A bad case of the “not-enoughs”

 

Dana was a girl in my class at church.

Her family had five kids too, same as ours. And it’s funny, the things you remember; funny that I remember a day of learning about Christ, when Dana’s mom walked me out to the car to whisper something in my ear.

“I want my kids to be just like you,” she told me, admiration glowing in her eyes.

My hungry little heart ate those words.

I was starving. Any kind of acceptance is food for an approval-seeking soul.

Somehow, I learned it very early in life, that people like good girls. Parents like them, teachers like them, church folk like them, and those were the kinds of folks I hung around.

So I was the good girl. I was the teacher’s pet, the “Character Award” winner, the child other parents wanted their kids to be like.

But there is one secret a good girl carries deep inside—the stain of sin. ‘

The good girl can’t escape the knowledge that she will never really be good enough. No matter how much performance, no matter the approval and acceptance she earns, there is still the lusty hunger for more.

And Jesus, He has a way of exposing the lack. He knows how to awaken soul hunger. He knows just how to bring you to the end of yourself.

He did it to the crowds in John 6. He led them to a “solitary place” where there was no food, no provision, no resources.

There was no goodness.

There they remained until their hunger growled and their need hissed and they tasted deep their utter desperation. The Savior’s way is always to bring his beloved face to face with their longing and lack, and yes, especially their sin. If we could just get that, maybe we could move to the miracle part. But the painful exposure is hard for a good girl.

At the moment the crowd was near faint for lack of provision, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, You give them something to eat.”

The disciples not only had nothing for themselves, but now the responsibility to nourish others fell square on their shoulders. How many days have I been in that very spot? I’ve felt sucked dry, empty? Yet the children are there, the husband, the people I’ve come here to serve, and Jesus turns and says day after day, “You give them something to eat.”

The true disciple of Christ comes to the place, again and again, where she lacks, she thirsts, and she has nothing. She has responsibilities but no resources. She longs for adequacy, approval, goodness—but there is only want. There is simply all this growling emptiness, us face to face with our inability to ever be enough.

Then the Messiah speaks, “Have the people sit down.”

Christ makes His intentions clear. He never intended for us to be good enough. He intends for us to sit down, cease our labors,  stop striving and trying while attempting to meet our own needs.

Elyse Fitzpatrick says:

“We too have nothing. We have no innate goodness, no righteousness, no wisdom, no strength, no miraculous power to enable us to work hard enough to meet the overwhelming need of our souls. We are completely bankrupt; we’re devoid of the power we need to conquer our sin, to change our nature. We have exhausted all our supplies, and although we are willing to work, there is just nothing that we can do that will satisfy such a wretchedness. We are starving for true righteousness, hungering to be able to meet God’s standards, languishing as we try to satisfy the ever-growing needs of those around us. But our Savior calls to us, “Sit down.”

 

We can hear the call and we can believe it. When faced with our gaping need and unrighteousness, we can sit down and cease striving and trust that He’s got us covered. He’s handling lunch. He’s got our sin taken care of. He’s got all of eternity handled. All we need to do is sit down and let Him serve us.

The liberating truth for the not-good-enough is that God never intended us to be good. He intends for us to believe.

“For Christ is the end of the law to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). This is the work God has for us, to believe in Him whom He has sent. (John 6:29)

We need not be afraid of our hungers, our cravings, our desperation. We need only train ourselves in this, the sitting down and believing.

And as we do, there are leftovers. Baskets of abundance.

 

**Excerpt from Trust Without Borders

 

31 days of trust without borders

 

 Day 30

 

1. The Bread: Read John 17:1-19

2. The Devo: Read Day 30 in Trust Without Borders

3. The Plunge: This one’s for all the good girls who don’t measure up. In what ways are you faced with your lack today? Hear Jesus’ invitation to “sit down.” Take some time to literally sit down, stop working, and believe that for all your lack, He’s got it covered. In fact, He has abundance for every good deed!

Trust Him for it today.

For all the days in this series, visit the Trust Experience home page.

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