greeted him without fear “Hi grandpa!” And when grandpa was parched and in desperate need of water or just about anything to quench his thirst, Maisie got a cup of ice chips just like grandpa. With help, she fed grandpa not one, but two ice chips from her cup. Best yet? It was all her idea.
She was a light from the start.
After a cafeteria lunch, we headed back up to dad’s room. Maisie reached out for grandma’s hand. “Hold hand,” she said. So grandma and Maisie held hands, all the way to the elevator that brought us back to floor 2.
She was a light from the start.
After the cardiac technician got dad resettled, flat on his back for another hour or two, I decided it was time to go. Maisie was getting louder. She was getting tired, and she’d missed her regular nap. But she was still up for a great big hug good-bye for grandpa. She leaned in to give him a kiss, and then that great big hug, with her arms wide open the same way she’d opened them wide for grandma down that long hallway five hours prior.
She was a light, even to the end.
I left content, knowing my decision to bring our two-year-old was right. She was light in a place filled with dark and heavy burdens. The innocence and love that radiated from her tiny toddler body was felt and appreciated by all.
For grandpa, for grandma, and others unnamed – may your burdens be lifted, may your steps be lighter, may your hearts feel a bit brighter – because of her tiny, bright light.
When you’ve been deceived, it’s crucial you find your way back to truth.
So I sat in bed with nothing but my laptop, my Bible and a pen, ready to receive revelation about this I’m too much, not enough business.
Little did I know, revelation was about to kick in because of the words on that pen.
20 months ago, I stood in line at the Women of Faith conference in Iowa, waiting to meet Ann Voskamp, my favorite blogger. They counted us off; there was time for 35 of us to meet Ann. I was 31st in line. There were only two or three people in front of me when the security guard told us it was time to shut down the line. The conference was about to resume. Those of us remaining in line wouldn’t be able to meet Ann.
I didn’t get the opportunity to greet Ann that day, but I learned something important from her, something really important. She showed me a bit of Jesus. Before she left, she looked at each one of us in line, cupped her hands in gratitude, and graciously and lovingly waved good-bye. She noticed we were there. She hadn’t forgotten us, even in the hurry, even when she was being pulled in another direction. I saw her heart, and I saw His heart for me.
After Ann left, the woman who accompanied her gave us a pen. While I could’ve chosen to view that pen as a consolation prize and thrown it in the junk drawer, I’ve treasured it for 20 months. Printed on it, One Thousand Gifts and the verse Ephesians 5:20.
It wasn’t until this Good Friday that I sat on my bed, with my laptop, Bible AND pen in hand, and read Ephesians 5:20.
As I read more of Ephesians 5, it dawned on me. This is the book, this is the chapter I’ve been living this Holy Week. This is the battle I’ve been fighting. This is the truth I’ve been trying to believe, live.
On Monday, in the first post of this series, Too Much, I stated the following…
“If we bring these lies into the light, we’ll expose them for what they are – flat out lies, false beliefs we’ve held about ourselves for way too long, for no good reason. And truth is? We’ve got to release these lies. Or the enemy will keep us right where he wants us. Flat on the ground, no good for anything, and certainly not up to fulfilling the awesome plans God has in store for us.”
And on Good Friday, there with my Bible and pen in hand, I read this…
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth, and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:8-17
The fruitless deeds of darkness…I’m too much, not enough. I exposed and explored those lies all week. It felt good to let it all out, and my decision to do so was intentional, purposeful. Because I’m desperate for you to know you’re not alone, desperate to rid myself of the lies and live in the light.
But putting all those lies out there with no response, no resolution, no hope, no promise, have left me, for the most part, feeling shameful, empty, purposeless. I’m pretty sure that’s right where the enemy wants each and every one of us – stuck in the den of lies.
So it’s time to live in the truth of Ephesians. It’s time to wake up, rise from the dead, live wise, make the most of every opportunity, and understand the Lord’s will. Because I want to live in the light, not in the darkness.
