A toddler I occasionally babysit is perpetually stumped by the idea of enough.
Hey, we have enough toys out already, why don’t we put up a few before you get more out, that way you’ll have more room to play?
She always looks at me, eyes wide in disbelief that I would suggest such an idea.
It always takes a bit of coaxing explanations and encouragement on my part before she’ll finally glance down at her toys scattered across the floor and start picking up a few to put in her basket.
One of her favorite words has become “lots”. It’s no longer “I love you” it’s “I love you lots.” It’s no longer just asking for apples for snack, it’s: “Apples. LOTS…please.”
We had a tiny dispute over paint yesterday.
She wanted to paint “lots of pictures,” so I got out her set of washable acrylic paints and took her outside with some brushes, papers, and a piece of cardboard that she lays out on to paint.
Contentment lasted for five minutes.
“Grace,” She pointed at her paint palette, none of the colors even close to needing a refill. “Grace,” she repeated urgently, “lots of paint.”
“You don’t need more paint, silly,” I pointed at the still full sections, knowing half of the paint in there was already going to end up down the drain of the kitchen sink in ten to twenty minutes when she lost interest. “You have lots of paint already, when you need more I’ll give you more. You have enough right now.”
She stared at me.
“Use the paint you already have first, ok?”
Her eyes go back to the paints, and I watched her face harden. “Lots.”
I poked a paintbrush into one of the paints, watching it sink in, “Look, enough.”
Eventually, she returned to her painting, and I realized that we are no different than toddlers still.
I’ve been thinking about words for 2021 since I know a lot of people who like to start off their year with one.
If I were to choose a word, it would be “enough” because I always find myself wanting more, no matter how much I’ve been given.
It’s also a word on my mind because of the fact that I spent a lot of nights in 2020 crying because I felt like I wasn’t enough as I was.
If I had been older, prettier, smarter, better with words, more stylish, and with a bigger smile on my face twenty-four-seven, maybe, just maybe I would have been enough.
Those nights still bring tears to my eyes, not because I’m still upset over it, but because I still remember the pain so well.
The ache, it wasn’t anyone’s fault that I felt unwanted, but still, I sobbed to my mom like my seventeen-year-old heart was shattering in my chest, and the glass fragments of heartbreak fell from my throat in the words of, “Why am I not enough? I try so hard, but I’m just not. I’ll never be.”
Many of my nights were spent grieving.
Mourning the death of what never was, and what I realized never would be.
Looking back, I wonder why I cried so hard over some things.
Why did I lose sleep over a boy who saw everyone but me?
Why did I want what I wasn’t, when those things simply weren’t meant for me?
I am who I am, and I am who I’m becoming.
I’m becoming a good woman, a strong woman, and maybe I’m not the type of woman that the boy who I used to break my heart over would have been able to love, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not loveable. It doesn’t mean I’m not worthy just the same.
I can imagine God looking down at me, like I looked at the girl I was babysitting the other day.
You don’t need more, silly.
You don’t need to be one or two years older.
You don’t need to be smarter in these subjects.
You don’t need to have her eyes, her hair, or her smile.
You don’t need the newest clothes.
You don’t need to be extroverted.
You don’t need to be popular.
You don’t need to be witty.
You don’t need to be their definition of pretty.
Stop wondering what she has that you don’t, didn’t I make you fearfully and wonderfully made as you are?
Look, enough. If you needed more, I would have given it to you.
2020 made me feel like I lost myself, and I know a ton of people can relate to that.
I lost myself in the search for someone else–a version of me that didn’t exist.
Near the end of 2020, I tried to start reclaiming the parts of me that I had spent the year trying to throw away, parts of me that I had felt were inadequate and had attempted to replace.
I had spent the year feeling too soft for some people and too harsh for others.
I had spent the year trying to squeeze and mold myself into everyone’s definition of “enough”.
Ironically, the month I was finally ok with saying “I’m seventeen” because I no longer felt like my young age was a curse was also the month I turned eighteen.
The month I finally realized that I was enough on my own, was the month I became no longer alone.
However, words cannot describe the joy it brings to meet someone and realize that they are not just enough, but more than you could ever want, and for them to feel the same.
When I think about it, that’s how I feel about God, and I’m so blessed that He feels that way about you and me, dear reader.
I know I keep writing about this in my posts, but my mind keeps going back to it:
He sent His only Son to die for us, He looked at us, and we were enough. No, not just enough. We were His creation. From the beginning, we have been wanted.
Isn’t that enough?