Have you ever felt. . .”not enough”?* I have! Since I’ve come to New York, and as I have compared myself to the competent and beautiful people I have met here (YOU), I have often been flooded with the “not enough” emotions. I’m not smart enough. Young enough. Skinny enough. Hip enough. Funny enough. Accomplished enough. Ending up on the short end of the comparison stick can lead to frenzied performance (I’ll make myself enough) or functional paralysis (I will fail. Why bother?). Neither allows for authentic connection.
As I write, I am feeling “not enough”. I have often felt prompted to write/blog, etc., and yet I have felt so scared. I have allowed the opinion of others to define me for most of my life, and having my “opinion” on the WWW gives me no room to know the feedback of those who “hear” my voice. I now feel out of control, and my heart is flooded with anxiety. Not to mention, it’s 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep. Sleeping is something I do quite well, and I usually fall off of the energy cliff around 10:30 p.m. So, here I am, feeling “not enough”, while really hoping you’ll think highly of me when you read this. I feel sheepish for making such a big deal about a simple Tuesday mailing. My mind knows the right perspective, the emotions are telling another story. A bigger story.
This I do know, even in my emotional quagmire: I long for a connection with your heart, whether I know you or not, that would allow us both to be freer to live with abandon from a place of fullness. This connection comes not because you have great thoughts of me because I have profound and perfect writing (the lie I might believe), but rather because I can allow you to see in my writing what is really going on inside of me. This is called vulnerability. Prayerfully, the process will encourage you to explore your internal realities as well.
You may not fear the opinion of others, struggle with your weight, or feel old. Your “not enough’s” may look so different from mine. This I do know, that the data of the human heart indicates that we are all able to fill in the blank of “I am not____________ enough”. We are consistently confronted with what to do with the gap of what we perceive to be our reality, and the phantom “enough”. Do we perform? Do we hide? Do we numb our hearts with food, alcohol, sex, work, social media, entertainment?
Jesus invites us to walk in the light. He says that if we walk in the light, then we have intimacy (fellowship) with him and one another. (1 John 1) Vulnerability is the choice, often a scary one, to come into the light and be really honest about our feelings, fears, joys, dreams, opinions, etc. Vulnerability allows us to share our whole selves, and in that process we invite others to be seen as well. This is rich connection. This is real community.
Writing this has been so helpful, as the fear seems to lose its grip when I am honest, even on “paper”.
I am reminded that I am defined by One who sees all of me and loves me deeply. His work on the cross is “enough”, and in Him I can find rest from performance, and have the courage to connect authentically and deeply.
I am going to go to sleep now.
*I have found Brene Brown’s work on connection, shame, and vulnerability incredibly helpful, and much of the language used above has been borrowed from her. She is profound, smart, honest and witty. I would like to be her friend. She does not talk about Jesus. Put a “gospel template” over her content. Here is a link to one of her TED talks. Enjoy. Would love your thoughts.