Enough

I’ve clicked through a lot of blog links on Twitter in the past few weeks. Especially the ones that seem geared towards feeling overwhelmed, making big decisions, or being a single parent. I’ve been struggling with writing and just wanted some direction, a filter to make all this nonsense in my mind coalesce into a cohesive post. A flint stone to throw myself at until I spark. I have 8 unfinished drafts in my queue. Not joking. This is the ninth attempt at saying what I’ve been agonizing over for two weeks.

The most significant issue in the mix is my career. One day, driving on the highway, I was so struck with an achingly painful certitude that God made me a writer, I started weeping. Not the pretty, romantic kind of weeping, but the ugly hyperventilating, pull-off-the-side-of-the-road kind of weeping. And as much as I know that’s what I was made to do, I am equally struck by the weight of my responsibilities to provide for Eva. I’m not exactly in a position to drop everything and make it happen. It’s not an impossibility, it just can’t happen today. But I desperately wish it could happen today.

So I kept reading other posts, hoping that maybe someone has said something that will help. Lots of people have said things, good things, but none were the words I needed.

Sunday I arrived at church starved for hope and comfort. I was relatively confident I could find a bit of each while there. Mark, our pastor, passed out a stone to each person before he began his sermon. They were small, smooth black stones, probably something you’d normally use in a decorative water fountain or floral display. He gave no explanation except that we needed to hold on to them. I chose a triangular stone with a little crevice on one side. I held it in my left hand, calmly nestled in my palm through the whole service, as I listened to Mark and tried to sift through everything on my heart.

I’d really hoped that the sermon would be an easy answer to my problems–some variation on “Do what God made you to do” or “Go where the Holy Spirit calls you,” something I could latch on to and run with. But it wasn’t. It was about love. God is love, not just that he loves us, not just that we love him but that everything about love is God and everything about God is love. So my job as someone that follows God is to love. (Yes, the Moulin Rouge soundtrack did just start playing in your head–“The greatest thing you’ll ever know is to love and be loved in return.”)

At first I thought, “God, this is not helpful, this is not an answer.” But then I realized it was an answer that made my question obsolete. To some degree, it doesn’t matter what I do, I am still able to love on people–Eva, my family, my friends, you readers. It doesn’t matter what I do to provide financially, I can still be a writer.

I am already exactly the woman God made me to be.

I’m not perfect, I have so much learning to do, so much faith to grow into, but I am just as capable of living a life set apart for Him now in a job I hate, without a home of my own, with Atlas’ burden on my shoulders, as I would be if I had my dream life. In fact, I might even be better off this way because I am reminded of my desperate need for God every single day. If I had a cushy job, a house, a dog and the stability I crave, would I crave God’s grace so much? Probably not.

So if I am who I need to be, if I have everything I need to love and fulfill that purpose, what is stopping me from feeling fulfilled?

Mark finally told us what the stones were for as the service ended. Each stone represented a fear, just a single fear, and we were supposed to place the fear on the altar and let God deal with it. (Yes, some objects lessons are simplistic but no less meaningful in action.)

And with a rush of clarity as strong as the day I wept in the car, I knew that the only thing holding me back is my fear of not being enough. Not good enough to succeed, not smart enough to make the right decisions, not in tune enough with God’s plan to go the right way, not woman enough to ever be a wife, just simply not enough.

I know exactly where those feelings of inadequacy originate. I know that even though they resulted from real situations and feel like legitimate worries in my mind–they are not legitimate. They are damaging and debilitating. They prevent me from loving myself and loving others because I am too scared to try. They stop me from feeling fulfilled.

I laid the stone of that fear on the altar; I didn’t fully relinquish my fear to God. I acknowledged it. I said to God, “I know this is getting in the way of…everything, help me give it to you. Help me see the opportunities you give me to heal.”

I will struggle to place that fear before God every day. To truly be free to believe I am enough requires a daily overhaul of how I think about myself, but I am going to try. I’ll probably fail more often than not, but I am going to try.

