This piece is a response I gave to a recent posting on our church blog.  The writer, a woman about to deliver her first child, wrote about “the voice inside”; it is the critical voice that says we are not enough.  I know I have heard this voice more than once.  Perhaps you have too.  At the end of the post she asked for ideas on how to deal with this voice and the “shoulds” it often speaks.

Daily I have been looking at your post hoping someone else would reply. Since they haven’t, I didn’t want you to believe that others weren’t struggling with this issue. My reluctance to write has been due to my feelings of insufficiency to respond well.

I think in pursuing a desire to counter this voice you have accomplished two great steps. First, you recognize the feelings and own them and second you lean into them rather than seek to hide them away. Congratulations.

I would also recommend learning to lean into how much love and grace God pours over you each day. Our culture says we should be a super model, a super mom and even a super saint. But these are not God’s ideas. He lavishly loves even when we do nothing. Soon you will have a baby. You will love that baby and the baby will do nothing. Your baby will cry, poop, and spit up and you will love that baby. And your baby will make you cry, poop, and spit up and still you will love that baby. Why? Because your love for that baby is forever regardless of what the baby does. This begins to mirror God’s love for us. Because we exist God loves us – forever.

We seem to have trouble embracing this concept for we connect love with comfort and when we are not comfortable we assume God does not love us. This is far from true. Someday you will hand clothes to your child and expect him to put them on. It would be far easier and faster if you did it, but you know in the struggles he will learn to accomplish the task. God, too, knows our struggles are for our good, even our struggles to accept we are enough. The more we are able to take in God’s love and grace the more we can diminish the voices of this world that shout we are not sufficient. Often I find these voices are connected with greed and pride and envy; buy something and you will be okay.

If you want more on this topic I would recommend Dr. Brene Brown. She studies shame, vulnerability, compassion and creativity. You can read her books and blog or catch her on TED talks and YouTube videos.

But the bottom line is you are enough. We all are. We need to trust and believe in order to live out that enoughness.