I proceeded to review truths that came to mind throughout Holy Week…
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 6:5
Perhaps it’s true. We aren’t enough, we are too much - if we live without Him.
Perhaps it’s grace I haven’t understood. What is this grace anyway?
Perhaps in all these feelings of inadequacy, I need to believe, more fully, the truths about grace.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
Grace. It’s key to the freedom, peace and joy we’re all seeking.
And faith? It’s about our believing – in Him. It’s about us trusting – He has us in the palm of His hand – even when this great big world seems like it’s falling apart.
So how do we live as children of light?
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12: 21
And we must not forget to put on the armor of God. Because this believing everything about us is too much, not enough? It’s proof we’re in battle. The enemy’s plotting and scheming, struggling to find his way in to our souls, into our everyday lives.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17
And remember, before Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit on the cross, He uttered these last words…
“It is finished.” John 19:30
So live in the truth.
It. is. finished.
He paid the price for me. He paid the price for you. It’s His gift, for us.
So live, knowing it’s not your good works that save you, but faith.
Live, knowing it’s not about your performance. It’s about your growing understanding of grace, God’s free and unmerited favor.
Live, knowing you’re ENOUGH, with Him.
Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead.
You’re ENOUGH, with Him.
*This is the final post in a 4-part Holy Week series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough.” If you missed the first three posts, check them out at the following links…
Part 1: Too Much
Part 2: The Real-Life Implications of this Too Much, Not Enough Business
Part 3: When It’s Good Friday and You Just Know You’re Not Enough
It’s hard to live up to the world’s elusive standards.
We wonder if anything about us is enough.
We wonder if we’ll ever be good enough, strong enough, tough enough, sensitive enough, or smart enough to bear the weight of the world.
The measuring stick’s out. And we know, we just know we don’t measure up. There’s no way, no way we can meet those standards. We fall short, judge ourselves against the biggest, the baddest, the brightest on the playing field. We work hard to become better, attain whatever it is we believe will make us whole, worthy, acceptable. It’s hard work, and sometimes it’s even exciting, fulfilling and exhilarating work. But even in all that, even after we’ve done our best, worked our hardest, there’s still a part of us that feels we could’ve done better, we could’ve done more, we weren’t quite good enough. We ask the inevitable question, is it enough to just be myself? Or will I constantly have to be better, go further, longer, harder to meet the standards of this world?
Yes, that’s the space I want to address today.
The space that whispers quietly, but persistently – You’re not enough. You didn’t do enough. You just don’t measure up. You’re not good enough. Nothing. about you. is. enough. It‘s all a bunch of lies. That’s right. A bunch of lies.
Those ugly words? They leave you in a constant state of defeat. And that’s never a good place to be.
So let’s go there. Let’s unpack those dirty old lies - I’m not enough, you’re not enough.
And I’m starting with me. Yep, that’s right. I’m about to toss all those lies out, right into the trash pile. The enemy of my soul wants me to be stuck in a place of defeat, of never being enough, and I’m tired of it. He will not win this battle. So I’m tossing his lies out the door. Right now.
Let me be clear. These are lies.
This is how I feel about those lies. And this is what I’m going to do with those lies.
You’re not enough.
Kicking it in the trash pile.
You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. Just keep working harder and harder and harder. Don’t stop. Never stop. You’ll never be good enough. Never. Keep working until you’re dry to the bone, until every drop’s dried. Do it. Do it. You’ll never live up to the standard of good. Never. But you better keep trying because that’s what good girls do. They work hard and they always do good. Just be quiet. Say less. Be more. Do more. Work harder. Keep striving. Never stop. You’re not good enough, so keep working, keep working, keep working.
Enough. Kicking it to the trash pile.
All those roles you play? You’re most definitely NOT good enough in any of them.
