I think I have spent much of my life feeling like too much and not enough all at the same. Only a woman could find herself there! My grandmother, my precious Nannie, was famous for saying, “Everything in moderation.” Maybe there were a generation of grandmothers who were famous for saying that very thing. It imprinted on my heart at an early age and I have spent the last 4 decades trying to find the elusive moderation she held in such high regard… That perfect balance of high and low, work and rest, too much and not enough.
So, let me go ahead and let you in on my “too much and not enough-ness.” I tend to be too disciplined, which makes me not spontaneous enough. I have a tendency be too structured which makes me not flexible enough. I have been known to be too black and white on most subjects which makes me not compassionate enough. I am inclined to be too driven which makes me not fun enough. I am too task-oriented which makes me not sleep enough. There are times and subjects about which I am too emotional which leaves me not objective enough. I know my too much and not enough-ness. No one has to point them out to me. I feel them down in my marrow. They play like an annoying song on repeat in my head.
I have gone through seasons of feeling a lot of shame over my “too much and not enough-ness.” I have listened to the lies that told me I had to hide it, overcome it, pretend it away. And if none of that worked, well I should just isolate myself, not let myself be known, shut my mouth because “everything in moderation” you know.
And then God blessed me with a circle of fierce friends to walk this road of womanhood, faith, motherhood, and marriage with. And do you know what I realized when I got in there deep with them? They are all too much and not enough too! Just in different ways… I have friends who are really into eating well and health, very involved in social justice, extremely focused on education for their children, exceptionally tuned in to intimacy with their husbands, particularly concerned with finances. And I know that their “too much-ness” leaves gaps of “not enough-ness” in their lives too.
In my hiding and pretending years I might have judged their too much and not enough. I may have defended my too much by focusing on their not enough all the while wishing desperately I had a sliver of it. And then a beautiful thing happened… On my 40th birthday, my darling friends went around and told me the thing that they loved and respected the most about me. And every single one mentioned some part of my “too much.” They respect how disciplined I am in my time in the Word, how hard I work to make my home a place where others feel welcomed, how driven I am to find and fulfill God’s calling on my life. My too much inspired and encouraged their not enough-ness just as their’s does mine.
It’s not rocket science. It is the body of Christ.
I Corinthians.12: 12 says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” Verses 15-20 go on to read, “Now if the foot should say, ”Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
Here is a bit of a paraphrase: “Now if the behind-the-scenes servant should say to the hostess, because I am not a hostess I am not enough.” And if the hostess should say to the behind-the-scenes servant, “because I am not a behind-the-scenes servant I’m too much in the wrong ways and I have no place, it would not be true for either. If the disciplined student of the Word who was raised in church and has been walking with Jesus since she could walk should say to the radically saved, passionate convert, because my witness is not dramatic, I am not relative enough, And if the powerfully converted sinner and novice Bible student should say to the long-time saint because I do not know enough I will keep quiet, it would not render either ineffective.”
The foot needs the hand. The eye needs the ear. My structured, disciplined, driven self needs my friend’s spontaneity and light heartedness, and (sometimes a romance guru.). And I trust they need my too much too.
Obviously we know that there are some places of too much that are simply sin… too much wine is alcoholism, too much work is workaholism, too many rules is legalism, too much rest is laziness.
But we also know that our God is a God of abundance, not moderation.
He is abundant in grace, and love, and in giving good gifts to His children. And maybe, it is there in our too much that we find our gifts and His unique calling on our life. Maybe when we press in and refine our too much, rather than try to hide it, we find that it is, in fact, just right. When we let Him be enough in our not enough-ness we are then exactly enough.
Oh how I pray you have a circle who love you enough to tell you that they need your too much for their not enough. How I pray that you find the courage to come out of hiding to tell a friend on this journey that her too much inspires and encourages you in your not enough-ness. And when it is our turn, let’s tell our daughters and granddaughters of God’s abundance. To be “too much” is in His character and He is all for their, for our, for your abundance. Only in Him are any of us enough.