There has been a word that has been echoing throughout my life lately. And that word is enough.
I’m slowly but surely plugging through Jon Acuff‘s book Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job and I came across a section yesterday that really resonated with me — defining your “enough”.
In the book, he describes your definition of “enough” as the point of success you have in life where you don’t need anything else to be content. As for Jon, he wrote himself a letter when his blog became successful and turned into a book to remind him of what was “enough” for him. Here’s an excerpt:
But in the midst of this time I want you to remember that a few weeks ago (in March 2009) you sat outside with Jenny on the side of your house in the brown Adirondack chairs with the sun setting and you thought to yourself, “This is enough. I have a beautiful wife, a house to live in, two wonderful children, a job. This is enough. There’s no reason to chase money or material possessions when the book comes out. I have enough.”
Switching gears completely, I know I have been uncharacteristically quiet about it so far, but the Time Magazine cover heard round the world also bears this word.
Am I mom enough? Jeez, I guess not, since I don’t plan on continuing to breastfeed my kid when he’s tall enough to reach the microwave.
This “enough” has been unmistakably evident in my life as of late. Am I working enough? Am I making enough money to afford to be a good mother? Is my apartment safe enough? Does my husband love me and our son enough to never leave us? Am I volunteering enough? Am I praying enough?
As if my own standards for “enough” weren’t already too high, my whole life I’ve tried to live up to other people’s ideas of “enough”: being pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough, successful enough, Christian enough, smart enough, down to earth enough, fun enough, happy enough…
Just enough in general.
With a baby on the way and a seemingly unending laundry list of things to be worried about, I’ve officially given up. There is only so much I can do or be. When is being “enough”… well… enough?
And so, I’ve decided to take a page out of Jon Acuff’s book and define my own enough in a letter to Future Me, with the hope that I’ll refer back to it when I don’t feel enough.
Dear Future Lindsay,
At this moment in time, you’re probably in your cubicle at work, trying hard to focus on the task at hand, but finding yourself distracted by several things: the guilt that comes along with the fact that you’re not at home with your son; the fact that whomever is home with him is probably surrounded by the rest of the things you’re worried about; dirty diapers, dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and a litter box that is screaming to be emptied. You’re more than likely stressed out about the fact that you’re not entirely sure how you’re going to afford to feed your family something healthy this week, either. How many times a week can you have pizza before Congress decides it’s not a vegetable anymore?
Take a deep breath. Relax. Remember that you are doing everything you can. You are doing enough. You are enough.
You have a husband who loves you and takes care of you and your baby. You have a job; even if that job doesn’t pay much, it does allow for you, your husband, and your son to have health insurance. You are part of a wonderful church community that loves you and cherishes your involvement. You are surrounded by countless friends and family who not only know everything about you, but love you regardless and want the best for you. You live in a safe neighborhood. And even if you don’t know the first thing about decorating, your house has character. Even when it’s messy.
You gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who clings to you in a way that no one else can experience. You are his source of life and sustenance. And even when he grows up to be a teenager and hate you, you’ll still be his Mommy. You’ll still be enough.
Above all of that, you have a God who loves you enough to die for you. He will never forsake you or leave you, even when you’re too tired to put away the laundry or vacuum or load the dishwasher.
This is enough. You have enough. Remember that.
P.S. Don’t worry about losing the baby weight. Seriously. Your husband will probably become inconsolable if you go back down to your original bra size anyway. Just embrace it.
P.S.S. Don’t eat the entire strawberry pie in the fridge. Sure it’s delicious but your stomach is going to haaaate you.
P.S.S.S. Has Michelle Obama found your blog and asked you over for dinner yet? Just curious.
What is YOUR enough?