Epic mom failure? Yep. Not always the mom you thought you’d be? Yep. Try harder. Never fail. Be hard on yourself, that’s what you have to do when you’re a mom. Never a break for the weary mom. Keep working mom. You’re never enough. Kids made a mistake? It’s your fault. You didn’t say enough, do enough, try hard enough, watch closely enough or pray hard enough to make the kids behave well enough. Kids had a victory? Good job! But keep working! A mom’s work is never done. No rest for the weary. Keep trying because you’ll never know when they’ll fall. You’ll never know when your best won’t be nearly enough. So never let down. Never give in. And keep your guard up. Because being a mom’s the biggest job of your life and there’s always something lurking around the corner. Don’t mess up because if they’re not enough, you’re not enough.
All those expectations, all that pressure? Tossing it out.
Epic friend failure? Yep. Totally not a good enough friend. Wasn’t there for her child’s hospital stay, had no idea how her marriage crumbled, didn’t know she was getting divorced until it was nearly complete, had no idea how this or that happened and now you feel like an idiot for asking because so much time’s passed, let the ball drop on those get togethers, let months and years pass without contact? Epic failures. Epic, epic failures. So not a good enough friend. The elusive bar you’ve set for adult friendship? Completely unattainable.
Toss the guilt. Toss those expectations, again. Toss the bar that marks good enough, not good enough.
And that house. Oh my. Never good enough. Always too dirty. You won’t ever be able to get it clean, or keep it clean. But you’d better keep working. Because you know, if you keep working, you might just be able to make it happen. There might come a time when you’ve cleaned well enough that everyone will finally say YES! That’s good enough! Great job! You finally did it! The house is clean once and for all! Excellent work! Thank you so much for keeping this house clean enough! So keep working. It’s always dirty, there’s always more laundry, the kitchen counter’s always a disaster in the making. It’s never. good. enough. You’ve never. done. enough. So keep doing. Keep moving. Keep cleaning every second you can.
Toss it. Out the door. Go. Now.
All those dreams you hope for? All those plans you have for your future? Let me tell you…you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough or clever enough, and you’re most definitely not funny enough. You’re not nearly as eloquent, and not nearly as put together as she is. You’d never be able to motivate like that, connect like that, write like that, or speak your mind like that. You’re not Christian enough for them, and you’re too Christian for them. And you can’t keep up with any of them. So just drop it and get it out of your mind. Those not enoughs? Maybe they’re true. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough.
So ugly. Oh so ugly. Such horrible lies. Toss them like the wind. Toss them.
Then come all the random not good enoughs. Don’t wear high heels enough. Don’t wear sweat pants enough. Don’t wear your hair down enough. Don’t prepare homemade dinners for your family enough. Don’t buy or prepare organic food enough. Don’t worry about GMOs enough. Don’t watch your kids’ diet closely enough. Don’t chill enough. Don’t drink enough. Don’t come party with us enough. Don’t give enough. Don’t volunteer enough. Don’t keep up with the mail pile and finances, the photo albums and weeds in the garden well enough.
Blah. Ugh. What a weight. Toss ‘em.
It’s enough to kill a person, isn’t it? This burden of not enough?
So you sit. You find yourself on the ground, lifeless, next to this trash pile of not enoughs. You know, there’s GOT to be a better way. You admit – I’ve had it. This. is enough.
You allow yourself a moment. To sit. And be with the trash. You call it what it is. Trash. Pure trash.
You realize – the enemy’s lies have held you captive for far too long.
You’re worth much more than this.
The trash leaves you empty, hollow, lifeless.
You must rest. And then you must go.
Get away from the trash piles and never come back.
And don’t you dare start a new pile wherever you go next.
Because you’re so enough.
You’re so enough, even when the world and all the evidence says you’re not.
So that weight of the world you’ve been trying to bear? It is not. yours. to bear.
God is good. He sent Jesus to witness our burdens for Himself. He bore the weight of the cross, this Good Friday, so we could be rescued from everything about us that’s too much and not enough.
Good news is on its way, folks. Good news is on its way.
We’re working through a week-long series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough.” In Part 1 of this series, we talked about different ways we believe that everything about us is just Too Much. In Part 2, we went deeper into the real life implications of this too much, not enough business. In Part 4, we’ll explore why we truly are. enough. Hallelujah!!
