What is it with us, ladies? We’re overextended and overenoughed.
I only have to search the word “enough” in book reviews on my own site. And the book I was looking for didn’t show even up (though this other great book did). Now WHERE did I write my review of that book by one of my favorite authors? Turns out it was on Instagram.
So, speaking of enough…I’m not. Or I sure don’t feel like I am. I don’t have enough time, enough money, enough motivation, enough of me to go around. Everyone wants a piece of me and I am not just persuaded to give more, I want to give more; I not only feel like I should, but I want to.
But let’s talk about this a little differently. Pull up a chair. Get cozy with your cuppa. Don the fuzzy socks and grab the snuggly blanket.
“I should have figured out a long time ago that God loves even me and that, all along, I am enough,” Peggy Weber writes in the introduction to Enough As You Are: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Appreciating God’s Love for You.
And she’s got my number. In so. Many. Ways.
I’m betting you’ll relate to more than just this excerpt:
How many times has a friend said to you, “Wow! I like your outfit. You look great!” and you replied: “Oh, I got this on sale. It was so cheap.” Why can’t we just say, “Thank you”? More importantly, it can be so hard to truly mean “thank you” and accept kind words.
Her chapters outline my life:
- Feeling Enough
- Friends Enough
- Smart Enough
- Loved Enough
- Good Enough
- Stuff Enough
- Impressive Enough
- Had Enough
- Quiet Enough
- Holy Enough
- Embracing Enough
“I hope this book can help you reflect on your own needs and insecurities and on what adopting a philosophy of enough can mean,” Weber writes. “I hope this book will help you explore why you might also be comparing yourself to others, feeling inadequate, or wondering if you are enough. I hope this book encourages you to embrace who you are, where you are, in an increasingly competitive, comparative, social media-centered world of FOMO (fear of missing out) and YOLO (you only live once).”
I read a large chunk of this book during a week when I found myself at home, unable to do my “usual work” (or get paid for that work) because of sick kids. There’s something extremely humbling about considering how “enough” you are when you are unable to do what you feel like you should be doing…and there’s also something inherently human there, too.
What God wants for me and what God has planned for me is sometimes ⏤ often? ⏤ far different from what I have on my lists, in my planner, bulleted and sorted into color-coded categories.
And then life goes on and there are ups and downs. There are job losses. There are car troubles. There are more losses. And they hurt and trouble you, but they do not sting as much as the loss of your parents. And then comes another suffocating time when you feel that you have had enough, way more than enough. You feel like Job from the Old Testament, who cried out: “When I lie down and say, ‘When shall I arise?’ Then the night drags on: I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.” Or you want to shout his woeful comment: “Remember that my life is like the wind: my eye will not see happiness again.”
You just sit and wonder why some things happen. You wonder why. Why, Lord?
Weber gives us the benefit of her lived experience and she taps into the wisdom of those who have gone before us: Each chapter not only includes some nitty-gritty insight that feels a little like a voice in my head was put down on paper by someone else, but also the saints. You’ll find examples and tips that Weber has gleaned from such holy heavyweights as St. Francis de Sales, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Ávila, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. André Bessette, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. John Paul II, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Thomas Merton, and St. Jeanne Jugan.
Each chapter ends with an Ignatian Examen, tailored for the topic of the chapter. This five-step prayer process could legitimately turn this book into a prayer guide, if you let it. I’ll confess to you, dear reader, that I skimmed through them, thinking “Oh, what a great idea” all the while I zapped into the next section.
This book is an opportunity on so many levels. There’s the “read it through and believe what it says” side of things, and then there’s the “read it slowly and savor, pray, and ingest” approach.
It is so hard to believe you are enough and valued by others and God. Somehow, all of us still seem to feel a little less than something.
We have seen it in the faces of older people who wonder if they have done enough in their lives.
We’ve heard it in the voices of parents who fret about doing enough for their families.
We’ve felt it in the frenzied pace of many more who are not sure if they are keeping up with others. And, most especially, we’ve heard it in the pained voices of young people who wonder if they will ever be pretty enough, smart enough, or popular enough.
And I want to wrap my arms around all of them and ask them to say aloud, “I am enough!” I want everyone to stop, take a really deep breath, and smile.
You are enough, sister.
You. Are. Enough.
And so am I.
Just like this. Who I am. Where I am. What I am.
Let this book be that hug and that spur in your backside. Let it be the warm fuzzy cushion and the small nagging stab.