Enough Already

Enough Already May 23, 2016

The Punishment of SysiphusI always feel like I’m not trying hard enough.

Right now, I’m sitting here at the mall, in the Barnes & Noble, and there’s a man who is accomplishing a lot of business on the phone behind me. There are people who are ordering drinks and taking their seats, computers at the ready. There are people looking at books and taking notes. They all seem to have a purpose and I don’t. They are busy. They look like they are gettin’ shit done. And I’m not. Not really.

This is a problem.

I am constantly comparing my life to other people—people who manage to get a lot of things done, seemingly in spite of a thousand interruptions. Mommy bloggers with several littles, people who have demanding employment, people with disabilities and they all have these fabulous blogs and something to say, on a regular basis. They make appearances at conferences, they give lectures, they are known.

But that is not me. I am striving, but it’s never enough. It’s never quite what I was hoping for. It’s falling short, not making the grade, losing the race. I was always the last one picked. It gets me down.

I’ve largely given up reading, afraid of what I’ll find that reminds me that others are so much more. Better writers, better mothers, better Catholics, better people.

Thinner, smarter, richer, wiser, holier. Especially the last one. There’s a lot of, “Oh My God, I will never be holy enough,” in my prayer life.

God reminds me that I’m already enough. I don’t have to strive for more. I am loved.

I am loved.

I am loved.

You are loved.

He picks up my hands from where they lie like a dead animal in my lap. He holds my hands in his and his hands are warm and alive and he looks at me and says, “I love you. You are already enough.”

I am already enough.

I am already enough.

You are already enough.

I am loved. You are loved. We are loved.

*****

XXXI

By that one hair

You have observed fluttering on my neck,

And on my neck regarded,

You were captivated;

And wounded by one of my eyes.

Saint John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle

Since Thou hast so loved me as to give me Thine only Son to be my Savior and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine; to Thee I offer them with joy, beseeching Thee to see me only as in the Face of Jesus and in His Heart burning with Love.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, “Oblation to Merciful Love

…God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

and

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brook over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

The Bible, 1 John 4:8b-10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

*****

Image Credit: The Punishment of Sisyphus by Titian

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  • I loved this post. So refreshing and reassuring. I can really related to this feeling of not enough. And the only time when it really left for a while was during a spiritual experience. Why do we feel like this? But I’ll bet all the people we compare ourselves (unfavourably) to also feel like they are not enough.

    • Oh, yes, yes, yes. I find that to be the case. I’m sure if I would’ve walked up to any one of those people, they would have laughed in my face to think that I found them inspiring.

  • Marti (Martie) Petersen

    Cynthia I enjoy your blogs so much! Thank You! Martie

  • Ha! Take a look at my blog & you’ll feel much better about yourself! (ha, ha!) It’s so hard NOT to compare yourself to others. Not sure if we ever get over it.

    • Oh, but your blog is WONDERFUL! I am following it NOW!

  • I think everyone feels like they are not enough “something.” I had such dreams for this year after such an amazing year in 2015. Then the first two weeks of January happened and I realized (again, as this is apparently a lesson I haven’t mastered) that I am not in control. But I am doing my best, and that is enough. You are doing your best, and that is enough. No need to compare ourselves to others. Keep writing!

    • Yes! Comparison is not only the thief of joy, but the thief of productivity.

      It reminds me of this quote I often read that, “Everyone is fighting a hard battle.” There are many sources, but Thérèse of Lisieux also said it!

  • Lisa C McConnell

    This is SOOOO what I have been dealing with! Thank you so much for this post. I am struggling with the thought that God has put me where He wants me and has given me the skills and talents I need to do the work He wants me to do!
    And as always, I struggle with the thought of screwing up God’s plan.
    And the difference between KNOWING something and being able to DO it!

    • I think it’s very possible that God has a job for each of us to do, but I don’t think it’s what we think it is. People are often afraid they’re messing up God’s plans if they don’t have a specific vocation. I hear this a lot. “God wants me to become a nurse, but I don’t want to.” Or even worse, “I know God wanted me to become a nurse, but I didn’t, and now He’s unhappy with me.” That’s nonsense. Our only vocation is love.

  • Oh, the compare = despair debacle. It’s awful. You are enough. We are enough.

  • Cynthia, we could set this to music and sing a duet!

    I am always feeling behind. The thing is, I need time to “be.” To sit outside and watch the clouds, to listen to a friend tell her troubles, to ponder what to write about. Or just, you know, to stare into space after a hectic day with students.

    Yeah. I do that staring thing a lot.

    How often I forget Mary and Martha. Martha was busy “doing” stuff, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening. Just listening.

    There are always things we need to do to keep our family clothed and fed, but you have reminded us of something important. We need to choose the better part, like Mary.

    • Exactly. It’s not that there aren’t some required things to be done. No one needs to go hungry or without clean clothes. But we just do so many things, and most of them are nonsense.

  • Yes – so be kind to all!

  • There was a time when I never had the energy to move from my bed to the couch or back again–and when I did, I needed help. There was nothing better to help me redefine my enoughness, really. What I first thought was a thief revealed itself to be a gift as I learned what matters most to me. It is, as you say, to be loved and to love in return. Thank you for this post.