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9 thoughts on “Enough

  1. What a lovely post. You really moved me, Abby, and humbled me. It reminds me that sometimes you have to just acknowledge your problems and fears, then work around them, not allow them to master you.
    And I think, from this blog post alone, it’s very clear that you should be a writer. Beautiful. XO

  2. I am SO moved by this post, Abby. What a blessing to my day. You are fully equipped, fully gifted, fully loved. And the holes and imperfections in our lives—the things we aren’t “enough” for—are faithfully covered by the One who is always, forever, constantly ENOUGH.

    Uber excited to Skype later.

  3. Hey Abby,

    Just wanted to share some similar experiences I’ve had in recent months. I have always been writing, whether it’s ideas, character profiles, or plot lines. A little over a year ago my daughter was born. I had to move back home, cancel plans for graduate school, and prune my life to what was necessary and important. I hated it at first. It felt like a stalling, and at times like I was moving backwards. After a lot of introspection (and whining), I realized that the path I was on was not what I was meant for. It was with that epiphany I returned to old passions I had thrown away in the rat race for material wealth and prestige. I was filled, much as you were, with a clarity that I wanted to be a writer and persue my passion. I wanted to show my daughter that one should follow their passion, regardless of material wealth. I want her to know that no matter her passion, as long as she’s enjoying it, she’ll be okay.

    And when I first started on the road to becoming a real writer, I was (and still am) overwhelmed. It seems like such a monumental task I’ve set for myself between working full-time, taking care of my daughter, and family/friend obligations. It’s exhausting and frustrating and enfuriating. But the best thing I tell myself these days is, it’s okay if I’m not able to churn out 6,000 words plus a day like some people. I’m in a unique situation, and I write when I can. It may be a slower and harder road to making it my life, but I know in my soul this is what I want to do and I’m willing to put in some late night hours and skip a few lunch breaks to ensure I’m doing what I really love. And my family is happy and healthy, and I get to have pieces of what I love in my everyday life, and really, isn’t that what our journey is all about here? 🙂

    So I blabbed on for all that time just to tell you, it’ll be okay in the end. Just keep your passion alive, do your best, and everything will work out in the end. It’s going to be a frustrating time, but know that God does not put obstacles in one’s path He knows aren’t impossible to overcome. It’s those tough moments that really define a person and will test you. It’s like going through the prelimiaries of life so that you can be the best writer/mom/chef/etc. you can be. You just have to realize the tests for what they are and never give up.

    One thing I like to remind myself, J.K. Rowling took a long time to finish the first Harry Potter Book (somewhere between 15-20 years I believe), all the while working to support her children and still take care of them. Now look at her!

    I apologize in advance for my lengthy response to your post. I just want you to know that you’re not alone, and that it’s all just God tending to you to make you the best you can be. Keep your chin up and everything will be just fine. 🙂

    • Brandon, don’t apologize for the lengthy response! I love that it engaged you and made you want to share with me! I need that as much as–if not more than–I need to write these things for myself. And I know I whined SIGNIFICANTLY more when my daughter was just a newborn… gah, the sleep deprivation alone was enough to keep from even finishing a book, much less writing anything! Good for you for persevering!
      Great example about J.K. Rowling! Everything in its own time, right?

    • Great Post Brandon! You al should know by now that I am visual, and remember clips as I read. This is a Talk by J.K. Rowling. A Harvard Commencement! Fabulous!!!!! TED loved it so much they also posted it in their talks.

  4. Congrats on your big realization. You’ll get there, even though the road is tough. I made it through both college and law school, waiting tables, and being a single parent. I didn’t have time to write then, but now I do, and it’s a blessing. Now, whenever the kids go to bed for the night, I pour myself a hot cup of coffee and get in a couple hours of “me time.”

    Best of luck to you! You can do it!

    • Erin, you’re so right. I would get so much more done if I could bring myself to sacrifice sleep. I still feel like I’m recovering from the first 3 years of barely sleeping at all 🙂 I am definitely considering a late night cuppa joe now!

  5. Pingback: Setting a Table of Plenty | abby and eva

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