Tuesday, November 19, 2013


"Oh it's enough to be on your way 
It's enough just to cover ground 
It's enough to be moving on..." 

~James Taylor, "Enough To Be On Your Way"

There's always a lot of thought revolving getting up and going in the morning.  What is there to be done?  What can I not forget?  What can I, if possible or need be, move to tomorrow?  Then there's the ever-essential prayer... 

Help me, Lord.  I can't do this by myself. 

Always, this is the prayer as I convince my eyes to open, my feet to swing around and arms to push me from the security of the blankets.  These days are a bit like rolling down the slope at my grandparents' old place.  Once you get started, it's on.  There's not much stopping. 

For my entire life, I've been an over-thinker.  You get the overspray here online.  If I'm not overthinking what I said, did, and how it could have caused someone else to feel five minutes ago, yesterday, last week, or ten years ago, I'm wondering if I'm making progress.  I wonder if what I do is enough.  Am I just walking through these days completely selfishly, accomplishing little to nothing in the grand scheme?  Am I making a good difference in the lives of my kids, my husband, my family as a whole?  Am I on the right track?  

We used to joke about the September freak out.  That time every year, since I was a kid, was my annual worry-fest over, now that I look back, just where I was in the path I thought I was supposed to be on.  As a kid, it was always about math.  I wish I was kidding.  I would be in tears the night before school started every year because I might not be able to do the math.  From then it went on to other worries, but to be honest I was always afraid I wouldn't be able to perform in whatever math class lay before me.  

In college, it was all about that little paper handbook the school of music gave me.  They used to give out a booklet that had all your course requirements and graduation requirements spelled out in a glorious checklist form.  Perfect for someone who dreams of being organized, together, and is a real task-master.  I'm proud to say that I completed all those requirements a semester (or some would say a year) early.  And NO, I did NOT come in with hours.  I came in with a clean slate and determination.  

Now, I'd say I'm a little too proud of that accomplishment. 

If I told the truth, I'd tell you that I lay on the floor of my friend's dorm room the night before my first jury and bawled my eyes out.  Juries, for those of you who aren't or didn't know music majors, are the final for your private lesson.  A performance of at least one prepared piece, and some scales, for the instrumental music faculty.  

I made an A on that jury, but I have to say I didn't believe I would.  I believed that I was not even close to good enough, and that they would surely take away my scholarship and kick me out of school.  

After that, the juries came every semester.  They didn't get much easier, but I at least didn't cry all night the night before.  The focus became my recital.  Every semester at the beginning and end, I'd pull out that white, plastic-bound booklet of the courses and requirements, taking a bit too much pleasure in every check-mark for a class completed.  And then I'd look at that one at the end... the half senior recital, preceded by a hearing to make sure you can play your stuff, and senior comprehensives, and piano proficiency... and I was the same kid crying over not being able to do the math.  

This is pretty much my thinking over my entire life, y'all.  Never good enough.  Gotta get that next accomplishment fix.  Surely, after getting this stuff all in a row I'll feel together.  

Guess what?  Never happened.  Yes, I graduated and got a great job, though not in that order.  And I loved my job.  But the accomplishment-addiction part just grew.  In my second job, I met my husband and got married. *check*

Then we had a baby.  *check*

Then we got pregnant with a sibling.  *check* 

Then the day after Christmas that year, we lost that sibling. 


Then Ryan quit hitting milestones. 


Then we started hearing that he'd need to be in preschool, not home with me as I'd planned.  


The checks became painfully out of reach.  

Over the next few years, I'd learn slowly and painfully that the checkmarks on the checklists were God in my mind and heart.  The realization that God is not going to send me down the tubes for not accomplishing the way I'd thought I was supposed to was, at first, very scary.  

The realization that I will let people down is still scary.  

But the thing that solves this?  The gospel of Christ.  

SO many people don't get it. I would have told you I did, I would have nodded in agreement ten years ago.  But I didn't.  I still thought I had to be good.  Be enough.  Be better.  Be on top.  Say the right things.  Be the right person.  Attend church, become a Sunday school teacher, work in VBS, send casseroles when they're needed.  Be at the business meeting, shake hands, smile, and amen.  

I didn't think the lack of these things would send me to hell.  I thought the lack of fitting the mold of the southern, country, predisposed cultural version of what equaled "Christian" would surely separate me from peace here and now.  And I was terrified of that separation.  

My dear son who has special needs unknowingly stripped away at the pretentious shell I'd become.  My formulaic version of Christianity yielded a shell, terrified of being cracked.  Autism took a hammer to it, revealing a crossroads.  

What am I doing?  What do I believe?  Do I stay involved in church and insist that my kids stay involved because I believe in it, or am I forcing my kids into a mold? 

Is there life-changing substance in what I'm doing? 

The answer was in several ongoing heart changes, which led to some outward changes.  The biggest change?  

Every morning, my request is the same.  "Lord, help me do this.  I can't do it without you."  But with an addition.  

"Help me realize the gospel to my bones.  Help me rest in it.  Help me put one foot in front of the other knowing that you love me, and have put teeth to that by seeking me.  By refusing to let me go with the grip of your own life.  Help me stop chasing enough, realizing you are the enough." 

It's not magic.  It's not a formula.  It's definitely not a "pray this prayer ten times and you won't have to worry about money" thing.  It's the knowing that, through Christ, I'm already enough.  It's looking back and seeing the things I was given... the completion of the checklists... until I was ready to see the truth.  It's in trying, doing my best with what is before me with the end result of being a good steward, not trying to impress God and those around me.  When I am stepping onto the tightrope of bettering myself, doing something new, or just dealing with the next day, I do so inspired by what's been done for me and with the safety net of the freedom that comes from knowing I'm loved.  Forgiven.  Carried.  And especially that he is, and always will be, the enough that I need. 

It's not just enough to be on your way.  It's enough to truly get to know who sent you.

Thanks be to God for his sovereignty. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...