Within hours of publishing the first post from this week-long series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough,” I knew this series wasn’t for everyone.
To some, the words I wrote in that first post read like a foreign language. They didn’t understand what I was trying to say. Late that night, approximately 12 hours after publication, I returned to the post, Too Much, and re-read my words. Maybe they did sound a little crazy. I made some edits to the post and it felt a little less crazy. Maybe getting a concept for a series on Sunday morning, writing and editing on Sunday night, and publishing by late Monday morning was just too quick.
When I returned to re-read and edit the post, Too Much, I wanted to type it all out, provide explanation so every one of my readers would understand the heart and logic behind the post. The things I typed here aren’t actually TRUE. They are LIES, false beliefs I’ve held about myself for way too long. I’m sharing them here so you understand the battle I’ve been facing, and I’m sharing them here so you don’t feel alone in all the ugly things you’ve thought and said about yourself. Please, understand.
But I didn’t type all those things. I made the edits I felt necessary, and left it at that. I instinctively knew – if you don’t get this post, you don’t get it. If you get it, you get it. There didn’t seem to be much middle ground on this one.
The next morning, I received a message from a reader. The reader shared that the post, Too Much, “pulled [her] out of a den of lies,” that my words “ministered to [her] in a very dark hour.” She gave thanks to Jesus, indicating He “loved me enough to allow me to read your love words and bring hope to me.”
As I read her words, I began crying instantly.
Because I believed the words I’d written were too much.
I believed the words I’d written were not enough.
I believed my writing wasn’t good enough.
I believed I hadn’t successfully explained this concept of “I’m Too Much, Not Enough” so ALL of my readers could understand.
But here’s the thing.
The words I’d written were enough.
In fact, those words were exactly what one soul needed to hear that day, that hour, that minute, that moment. Those words ministered to that reader in the way I envisioned from the very start. Because I didn’t start this blog to expose deep dark secrets, craziness, hopes, dreams and joy-filled revelations just for fun. I started this blog so you could know you’re not alone in your pain and struggle, so you’d know hope, so you’d know we’re all in this together.
The words were enough.
God provided a lifeline for both me and the reader, when we needed it most.
And that is more than enough.
*This is part two of a four-part series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough. To read part one, Too Much, click here.
I’m an avid reader of blogs. I can’t even begin to estimate the number of blog posts I’ve read. While I greatly appreciate and read my fair share of how-to blog posts, the ones I love most are packed with heart and soul.
I want to know – what’s your biggest battle and how in the world are you overcoming that deep, deep pain? Get real with me. Tell me how it is. And please, oh please, tell me when you’ve seen the light and you’re free to just dance and be.
In all my reading of thousands of blog posts back to August 2010, I’ve run across one sentence that’s proved to be a theme, regardless of the writer’s position on the battle field. And get this – for the most part, it’s worded the same way every time.
I’m too much, not enough.
Whatever the battle is, it comes down to this one false belief.
I’m too much, not enough.
I’m too much, not enough.
Think about that.
The enemy of our soul takes one sentence and uses it to destruct thousands of souls. He morphs and twists it into a whole host of ugly words we use against ourselves. And after all that thinking and speaking bad about ourselves, we just want to curl up in a ball and say forget it. I’m not playing the game. I’m stepping out. I’m not going to win anyway.
I’m too much, not enough.
It’s always both. Never JUST – too much. Never JUST – not enough. Nope. It’s always…
I’m too much, not enough.
The enemy of our soul wants us to believe both sides of this ugly coin. That way he can hit us from every angle.
I’ve written these words about myself. I’ve read it too many times to count. But here’s the deal. I’m tired of these words. I’m tired of these words for myself. And I’m tired of them for you.
So today I’m not going to solve this problem, but I’m going to begin bringing it into the light. And I’m starting with this part of the lie…
I’m too much.
If we bring these lies into the light, we’ll expose them for what they are – flat out lies, false beliefs we’ve held about ourselves for way too long, for no good reason. And truth is? We’ve got to release these lies. Or the enemy will keep us right where he wants us. Flat on the ground, no good for anything, and certainly not up to fulfilling the awesome plans God has in store for us.
