I love certain words more than others. Words like abide. RestQuietPeaceBe still and knowEnough.

A ways back, I took myself on a little journey. Post-divorce, I thought it was time for me to rediscover some of my men-wounds. Good times. And one of the main themes that came to the surface was to stop looking in the eyes of everybody around me searching for affirmation, looking for who I am, and – not to be too much of a cliché – looking for love.

Instead, I need to look to Jesus by abiding in him.

Henri Nouwen says that “you are being asked to trust that God is enough for you”.

And I read these words – these so-perfectly-timed words they could only be God speaking right to me – and I realized that I needed to ask God to help me feel that he is enough for me. And on the flipside, that who I am is enough for him too.

God offers us a gift of salvation and enough-ness.  I know that’s not a word, but I think it should be.
God didn’t say that salvation is Jesus dying on the cross for us + us flogging ourselves and beating ourselves up because we keep messing up.
He didn’t say that salvation is Jesus dying on the cross for us + running ourselves into the ground doing things for him.
And he didn’t say that salvation is Jesus dying on the cross for us + all the nice things we can get other people to say about us and to us. It’s just Jesus.  It’s only Jesus.  Jesus is enough.

We can abide in that love.  We can find our true rest there.  We have live with a quiet heart even in the middle of hard things.  We can experience deep peace as Ephesians 2:14 says that Christ himself is our peace and Colossians 1:27 says that Christ is in us.  Christ is in us.

Do we get this? That Christ is actually in us? Because he is.

We can be still deep down and we can know the love of our Father. We can choose to believe that he is enough for us and that we are enough for him. Just as we are.

We can lay down all our striving. We can pick up his grace and his easy burden. In really practical ways, we can abide in Jesus and allow him to abide in us. Through prayer and confession, through reading his word and listening to him, through being as authentic as we can be within community, through asking him to make us so aware of his constant presence with us.

There are two things that I started praying after doing some reading about father wounds and such.

One thing is to see myself through God’s eyes only and to lay down what other people think of me. Henri Nouwen also says, “Over the years you have allowed the voices that call you to action and great visibility to dominate your life.  You still think, even against your own best intuitions, that you need to do things and be seen in order to follow your vocation. But you are now discovering that God’s voice is saying, “Stay home, and trust that your life will be fruitful even when hidden.”

We don’t have to do and do and do.  We can just be.  His love doesn’t ebb and flow based on our calendars and our levels of exhaustion.  (I’m not saying not to serve…what I am saying though is to make sure we’re serving out of our relationship with Jesus and because of our relationship with Jesus, not in an attempt to garner his affection or make up for our deficits or earn our salvation.)

And the other thing I’ve been praying is that I would trust that God’s love is enough for me. One thing I asked myself when I started working through all these men-issues this past month was, “How do you look Jesus in the eye and tell him that his big, perfect love is great and all, it’s just big enough and perfect enough for you?” Not that I feel God isn’t big enough to love me, but I feel as if my neediness is sometimes too big to be filled. So I’m asking him to fill it and then I’m asking him to help me believe that he will and has. And I’m asking him to keep me from filling it with smaller, stupid things.

So…are you tired?
You can rest. You can stop. You can ask Jesus to renew you. You can be healed and filled up and restored and brought back to life.

Are you trying to live out each day in your own strength?
You can abide. You can live out your days in God’s strength. Life will still be hard, but you will only bear much fruit if you are abiding in Christ, according to John 15.

Are you running and running, maybe deep down in order to earn your salvation (even if you wouldn’t call it that)?
It’s earned. It’s done. Salvation is Jesus alone. Not Jesus plus anything else.

Are you weary from trying to meet the expectations of other people in your life?
Paul says this in I Corinthians 2: “What I am not required to do is please you.  So what you – or anyone else for that matter – thinks about the way I am {living my life} does not matter much to me. “  We’ve got no one to impress.  We have no one to win over.

Do you struggle to feel loved completely, just for you who you are?
You can ask the Spirit to let truth sink into you…truth like “you are precious and honored in my sight and I love you,” the Lord says in Isaiah 43.
You can remind yourself that his grace is enough and it’s all you need according to II Corinthians 12.
You can remind yourself that your Maker is your husband according to Isaiah 54.
You can remind yourself that Jesus is always with you as he tells us in Matthew 28.

So think about enough-ness. About what it means for you to abide in Jesus. About resting and quiet and peace and being still and letting God be God.  About what it would mean to stop caring what everyone else thought about us and to only care about what our Father thinks about us.

Abide, sweet ones.

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Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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