September 6, 2011

Not Enough

I fear that I am not enough.

Perhaps you are one who believes the pastor's wife never has bad days, never knows struggle, never wrestles with self-doubt or feelings of failure. But fear doesn't go away when you assume positions of influence. It just comes in different forms.

Lately, even as I have written about fear and as my husband has preached about fear, I have been overcome with it: fear of failing my children, fear of disappointing people, fear of imperfection, fear of living a meaningless life.

Lying awake tonight, thinking, a memory surfaced.

In college, I worked for a summer at Kannakuk, a camp in Missouri. As part of our preparation for campers, we learned to hold the safety ropes on the tree top activities, including the Pamper Pole. The Pamper Pole is simply a telephone pole covered in small pegs, meant for climbing. Each person attempting the Pamper Pole is strapped into a harness that is attached to a bungee cord that keeps them from falling to the ground, even if they do actually fall.

That summer, I watched as fellow counselors shimmied up the pole and then stopped in panic at the top, clinging and uncertain. Finally, with encouragement, they would step up on top of the pole and fling themselves toward a swinging acrobat's bar hanging in front of the pole.

From the ground, this didn't appear too difficult and I wondered why so many were frightened by it. But when I got to the top, to the part where I had nothing left to hold on to, where the ground seemed dangerously far away, and where I struggled to trust that the harness would hold me if I fell, I understood why the Pamper Pole was named after a brand of diapers.

As I thought tonight about all the things that I fear, especially the fear of not being enough, that feeling of ascending the Pamper Pole is what came to mind. The terror, the lack of trust, the overwhelming feeling of being on my own, all the same things I am currently struggling with.

And then I remembered the harness. The fear of balancing myself on a tiny telephone pole swaying in the wind was (very) real. But all along, whether I felt it or not, I had the harness on. 

Is this not the gospel? We aren't enough. We are deceived when we either think we are enough or when we think we have to be enough. However, the fact that we aren't enough is only half of the equation. It's like an incomplete sentence, with the most important part left off.

We aren't enough, but God has made us enough.

When we worry that we aren't enough, it is the unnecessary fear, the fake fear of climbing the Pamper Pole and feeling that we are on our own when all along we are locked into peaceful safety. Like the harness, God keeps us.

So as I struggle through these feelings, I'm resolved to remember the complete picture.
I am not enough.
But I don't have to fear, because He has made me enough.
I will cling to and trust my Harness.