I am an obsessively clean person. I like things neat, orderly, and dust-free. If things are out of place I have a hard time focusing. Now don’t go and suggest that I have a disorder…I know better than that. Simply put, I enjoy cleanliness and order; and there is nothing wrong with that. Usually, I dust my furniture and trim-work in my house at least once a month. I HAVE to. If I don’t I feel like I’m living in a barn. I can’t stand dirty floors, or cluttered counter tops. So I clean. A lot. I like to clean. I find it relaxing, and I feel rewarded by the end result of a clean house. But, I have a confession to make.
I haven’t done more than occasionally vacuum, mop, and scrub the toilets for close to four months.
It has been awful. I have wanted to clean. But it just never has been something that I can accomplish. Baby boy has been way to cranky, little girl has been way too clingy, and homework assignments don’t have flexible due dates. Also, eating has seemed to be more important than clean, dust free baseboard. So I have chosen to cook up meager meals of hot dogs and beans or frozen pizza rather than clean. And then school started and I went back to work. We have been lucky if last week’s laundry gets washed, never mind folded.
Ugh. I hate this. Being pulled one way and then another. Wanting to do something but being completely unable to. Needing to do one thing while silently longing to do another. And all the while it’s that feeling deep down inside that makes everything worse.
I feel like I am not enough.
Driving to work so many times that feeling comes over me. All I can do is think about the mounds of laundry that I really want to fold, but Baby boy always has other plans. Or the fact that I have three essays due by Saturday and it’s already Tuesday. Or that I need to go grocery shopping because we are down to an egg and maybe a quarter cup of milk. And I want to do all of these things, but I just can’t. I can’t do it all. I don’t have enough energy or time to accomplish everything…and I’m just not enough. I’m just not enough.
And the truth is, I’m not.
I never could be enough. Dirty house, clean house. Folded laundry, unfolded laundry. Full fridge, or empty fridge. I never will be enough. There is never enough time, never enough energy, and never enough desire to do everything that needs doing. I’m not enough. And I never could be or will be.
This realization is really truly awful, something that originates deep down in your soul and slowly works its way into the consciousness of your mind. You’re not enough, and you never will be. It depresses, discourages, and works to cause you to feel defeated.
And then another consciousness overtakes yours and whispers peace into your soul.
It’s okay. You’re not enough, but you don’t have to be. I am.
And isn’t this the truth. We are not enough. Never will be enough. But He is.
‘And He said to me “my grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness”‘ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So in the middle of my weakness, among the unfolded laundry, the dusty furniture, the dirty dishes, and the hungry kids His strength is made perfect. While I might wish that I could be, I know that I will never be enough; but it is okay, Because God is. I might feel like a failure…like a stressed out, crazy person who never accomplishes anything. But it’s okay, because His grace is sufficient for me. I never will be, and never have to be enough. Because where I end, He begins.
And we made it through. I could say ‘somehow we made it through’. But I won’t, because I know how. Only by His grace and strength. The house might have been pretty dust filled for a while, but we survived. Looking back it is easier to see my end, and His beginning. The sudden burst of energy after the kids go to bed when I get the entire downstairs picked up and kitchen cleaned in like ten minutes flat. The extra five minutes of Baby boy’s nap that never happens where I manage to fold nearly two full loads of laundry. And the fact that we went to bed every night with full belly’s even though I felt too exhausted when I got home from work to do anything, never mind cook…yet I always managed something, or even better Daddy would miraculously get home early enough to cook for us. Where I ended, He began. And though the provision seems so trivial and ordinary, mundane and petty; it meant the world to me. Small pieces of the perfect, clean and orderly world that I used to control.
Control for a time at least. Because all control must come to an end, you can’t be perfect forever. And when you run out of being enough, that’s when you realize that what you can’t be, He can.
So it’s okay if you can’t do it all. You are not alone in your imperfection and inability. Take joy in the fact that you have discovered truth that is insurmountable in value: when you are not enough, He is.
And so my Ellie and Kreade. When you find yourself in that place, where you feel like you aren’t enough…you probably aren’t. But don’t let this feeling defeat you. Find joy in the fact that life has brought you to that place where you can realize and fully understand that you don’t have to be. Where you end, God begins. His grace IS sufficient for you, and His strength is made perfect in your weakness. In Him, you are enough. And that is really all that matters.