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The Problem With Our Need For Enough

Laura Phelps

More often than I like, or even care to admit, I feel 100% at the end of my rope. It is embarrassing to write, you know…to even say the words, “I am losing all hope.”  It goes against everything I claim to believe. Everything I sit down and write.  Everything I teach my children. Every story I share. I worry that friends and family will whisper, “I knew she was a fake, all along,” or begin to doubt my authenticity, and wonder, “Where's the Warrior, now?”

So, why risk sharing this?

I risk sharing this because I refuse to let my unbelief win.
I risk sharing this because I know that all suffering has purpose.
I risk sharing this because right now it is all that I have.
I risk sharing this because I know that God will take anything I offer, and use it.
Even if my offering is small.
Even if my offering is weak.
Even if my offering appears “not enough.”
He takes it, He gives thanks for it, He breaks it, He distributes it.
He wastes nothing.

And maybe this is why I have always been drawn to the story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes (John 6:1-15). Because feeding a crowd of thousands with barely any food is just the kind of miracle I need.  And maybe you do, too.

As the large crowd approaches, Jesus asks Philip, “Where can we get enough for them to eat?” Philip responds that even a year's wages could not possibly be enough. And it always gets me thinking, because, honestly? I don't think we need to to be stormed by a hungry crowd of thousands to ask ourselves this question. I also know enough about Jesus to understand that when he asks us a question, it is not because He needs to learn something new about us, but rather, that we are about to learn something new about Him.

Where can we get enough?

Did you see the movie The Greatest Showman? Because there is a song that speaks of this. This idea of never enough. And the lyrics go like this:

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it'll
Never be enough
Never be enough
For me

This song reminds me of a lesson in Touching The Divine, my favorite Walking With Purpose study, that focuses on the qualities of Jesus revealed through the Gospel of John.  Author Lisa Brenninkmeyer writes, “...I'm halfway through the weekend, feeling once again, that what I have to offer is not enough. My family's needs go beyond my resources.” (1)

Have you ever felt this way?
Have you ever felt like you are not enough?
Like you can not possibly give enough?
Like there is nothing in this world...not even towers of gold, or the very world itself...that will ever be enough?
Here is the problem with this need for enough.
Unless we look for our enough in what Jesus has to offer us, we will never be satisfied.

Enough is not in our bank account, an important title, or cleaned up homes. Enough is not in our accomplishments, awards, successes, closets, or spouses. Enough is not in our children, in a bottle of wine, in a bag of chips, or in a bottle of pills.  Enough has nothing to do with our completed to do lists, a perfectly fit body, an outstanding report card, an overpriced coffee, or how pretty our Instagram feed looks.

Enough only comes from Jesus.

Why do we feel insufficient?
Because we are.
Why do we feel like we are not enough?
Because we are not.

But this is why we have Jesus.

You see, the miracle of the loaves and the fishes wasn't just that he magically made enough food to satisfy. The miracle was that he needed the crowd...the measly, needy, hungry, unsatisfied, broken, tired, with seemingly nothing to offer crowd, to be a part of his miracle.  And I don't know. Maybe you don't agree. But I can't help but feel that the fact that God asks ME...sinful, empty handed me, to step in closer to Him, and offer all that I have - which feels like nothing in comparison to everyone else - is a miracle in and of itself. And that when I do approach Him and offer Him what I have...unafraid that I will be left with nothing...unashamed that it appears too small...He takes it and turns it into something beautiful. He holds it, raises His eyes to His Father, and performs a miracle. He uses me to feeds thousands, supplies me with enough, leaves me with leftovers. Not so I can continue to fill myself up, but so that I can go out into this weary world and offer what I have leftover to others. He is just that good.

When I am honest with myself, I can see that feelings of inadequacy are usually a result of my self reliance. When I am at the end of my rope, it is because I am trying to feed myself and everyone else that I love, by my own strength. And this, my sweet friends, is exhausting. Believing that I can satisfy myself and my family based on my own resources is a recipe for a well run dry.

You know what part of John 6 is jumping at me this morning as I write? After Andrew identifies a young boy who has a small offering of five barley loaves and two fish, but remarks to Jesus, “What good are these for so many?”, Jesus, just before the taking and breaking, commands, “Have the people recline.” He did not ask the crowd to do anything to earn their food, other than to rest in His presence and allow Him to do the work.

And He asks the same of us.

Are we enough?
No, never.
But Jesus is.
So step in closer, offer the little that you have, and rest in His presence.

The miracle will happen.
He will provide you with more than enough.
And when He does?
Then take what's left over, and go share it with the world.

Your “not enough” Sister in Christ,


“Lord, satisfy me! Please come and fill in the gaps where my efforts are not enough. I try so hard to be self sufficient, forgetting that you are delighted when I turn to you first. You provide superabundance when I un-clench my fists, give you what I have, and wait for you to act.”

P.S. Touching the Divine (TTD)  draws us into a deeper relationship with Jesus as we reflect on His personality. It is my all time favorite WWP study! Have you done this study at your parish or on your own? Are you offering it to your women this Fall? Learn more about TTD here! And be sure to stay connected with us all week on Instagram and Facebook - we are a community of women who recognize that our “enough” only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

(1) Lisa Brenninkmeyer, Touching The Divine (Walking With Purpose 2010-2015), 88

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