I have dear friends who suffer. Every day.
Some live with chronic physical pain, and there’s rarely a moment when they don’t hurt somewhere.
One of them is bipolar. He’s managing his illness well. However, there are days when he’s a bit manic and can’t sleep, stop talking, or focus and other times when he struggles with mild depression.
Another friend has cerebral palsy. Just about everything he does takes a lot more time and effort than it does for most of us.
Life for my friends isn’t always difficult, but they live with the reality that they are broken vessels, and they sometimes wonder if they are as good as we “normal” peeps are.
Before you react to that last statement, let me quickly add, we are all broken, and nobody is truly normal (whatever normal is).
I’m also not discounting the struggle my friends must deal with all the time. Their battle is real. What they must manage is almost unbearable at times. I respect them far more than I can express in this blog.
But just because their brokenness is more obvious, doesn’t mean they are less than I am or anyone else is.
One of them once told me, “It’s tough to be surrounded by people who have it all together.”
I laughed and said, “I don’t know anyone who has it all together!”
Seriously. Not a soul.
As a leader, a pastor, and a human, I’ve become pretty good at hiding my pain, struggles, and mental issues. But I have them. We all do.
So, let me quickly give you three reasons why you are enough; enough for God and enough for others.
First, God never compares you to so-and-so.
He doesn’t ever look at you and say, “Oh, myself, I wish she were as good as her sister!” He doesn’t hold you up to some human standard of approval and excellence. He doesn’t measure you by some unrealistic standard or image of the “perfect human.” Why? Because there is no perfection on this side of eternity.
Here’s the second reason why you are enough: God sees the finished work, not just the mess you might be now.
Of course, God is committed to your growth, but you are enough for Him at this very moment. Always enough. Always loved. Always the apple of His eye. Always. Right now. Just as you are. Imperfect. Broken. Loved.
When my kids were little, they made a mess while eating. They often got more food on the floor or on their face than they did in their mouth. It was normal. I expected it. It would have been abnormal if they didn’t struggle. I never threw my hands up in despair and yelled, “When are you going to learn to eat a meal properly?!”
I knew they would grow up and change. I saw the person they would become.
God sees the man or woman you are becoming.
Here’s one more reason why you are enough: If we are all in process—and we are—then perhaps we should celebrate God’s love and patience rather than focus on our mutual imperfections.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we related to one another as the fellowship of the broken rather than hide behind a mask of perfection?
Isn’t it freeing to stop pretending?
What would happen if we pointed to our mental, physical, relational, and spiritual fractures as an opportunity for God to shine through our cracks?
I live with pain. If you do too, let’s support one another.
I live with mild to moderate depression from time to time. If you do as well, let’s comfort one another.
I live with a heart and a mind that struggle with sin at times. If you do (and you do), let’s drink together of the unquenchable love, mercy, and grace of our Father.
We have far more in common than most of us realize most of the time, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s good because our human condition is what connects us with each other and with our need for God.
You are enough.
Enough for me. Enough for others. And most of all, enough for the One who loves you more than His own life.
Go ahead, take a deep breath, and say it out loud, “I am loved. I matter. I am enough.”
Because you are.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)