I am finally typing. I’ve been resisting all morning. Finding so many ways to procrastinate. Facebook. Online shopping. Email. What else can I find to do before I hit the keys? This is a hard topic. Do you belong? Do I belong? And if not, why not? To look deeply into this issue can be painful. I have been praying about it and asking God to give me insight. He has given me lots of ideas, and I am jotting them down. I have a list. I’m carrying a pen with me everywhere.
relocation… insecurity… shame… bullies…
…a few fragments of the list. It keeps growing. Because every day I see. I’m watching now. I’m aware. My antennae is up. Ways people connect. Things that bring them together. Or keep them apart. As I watch a TV show, I find myself thinking, ‘See? Right there. They are a tribe. They belong together because…‘
Yesterday I caught a commercial for Ancestry.com. Their new DNA testing is popular — spit into a tube and know for sure where you came from and hence where you truly belong. And with whom.
So as I have studied these scratchings of mine on this notebook paper this morning, I wondered if I had enough on the list to write for the rest of the month. And in doing so, I scribbled the word, enough, in the corner of the sheet. I felt an immediate emotion. That word. Enough. Or… Never enough.
“I am never enough.” How many times have we heard someone speak those words? What causes someone to feel that no matter what they do, it will never be enough?
A few months back, I shared an hour (or two) with an old friend at a local coffee shop. The conversation got close up and personal, tender and raw even. She was struggling with a new hobby, and feeling inadequate. “This is beautiful. Why don’t you think it’s enough?” She tilted her head and looked at me, and as she shrugged her shoulders, she said, “Nothing I do is ever enough.” I was surprised at her comment. She is a gifted, talented woman. She does many things well.
And yet. I am never enough.
“Tell me about that,” I said. Here is her story…
Growing up, I always lived in the shadows of my sisters. They were popular and outgoing. I was awkward and introverted. I remember when I turned 16 years old, I was just coming out of my shell. I was dating a popular guy at school. I had just got contact lenses for the first time, and I had a new hair cut. I had even stopped biting my fingernails. I was feeling good about myself. I was feeling pretty. But that evening when my dad came home from work, he looked at me, nodded his head, and said, ‘Wow. Look at you. But you know, you can do all those things, but until you lose some weight…”
I remember being humiliated, and feeling shame. I knew he was right. I had done some good things, but it wasn’t enough.
A comment made so casually by a loving dad had impacted this woman her whole life. Over forty years later, she still hears a voice in her head, telling her she isn’t enough. Never enough.
Whew. I said it could be painful. So that IS enough for today. Join me tomorrow as we look more closely at this topic, and how it relates to the bigger theme of Do You Belong.
You can find the last post (It Wasn’t Ever Going to Be My Home) here.