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Moms, You Are Not Enough

“Mama, you got this. You are enough.” My heart sank when I read the last lines in an article on a leading website for Christian mothers. My heart sank, because it was my article.

The article was intended to encourage moms in the trenches of raising little ones and overwhelmed by trying to do it all. When I saw the article online, though, I noticed that the last lines had been altered. The original, unedited version read, “Mama, you got this, because [H]e has got you. You are enough, because he who is in you is enough.” The published article had left out God.

One message women, including Christian women, have heard on repeat is these three words: “You are enough.” Christian authors and speakers have been incorporating this phrase in sermons meant to encourage women, especially moms, who are bogged down by guilt and plagued by self-doubt. The words often seem perfectly acceptable and, perhaps, empowering. At worst, it appears trite, but harmless.

But what does the seemingly innocuous phrase really mean?

Am I Ever Enough?

“You are enough” is a well-intentioned way of saying, “Life is hard, but you got a handle on it, because you’re a fierce, independent woman.” When you forget your child’s kindergarten orientation (true story!) or lose it when your toddler throws a tantrum before you’ve even brewed your coffee, don’t beat yourself up, because being a mom is undeniably challenging. And don’t give up, because you are strong enough for motherhood — you can do this.

While that seems uplifting, as Christian women, we’re hearing less than the full truth. The message is slowly diluting the gospel. This may sound disenfranchising to women, but you and I are not enough. No one is. The calling of motherhood — and of the Christian life — is a high and overwhelming calling for anyone. None of us is good enough, kind enough, right enough, or strong enough. And that’s why each of us so desperately need[s] Jesus in the trenches every single day.

Your Never-Enoughness

The idea of being inadequate is unpopular in our earn-your-way-up culture. We would rather lap up nice-to-hear platitudes than grapple with what God says in Scripture. The Bible is not undermining our worth. It is simply pointing out that we find our true worth in Christ alone. With him, we are free to acknowledge that we are flawed.

When you’ve finally tucked the kids into bed and still have to load the dishwasher, it’s okay to recognize that you are not always gracious enough to respond kindly to a little voice that hollers, “I need water.” That’s when you and I have the beautifully freeing option of confessing, “Father, I just don’t have what it takes. I need you.” That may be all it comes down to: acknowledging our never-enoughness, so God has the chance to pour out from his endless reserves of grace.

Susan Narjala
Susan Narjala
Susan Narjala works for a non-profit in India that supports the education of underprivileged children. She is also a freelance writer and has been blogging for several years at Alliteration Alley. Her writing has appeared in Relevant magazine, Her View From Home, Parent Co, Huffington Post India and the MOPS blog among other sites. Connect with Susan on Facebook.

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