Thinking About That Time When I Was Enough
Recently some friends of ours showed up at church. It was a happy surprise—I wasn’t expecting to see them. They don’t exactly live in the Renton/Kent area, and I haven’t seen them in years… decades.
Who are they? Pastor Lou and Sandra—the ones who took a chance on me. My very first ministry position was at their church. I was young, inexperienced, and not yet finished with college. But they believed in me, loved me, and wanted me to be their youth pastor.
After their surprise visit at our church (where we had a few minutes to say hi, Pastor Lou gave me a “Pentecostal handshake,” and we posed together for a picture), Shari said something about them that left me reflecting for days…
“It was such a happy time working for them. There was never any pressure, manipulation, control. They accepted and loved us as we were. With them, we were enough.”
We were enough.
That thought has been sitting with me for a while now. I’m realizing that it was perhaps the only time in my life when I felt like I was enough. It was the only time I experienced working for someone who communicated and demonstrated no pressure, no manipulation, no control… but rather, acceptance, love… and you are enough.
Interestingly, there was a real fire burning inside me at that time. I did more than was asked of me. I wanted our youth ministry to grow—and I worked diligently and creatively to reach more kids in the community. The love, acceptance, and sense that I was enough did not cause me to be apathetic, lazy, or without motivation. Instead, it was like a greenhouse environment for me—where I was safe to grow and flourish.
I’ve also experienced whatever the opposite of “you are enough” is. Those experiences were not like a greenhouse. And the fruit of those experiences was stress, anxiety, self-doubt, and restlessness.
So I keep thinking about that time when I was enough. I’m incredibly thankful for my first pastors… the ones who loved and accepted us, and who made us feel that we were enough.
And I want to be like them.
I want to love, accept and communicate + demonstrate that you are enough.
Just so we’re clear, I’m talking about YOU. Yes, you.
You are enough.
You bring me joy. You make me smile. You are accepted. You are loved.
And you are enough.
German Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper wrote that love is not: “How good that you are so (so clever, useful, capable, skillful), but: It’s good that you are; how wonderful that you exist!” (from his book Faith, Hope, Love pg. 170)
It’s good that you are; how wonderful that you exist!
Yes, you are enough.
Other posts on this subject you might enjoy:
The Liberating Truth of Limits
Andy once asked me “What makes a perfect child?” My answer is somewhere in an e-mail, but the gist of it was “You -and your brothers and sister – were perfect from the moment Mom and I first imagined you. Nothing you could do or don’t do will ever change the love we have for you. It’s just a little inkling of the way God feels about all of us.”
The challenge for me is to love everyone that way
Oh, how we need to learn and live the message of this post–for ourselves and for others. Thank you, Brian! Once again, you knocked it out of the park.