So here we go people. I’m giving mine up. All this I’m too much I think about myself? Forget about it. Let’s put it to rest. I’m laying it all out. Right here for you. I’m bringing every false belief I’ve held about myself boldly into the light.
I’m too much.
I’m too serious. Most definitely. For sure. Way, way too serious.
I’m too intense. Like shake it off, girl. Ease up. Take a chill pill, for real.
I’m too fat. My butt is too big. And my stomach has always been too. big. My nose, it juts out just a little too much at the top. The arms, that place behind my shoulder where I have a little too much fat and it shows in pictures shot from the right angle? Too much.
So let’s get back to that too serious and too intense stuff. Like people might not want to hang too long with me because I’m too serious, too intense.
Maybe the activities I like are too boring, too quiet – like reading and writing, watching movies and gardening. Ya, those sound like cool things to do when I’m retired, not now.
Maybe I’m too churchy, too religious, too spiritual. Maybe I talk about God too much. Maybe I crossed the line, maybe I’ll cross it again and you’ll think I’ve gone too far. I just need to stop talking about all that church stuff. It’s too much.
Maybe I’m too deep. I think and overthink too much. Just ease up. Isn’t that all I need to do? Stop. thinking. too. much. And stop thinking so deeply. Just move on. Who cares. Not everything’s that important, that necessary to think through so thoroughly. I’m just too deep. It’s all too much. I’m too much.
I want things perfect, too much.
I want to do things right, too much.
I want to make the right decision, too much.
I care what everything thinks, too much.
I can obsess about anything and everything, too much.
I write too much. Post on Facebook too much. Made a comment on someone’s blog and it was just a little too much. Shared something intimate, personal, too much. Said something in 1,400 words when I could have said it in 700? Too much. Way too much. Keep it simple stupid. I write too much, divulge too much, care too much. And ya, this post? It’s probably too much.
Explained every detail when I could have gotten to the main point in one sentence? Too much.
Texted three sentences when I could have said it in one? Too much.
Emailed several paragraphs when I could have just emailed one? Too much.
That music that I like? Too boring, too slow. Ya, some of it’s just too intense. Like nobody gets that stuff. Where in the world did I find that song anyway? And those movies? BO-RING. Dramas? Documentaries? BO-RING. That stuff that makes me cry? It’s just all too much. Movies are for entertainment, not inspiration. Stop trying to find meaning in movies. They’re just movies for goodness sake. And when I hide away in a movie theater by myself with popcorn, candy, pop and a movie of my own choosing? That’s just weird. Too weird. Who does that anyway?
And what about all the dreaming? You’re dreaming girl! Get real! Give up the pipe dreams and start living in the real world. This is life, not Fantasyland! Those dreams, they’re simply too big, utterly impossible. So stop obsessing. It’s all too much. Give it up. Just give. it. up.
As much as I’d like to resolve these issues, take fight against the enemy of my soul right here and now, I want to leave it like that, lay it down just as it is. Because sometimes we just need to admit, here are the lies I’ve been believing about myself. Here are the false truths the enemy has tried to shove down my throat for years. This. has been my reality.
When we take a moment to reflect and acknowledge that these are ugly words, pure garbage, perhaps we’ll get to a place where we finally get real with ourselves and say…
I’m not willing to live that way anymore.
I will no longer accept those lies as truth.
I’m believing the truth about myself is much more beautiful than this.
We’ll talk about this more as the week unfolds. In my next post, I’ll dive deeper into not enough. And I’ll wrap up this week-long series just in time for Easter; we’ll discuss why we’re truly ENOUGH, just the way we are.
In the meantime, I wonder – what are some of the lies you’ve believed about yourself through the years? In what ways have you felt like you’re just too much?
Lay them down. Lay them all down here.
Then, be gentle with yourself. Because you’re not too much of anything. You’re enough, just right, just as you are.