God is up to something in me. I feel a particular strain of truth hitting me from several directions and I'm wading in the deep of it. We have just started a study of Galatians in our community group. I'm reading Elyse Fitzpatrick's "Good News for Weary Women: escaping the bondage of to-do lists, steps, and bad advice," I had a conversation about judging and grace with my friend Katie over lunch leftovers last week while the kids ran amok.
My heart if yearning for freedom, but sometimes it seems just out of reach. I told my husband the other day that often when I finally get the kids to bed, I feel a wave of guilt--guilt that I didn't love them enough or enjoy them enough or cherish them enough that day.
And isn't that what everyone is telling me I should do--cherish every moment because babies don't keep and one day I'll miss them? It's true, I know it, but I just can't do . . . enough.
The "not enoughs" hit me from many different directions--mostly springing from my own heart, but sometimes from the "shoulds" I pick up all around me.
Have you seen the phrase "you are enough" lately? I keep seeing it. I'm sure it's meant with with the sweetest of intentions of encouraging weary women, but is there real freedom found in just telling yourself that no matter how you feel, you really are enough of whatever you're striving for?
"You're enough, you're awesome, you're the best," That's what I want to hear when I complain to my husband about my feelings of failure, but what amount of affirmation will convince me that it's true? (By the way, I thrive on encouragement and am not saying we shouldn't encourage each other).
I'm digging deep here because I think there's a greater freedom that Jesus is calling us to than mere self-affirmation--a bigger, wide open space of grace than the cozy, but smothering, dens we dig for ourselves.
G.K. Chesterton argued that Christians are the only ones that can be both ultimate pessimists and ultimate optimists at the same time. I'm going to be a bit of both here, so please stick with me.
I think the truth is that "enough" is a myth. It's a fuzzy standard that we constantly strive for, but never quite arrive at. We want to be . . .
God created you and shaped you in His image, made to worship, work, and glorify Him. But you are broken, never enough, never able to be justified or okay in His eyes. So He sent His perfect Son, who lived a perfect life, and died to take the penalty of our lifetime of not-enoughs. Elyse Fitzpatrick defines justification as "just as if I had never sinned," but also "just as if I had always obeyed."
Jesus met all the demands of the perfect Father. He was the "enough-est" anyone will ever be or ever has to be, so that you would be accepted into His presence by GRACE ALONE through FAITH ALONE.When you put your faith in Him, He transforms you by His Spirit into a new creation who can now live by faith in Him.
Maybe you know all these things. Maybe you know them like you know other planets way beyond our own exist. But when was the last time you stared into a telescope and caught your breath at the sight of tiny Saturn and its icy rings, not just flattened in a science book, but curved and round, existing in real time? Are you a believer in your head, but a functional atheist?
God does not demand that you be enough, and He doesn't tell you that you are enough. He gives the gift of "enough" in His Son. All that remains is that you believe it.
"You are enough" says "Look at how wonderful you are and be satisfied."
"He is enough" says "Look how wonderful Jesus is and be satisfied." See the subtle difference that actually makes all the difference?
Drink that, that pure water of the Gospel, and you're free. Dilute it just a little bit with trying to be "enough" by any means except the perfect life and sacrifice of Jesus, and it's like drinking salt water.
But where does this leave us? Slavery to rules wasn't fun, but at least we knew what to do! How do we function as free people? We shift uncomfortably at the thought of living without our enoughs. Will be get spiritually lazy? Will we become self-absorbed and uncaring?
God's grace places us squarely on a launch pad to serve Jesus from a grateful, joyful heart, in Spirit-powered ways that He has ordained for us to walk in.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10We are set free, not to be domineered by our our own flesh-hampered spirits, but by the sweet Spirit of God, which is true freedom! We can submit our spirits to happy slavery to His. We can shake off all excess expectations, and walk in the new way of the Spirit, dead to ourselves, alive in Christ.
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13What if we stopped carrying around the burden and unnecessary pain of our "not enoughs"? Life is hard enough without that extra weight. We were called to freedom.
"If it for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1I love how the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, was so passionate that his people stand firm in grace and resist those who would lay extra laws on them. He writes, "to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you." (Galatians 2:5).
What if we did not for one moment give into the burden of living up to "enoughs"? What if we stood stubbornly in the truth of the Gospel, refusing any ground? I think we could turn the world upside-down!
I know this will be a struggle for us until we get to heaven, friends. But even in our struggles, there is grace. We can always restart at grace with Jesus. Isn't that beautiful?
Today, I'm sharing a printable Bible verse coloring page from Galatians. It's so deep, I don't think I understand it all, so it's one to meditate on. Here are some questions we can ask about it:
- What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?
- What is different about someone who has been "crucified with Christ"?
- What does it mean to "live by faith"?
- Jesus "loved you" and "gave Himself for you." How does that make you feel?
You can download the file HERE or click on the image above (usage below*).
*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy, please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!