I have been finding since a simple intro to the idea of logic & reason that many of those cute little posts I see everywhere now bug me; I cannot simply” feel good” to their tune anymore. Now they have to go and make me think. But since it’s no use going back to simpler days, I’ve made it an interesting exercise to unpack these ideas and ask myself “What does this mean, and does it work?” (a.k.a., is it true?)
“I am enough.” Interesting thought… But what do people mean when they say that? “I am enough” for what? Do people mean when they say “I am enough” that we should regard ourselves with dignity and not have low self esteem? I have the impression that most people get this feeling when they say “I am enough.” That is a good idea and true, because we all have value. (Probably infinitely more than we know or can see now; the image of a little baby cooing and gurgling comes to mind, who then grows up to be an incredible and amazing man – who would have known that by looking at a drooling infant.) But that idea is not expressed very well by the statement of “I am enough,” as the thought “I am enough” simply does not actually mean “I have worth” or “I have value.”
Does it mean “I am who I am supposed to be?” Maybe. It would be very dangerous for a baby who cannot walk or talk yet to say that, as it might be dangerous for me to say this to myself; because I have not yet achieved perfection, or the completion of who I am supposed to be. I can know this because I find I am often frustrated with myself, my actions or with the outcomes I get. If I find I am frustrated, it implies that there must be more, or something better to be attained; if things were perfect or just right I would then be content, not frustrated.
Or does it mean “all I need is within me now?” If I saw this principle working in my everyday life, then I could accept it. If everything I (or anyone I know) wanted came true simply because I snapped my fingers, if I got everything I asked for, and if I could instantly make all my troubles vanish, then I would be able to truly say, “I am enough.” Problem is, that does not happen; even when I set out with all the best intentions I still sometimes say things I don’t mean, do things I later wish I hadn’t, and find I have to deal with all kinds of problems, challenges and surprises that I was not expecting. On a daily basis I encounter things and situations that are out of my control. The people that surround me are also, I find (sometimes frustratingly so) out of my control. And I find my body functions without my intent or command; I may die at any moment, and that is also out of my control. (Thankfully it is in my control to not worry about it, as I have a feeling this list goes on and on.)
As my life runs today, I find that I can do what I need to do, with a little help from outside “me”. Because I need strength, I need love, I need encouragement; I need courage to fight the good fight, and to persevere in my calling and responsibilities, and I find I need… Perhaps even more things than I care to admit. And these are things that I do not find within myself. (Like my husband recently commented, “I would like to find French within myself.” – I’m on that boat in a heartbeat.) Chesterton said,
“I do not, in my personal capacity, believe that a baby gets his best physical food by sucking his thumb; nor that a man gets his best moral food by sucking his soul, and denying its dependence on God or other good things.”
We, like all plants and animals must receive our physical and spiritual nourishment (from which we derive sustenance and strength) from outside ourselves, because we are simply not born self-sufficient as some would like to imagine. I can do all things that I am called to do every day. (Through Christ which strengtheneth me.)