The Confident Girl: Is Not Enough (On Her Own)
Written by Haylee Roberts
Early this month, I attended a Christian Women's Retreat at a well-known camp in California. I was excited to join 500+ women in the worship of our Lord, be refreshed and renewed by the outward beauty of God's creation, and most of all, I was eager to hear some deep, biblical teaching. I was desperately saddened and frustrated as I drove home Sunday morning. I had just spent three days listening to a (well-meaning) woman speak about her battle with depression and the solution she came to for mental health. Her solution was not the saving work of Christ, but rather an emotionally driven response to trauma.
She preached the mantra of "I am enough".
Now, this is not the first time I have heard this concept. In an American culture that pushes inclusivity, acceptance, and tolerance, we are at the forefront of a self-acceptance movement. If we let it, it will wreak havoc on our spiritual lives. I don't say these things to shame you or the woman that taught this weekend, I say them because I believe these ideas to be a sinful lie that is easily misleading because it speaks to our deep insecurities. The "You are Enough" movement is unbiblical and has devastating implications on our lives if we regard it as truth.
There are three primary reasons to reject the "You are Enough" movement:
1. We are desperately wicked.
God is holy. Holy meaning righteous, set apart and that there is no darkness in Him. He is perfect. The "You are Enough" movement tells us that just as God is perfect, we too are perfect. In fact, it rejects our sinful nature altogether. God himself, through His Word, would tell us that we are NOT holy, we are NOT perfect, we are NOT righteous. In fact, God's Word would tell us we are the utter opposite of that. By nature, we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3-5). "None is righteous, no, not one." (Rom 3:10) What does this mean? It means that apart from Jesus we are an unrighteous and unholy people, without Christ's sacrifice on the cross to pay the just penalty for our sin, we would have no way to commune with God. So no, we are not enough. Without the Holy Spirit, without God's willing and calling to us, without the Lord saving us from the depths of the ocean where we could not swim, apart from His wonderful grace and majesty, we are not enough.
2. The "You are Enough" movement causes us to minimize sin.
Sin is a human activity that is contrary to God's will. Much of what we do as humans is sinful. It's in our nature to sin and it is also in our nature to reject God and His will. This is due to the Original Sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden where the first act of disobedience occurred. As Christians, we are called to confess and repent of our sin regularly. This means we admit we have done something wrong and sinned against God and then we accurately understand the implications of that behavior and turn from it to walk in obedience. In essence, we hate our sin just as God does and we fight daily to walk in righteousness. By accepting the "You are Enough" movement, we are rejecting that we have sinned against God and instead believing the lie that we are perfect and need not confess or repent of our sinfulness. At the conference I previously mentioned, the female teacher asked us in the audience to just sit in what we are, to be satisfied in what we are. We should NEVER be satisfied in what we are in a way that keeps us from confessing, repenting, and praising God for His goodness. We are not enough because only God is enough.
3. The "You Are Enough" movement diminishes what Jesus did on the Cross.
If we are enough, why need a Savior? If we are enough, what did Jesus die for? By coming to earth from heaven as fully God, fully man, living a perfect/sinless life, being crucified on the Cross, by taking the ultimate wrath of God for the sins of the world, by rising again three days later, by ascending into heaven, and by now sitting at the right hand of God as our intercessor, Jesus did all that needed to be done to make us whole. We are offered the fullness of God's grace because of Him. If we accept that we are enough, we miss it. We miss the Gospel completely. If we choose to believe that we are enough on our own we elevate ourselves as the way to eternal security. We lose the power of what Christ did in His sacrifice by believing we have done it ourselves.
But take heart, my dear sisters, this does not mean you have no value. Through the lens of Jesus' sacrifice, God finds you to be holy and pure. There is great abundance in living with the knowledge of your identity and value through our Lord. I'd like to map out a few practical ways to live with the knowledge that Jesus is your ultimate value:
1. Live boldly.
Because your ultimate value is in Jesus, you do not need the approval of others to walk in the light. This means that you are free to share the Gospel, live a radically transformed life, walk in purity, and love others in a way that comes with no eternal price to you. No matter the opinion of the world, you are made perfect in the sight of our God. This knowledge should lead you to boldly live out your faith without a fear of judgment. The ultimate judge has already deemed you good through our Savior's sacrifice.
2. Focus less on the physical.
Let's be honest, as women, we are constantly comparing and idolizing those around us. We live in a world of impossible expectations and an insatiable desire for more. If we know our identity and worth is found in our Lord, then we know that striving for physical beauty or power brings no satisfaction. This striving is in vain and often develops into the sin of idolatry. Our worth will never be measured by our physical beauty or by how nice our homes are. Instead, our worth will be assessed through the lens of our Savior and through our works done in righteousness. Our primary focus should be the extension of the Kingdom. Our effort and focus should be on eternal things, not on our current circumstances. As women of the Word, let's set our eyes on greater. Let's give our time, energy, talent, and finances to eternal work rather than improving our comfort or physical beauty. Hearts adorned with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are more beautiful than any top model could ever strive to be. We have value because of our Savior. We don't need to be affirmed by the world.
We have a secure eternity, we have the promises of God, we have a good Father in heaven that allows us to commune with Him, we have the fullness of joy, only because of Jesus.
I know that the "You are Enough" movement has its roots seems like a good idea. But many destructive things have had their roots in a good idea. We are enough, if and only if, we have the saving grace of Jesus, we walk in repentance, we bear the fruit of righteousness, we desire to learn and grow, and ultimately, we are new creations in Christ.
We, in our flesh, are not enough. But Jesus is.