It takes me all of 4 minutes of parenting each day to realize something I would rather not- I’m not enough to do this job well. Yesterday, I was patting myself on the back for getting up early to read my Bible and less than 2 hours later I was losing my temper with my kids because of a dirty toilet.
The back story is that I was having some friends over that morning. With time working against me, I mentally calculated how long it would take to empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, clear the crap off the countertops, wash the countertops, sweep the kitchen and the entryway and vacuum. After that I needed to clean the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. If you’re looking at the clock with me, you’re starting to sweat.
I was flitting from one task to the next without finishing any of them. I had put away 2 dishes when I noticed dirty socks on the floor in the family room and felt compelled to bring them upstairs. When I arrived upstairs, I noticed the kids’ bathroom.
There is nothing that brings me more shame regarding my parenting and housekeeping skills than my children’s bathroom. How many layers of toothpaste is on the sink? How long has it been there? I don’t even want to talk about the toilet.
The real issue was that I’d neglected things that I should have taken care of earlier, but in that moment all I could focus on was that my oldest son didn’t seem to know how to clean a toilet. The obvious steps to cleaning it weren’t so clear to him. This resulted in a verbal meltdown directed toward my 11 year old.
He just looked at me blinking slowly. He’s a smart kid. Inside his head, his brain was probably saying, “Why is mom losing her mind over a toilet?” On the outside, he responded with, “I’m sorry.”
Ugh. He was apologizing for my temper tantrum.
Here’s the question I have:
If we are so “enough”, why are we failing so often and so spectacularly?
I love the sentiment behind the “you are enough” mantra. It makes for a really beautiful piece of artwork. But how does that square with what’s actually happening in my house– a deranged mother wielding a toilet brush next to her bewildered son?
A message may sound like a nice sentiment and still be wrong.
If we’re enough, all by ourselves, the gospel is useless.
We are amazing, uniquely designed, and created in God’s image, but we’re still lacking.
If we were actually enough, we wouldn’t be fighting that nagging fear that we’ll be found out in all our not-enough-ness. Deep down we know the truth. I live it out every day in my parenting. I can’t do this parenting thing well in my own strength.
If I’m enough, I don’t need a Savior.
The Gospel is full of accounts of how God used people when they had nothing to offer.
When they came to the end of themselves, that’s when he went to work.
Jennie Allen, in her soon-to-be-released book, Nothing To Prove says this about her experience with learning she wasn’t enough:
“I am realizing it’s not my curse that I believe I am not enough; it’s my sin that I keep trying to be. All the while Jesus is saying, I want to free you from your striving, free you from your doubt, free you from your pride that cares more about your achieving something than you receiving something.
I am enough.
So you don’t have to be.”
Don’t take Jennie’s word for it. You can find it here:
II Corinthians 12:9-10– But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.