The feeling lurks just under the surface so frequently, waiting until I am over-tired, over-scheduled, overdone, to rear its ugly head.
I concede as if I knew it all along. I’m not keeping up, failing as a wife, as an employee, as a housekeeper, a mom, a friend. If I look closely enough I’ll find it somewhere, sometimes everywhere; all the places I’m coming up short.
There could be 10 good days in between, a hundred or a thousand even, and still I’m tempted to nestle into the lie as if it were governing truth.
I’m not enough; I knew it. I always knew it.
We live our lives risking this when we love beyond our limits. When we give big and live loud, offering ourselves to the world vulnerably, we’re bound to trip and sometimes it’s the dumbest things that start our spiral. The enemy doesn’t miss an opportunity.
Last week it was printer ink. Really, printer ink. We ran the printer dry and it insisted that my new replacement cartridge was damaged. My son had a report due in the morning and we had no suitable printer ink. I tried everything I knew to fix it, Googling bypass codes to remedy those persistent error messages, and I came up short. It was my tipping point on this particular day.
I stink at this, all of this. I’m just not enough for it all.
Lies creep in quick and quiet, barely noticed at first.
But I’ve been here before, on this precipice before the downhill slide, and I’m starting to recognize the pattern.
And there are some very real strategies we can put into practice when we find ourselves here.
Turn the I into You
As soon as doubt creeps in, as soon as fears begin forming, my language takes a decided turn. I’ll never get it all done. I’m not enough. I can’t keep up. Do you see it? Nearly all of my fears, my worries, begin with I. This has become my cue; the moment where I stop and shift my focus.
If I say my hope is in Christ, this is the very spot I get to put it into action. But God you redeem (Psalm 49:15), but God you are my strength (Psalm 73:26), but God you say I am chosen. (1 Peter 2:9).
As quickly as lies present themselves I want to be equipped to replace them with Truth.
Switch from what we feel to what we know.
Feelings are tricky because they are real – we really feel them. I might not feel like making dinner tonight. My kids definitely do not feel like cleaning their bedrooms most days, but we train our children to see beyond their feelings, to weigh them against what they know to be right and true. I need to continually train my heart as well.
I might feel overcome and overwhelmed but Truth states that I am not forsaken, struck down or destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9). When feelings weigh heavy, we remind ourselves of what we know to be true.
Say a Brave No
The biggest battles in my schedule are always the good things, not the bad things. It easy for me to say no to obvious time wasters, things that blatantly take away from my priorities, but it’s those good things that I get hung up on. Would I like to lead the Bible Study? Of course! Would I like this opportunity to connect with a group of writers? Definitely. What about this sport or activity for my children, this service project for our family? Can you lead this, help with that, and serve here?
Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, when I’m feeling like I am not enough, it is because I have usurped my priorities and taken on more than I can rightly handle. I’m learning the power of a brave no – a no to good things that does not allow me to serve my priorities well.
Weigh out those good things carefully, pray over them faithfully and be brave enough to say no.
Take a deep breath, a step back and see the situation for what it is. This is not motherhood failure, life failure, this is printer ink. We can survive this.
And while you’re there, bravely hold up your shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16), staving off the attack, believing He will provide, because His word is Truth and Life and Hope, meeting us just where we are. He is always enough.
Katie Westenberg is a wife, mother and writer who is passionate about living life bravely for the glory of our Creator and encouraging others to do the same. She enjoys country living in a small town, time spent with friends and family, and saying YES to adventure. She writes at ichoosebrave.com.