Originally published Monday, 21 January 2019.
I’m overwhelmed. I don’t have this. I’m not smart enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m just not enough. These are some of the thoughts that swirl sometimes as I’m trying to tackle the different parts of my life. I’m striving, striving, striving. But there aren’t enough hours in the day. I don’t have enough emotional energy to tackle all of it. I’m just not enough.
I hustle, hustle, hustle. Busting out the to-do list. Following my routine. Pushing myself so hard that I’m so exhausted I feel like a marionette just going through the motions. But it’s just not enough. I’m just not enough.
I’m doubting myself all the time and find my doubt to be justified. I don’t have an endless supply of emotional energy and grace, so I shout at my kids and my tongue lacks grace. I don’t have an endless supply of physical strength and energy, so my housework lags. My brain is so overworked trying to put out fires that I suddenly find myself mentally frozen like my brain is trying to tread concrete.
Not only that, but we’ve got well-meaning but not scripturally based books coming out called Girl, Wash Your Face that basically says, “You’re doubting yourself? Wash your face, suck it up, and try harder! You need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” You know what’s wrong with your life? You are just not trying hard enough!
I love what Gracelaced wrote on Instagram, “Steady heartbeat on repeat for some time now: We are not the heroes of our own stories. It’s en vogue to believe we steer our own course and drive the train in our own lives—that we are the sum of our unrelenting efforts…Friend, if your tank is empty, your road unclear, your drive lacking direction tonight, look beyond yourself. Look to Him. Jesus takes us where we could never go on our own.”
I’ve heard this saying falsely attributed to the Bible, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Oh, He absolutely will. And this is completely intentional. I’m doubting my ability to handle it all? Well God has certainly never depended on my ability to handle it all. There’s hope in my doubt…the hope that God never expected me to be able to “do it all.”
1. Cease Striving
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NASB)
Our culture exalts “the hustle” and “the grind.” Seeking to live our lives without the power of God will always be a futile and exhausting exercise.
2. God is Enough
“My flesh and my heart will fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NASB)
We are not enough, but He is. Where I doubt myself and fail daily, God never fails. His love never fails. His mercies never fail.
3. Lean into God
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
Leaning on my own understanding is so disappointing and exhausting. It doesn’t mean I should stop making an effort, but depending solely on myself will always end in failure. In our modern culture, we suffer more than ever from anxiety and panic disorders. We’ve brought sickness to our bodies trying to do it all.
We must rest. Let us rest in the confidence that we have been rescued. As Jennie Allen says in Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard, “Our confidence comes from believing God can do anything, then stepping back and letting Him.”
I need Jesus to be the hero of my story. How about you?
SARAH CLEWS LOVES BEING THE WIFE OF CARSON AND MOTHER TO THREE LITTLE GIRLS. SHE RECEIVED HER DEGREE IN ENGLISH FROM CORBAN UNIVERSITY AND STILL LOVES THE CRAFT OF WRITING. SHE ALSO HELPS HER HUSBAND RUN A MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL. IN HER FREE TIME, SARAH ENJOYS TALKING WITH GROWN-UPS (!), FINDING NEW AUTHORS, DOING ONLINE RESEARCH, AND READING HER FAVORITE CHILDHOOD STORIES TO HER GIRLS.