You are not enough, but Jesus is!

Written by Alisa Childers
Published on October 21, 2022

The mall is an idyllic place when you’re a new mom with a two-month-old. Once on a trip to my local galleria, I joyfully sat down on a bench to gaze into my baby’s face and give her a chance to look around at all the sensory stimuli waiting to transform her into a little Einstein. 

Just kidding. I sat down because I could not walk one more step without fainting from exhaustion in the orthotic shoes I was wearing to help redistribute some of the excess weight that was now crushing my foot bones with every stride. I also stopped because my wee one was not enjoying this little shopping adventure. She’d been wailing ever since I dared to strap her into the car seat to drive there. My free-spirited offspring did not appreciate being constrained by seat belts, strollers, bouncy chairs, swings, or really anything other than my actual arms. 

I looked down at the only top I’d been able to squeeze into, my husband’s faded extra-large T-shirt, and wondered how on earth I’d managed to gain eighty pounds in pregnancy. I mean . . . I didn’t really wonder. I knew it was the cheese. And the donuts. And the ice cream. And the bread and butter. And the meals big enough to feed a group of linebackers. I had just assumed that the weight would magically fall off when the baby was born. I pictured myself being one of those cute moms who strap their little ones to their chests with organic baby wraps as they work out at the gym and run errands. But then my baby was born. Of course, she didn’t weigh eighty pounds, so I was stuck with the consequences of nine months’ worth of extra helpings of mashed potatoes.

I looked up at some ladies sauntering out of a trendy clothing store. They had perfectly coifed hair and looked like they’d just come from filming a YouTube makeup tutorial. My mind exploded with confused thoughts as anxiety grew. Will I ever wear regular clothes again? Will my baby ever stop crying? I was, 24-7, at the mercy of the needs of this tiny new human, and I was absolutely exhausted. 

Years later, I came across an article addressed to “every exhausted mom out there.” It recounted a mom losing her temper and feeling like the biggest jerk in the world. (guilty.) There were descriptions of a mom feeling alone, stuffing her face with food, ordering pizza because she was too tired to cook, and experiencing a big, fat fail when she tried to put her old jeans on. (Yep, yep, check, and yep.) And then there was the big reveal. The answer to all these problems. Are you ready for it? You are enough (not even close). 

Becoming a mother smacked me in the face with the realization that I am not enough at the deepest level. I never have been. It challenged all my notions of perfection. It removed any illusions that I could somehow draw deep upon the well of my own goodness and give my daughter everything she needed. I couldn’t and still can’t because I’m not enough. 

“You are enough” is based on the assumption that people are basically good. If that is true, we would be enough. But deep down we know that humans aren’t basically good. Every parent knows this. For example, as soon as children learn to speak, they inherently know how to lie. They know how to be selfish, to cheat, to steal, and to hit. It comes naturally to them. You actually have to teach them to not lie, not put themselves first, not cheat, not take other people’s stuff, and not resolve their problems with violence. People are naturally hardwired to want to get their own way, serve their own desires, and resist letting God be in charge of their lives. 

It all started back in Genesis 1:26, when “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” This means that every single person who has ever lived has a certain dignity, worth, and value. But when Adam and Eve decided to turn away from God and pursue their own desires by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they unleashed evil—in other words, sin—into the world. Then they had children. Their children had children. Just like Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, their children were made in the image of Adam and Eve. Therefore, the image of God was not lost. It was passed down, but it was disfigured. This sin nature was passed down to their descendants. 

Culture says you and I should think, I am enough. The Bible says that I am not enough. In fact, according to Paul, I am, by nature, a “child of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)

The good news comes in 2 Corinthians 5:21, when Paul says that even though Jesus “knew no sin,” he was made to be sin (by his death on the cross) so that “we might become the righteousness of God.” In other words, Jesus covered our not enough-ness with his enough-ness to make us enough before God. That’s right: Jesus is enough, and when we put our faith and trust in him, we find peace with God. 

You don’t have to be enough because Jesus already is. He explains this quite plainly in John 15 when he compares himself to a vine. Those who believe in him are like branches growing from and dependent upon that vine. Jesus tells us that when we abide in him and he abides in us, we will bear good fruit. In nature, a branch that is cut off from its vine will quickly die. It will never bear fruit in and of itself. It is not enough. It’s the same with us humans. Jesus tells us why this is the case: “For apart from me you can do nothing” (verse 5).

You will never be good enough, smart enough, ambitious enough, athletic enough, disciplined enough, strong enough, gracious enough, loving enough, honest enough, gifted enough, tough enough, gentle enough, talented enough, or dedicated enough. You. Are. Not. Enough. This news humbles the mighty and elevates the humble. That’s the beautiful paradox of the gospel: that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

You are not enough, but when your trust is placed in Jesus, his enough-ness is transferred to you. Isn’t that good news? If you agree, I’ve got some more for you. Armed with the knowledge that you are not enough in and of yourself, you can be in a better position to prioritize who comes first in your life. Hint: #Iamsecond.

Adapted from Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make Us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed by Alisa Childers.  Copyright © 2022. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.  All rights reserved.


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Alisa Childers

Alisa Childers is a wife, a mom, an author, a blogger, a speaker, and a worship leader. She was a member of the award-winning CCM recording group ZOEgirl. She is a popular speaker at apologetics and Christian worldview conferences, including reTHINK. Alisa has been published at The Gospel Coalition, Crosswalk, The Stream, For Every Mom, Decision magazine, and The Christian Post, and her blog post “Girl, Wash Your Face? What Rachel Hollis Gets Right . . . and Wrong,” received more than one million views. You can connect with Alisa online at alisachilders.com.

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