If you’re like me, you may wonder how you could be the source of God’s delight? For years, I was so performance-based I could not imagine God delighting in me. I felt like I never measured up. Thankfully, He has shown me His delight is based on His view of me, not on my performance.
God delights in us and every detail of our lives because we are His. We are His Beloved. Throughout the Song of Songs, the beloved is described as chosen, loved, beautiful, pursued, rescued, worthy to be adored, exciting, lovely, sweeter than wine, pleasant, beautiful in every way. Yet, she describes herself as dark, neglected, abused and isolated. Might we sometimes underestimate ourselves as well?
I used to think I was not enough. Now I know I’m not enough and was never meant to be.
Because of the loss of 2/3 of my foot in a lawn mower accident at age 3, I wrestled with feelings of inadequacy as a young girl. I felt like I was not enough – not pretty enough, not fast enough and not good enough. I labored to compensate for these feelings of inadequacy by excelling in school and creative projects. I expected my school work to earn A+ grades. Yet, none of my endeavors filled the void I’d felt all my childhood.
For many years, I wrote scriptures on slips of paper and placed them in my shoes until they wore out and needed to be replaced. I went to many healing services. I threw the bedcovers back morning after morning to see if God had miraculously recreated my foot overnight. Many times I asked God to restore my foot to the way it was before the accident so long ago. Instead of a miraculous recreation of my foot, I daily met new mercies and fresh grace to keep moving forward each day.
We are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” -2 Corinthians 3:5
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul reports that many times he asked God to remove the suffering in his life. Each time the Lord said to Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Paul then said, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
When I surrendered myself to Christ, He began the work of showing me He had made me whole in Him. Though perfectionism lingered, I began shifting my focus from myself to serving others during my last years of high school and college. In doing so, greater joy began growing in my heart.
When my husband and I were still just dating but had reached a point where I trusted him and actually believed we would one day get married, I decided to let him see my reconstructed foot. He recognized I was very nervous as I explained myself and hesitantly rolled down my sock. He stopped me, looked in my eyes and said, “Lesley, you are not your foot.” Those words thundered through my ears straight to my heart, unlocking the chains that had held me captive for more than two decades. I didn’t even realize I had always believed my foot defined me. Shawn’s unconditional acceptance ushered healing and freedom into my soul.
After we married and later added children to our family, I discovered the burden of perfectionism was dominating my thoughts yet again. I felt like I needed to be a perfect mother. In moments when I felt like I was not enough, I often lost my inner peace and felt hopeless in the face of parenting situations I didn’t know how to resolve on my own. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is a patient and faithful helper. A wise friend, relevant scripture, or reassuring worship song would cross my path and give me the hope and refocused perspective I needed to make changes or accept imperfection in myself and others.
I then encountered a revelation that changed everything: If I alone were enough, my children would have no need for God.
My job as their mother is not to be enough for them. My job is to show them how I run to Jesus in my weakness, depend on Him in my lack, and surrender to Him in all things. I am not enough, but Christ in me is more than enough for any challenge I face. During my long season with physical limitations, I was often unable to do everything I wanted to do for my children. I sometimes needed other people to transport them, help them get ready for school, make our meals, clean our house and take them to the park. I was tempted to feel like much less than a good mother, but I surrendered my children to God and let Him be more than enough for us all. As I embraced the reality that I was unable to do and be all my children needed, we taught them to run to Jesus in times of trouble.
After years of fighting to save my reconstructed foot, I finally decided let it go in exchange for freedom and health. The first few weeks after the amputation of my foot, my 10-year-old daughter lovingly told me multiples times each day, “Mama, you are so beautiful.” After a dozen or more messages like this, I clued in that she was thinking I might feel less than beautiful or whole. So, I asked her, “Do you think I don’t feel pretty anymore because my foot is gone?” She shook her head yes. I armed her up in a big reassuring hug and said, “Thank you so much for your sensitivity to my feelings. Thank you for being so loving and thoughtful. I just want you to know that I honestly don’t feel one bit different on the inside. I did not loose part of myself when I gave up my foot. I am completely whole and more confident than ever because I am free.” What a revelation of freedom! What a joy! Only God could transform me from someone who felt like I was never enough into someone who feels completely whole after the amputation of a foot. Jesus is calling: “Let Me be enough for you.”
© 2017 Lesley Sturm