We are a culture that has to have it all: all the intensity, all the feels, all the best.
We vote small town folk into superstar status. Everyone gets to be a hero -- just check YouTube for the most recent. We vie for rankings that supersede normal reckoning -- remember how a 4.0 used to be the best GPA possible? And let’s not forget the Big Mac is now considered average.
Sometimes, though, we opt for less than all.
“I can take a little more off the sides if you like,” the stylist says, scissors hovering near my hair.
“No, that’s enough.”.
“More jalapeno in your chili?”
* Sputter * choke * cough * “No, I’m good. I’ve had enough. Thanks.” *cough*
We Christian women commonly encourage our spiritual sisters not to find happiness or identity in the standards set by the world -- Am I pretty enough? Am I thin enough? Am I smart enough? Am I a good enough wife/mother/homeschooler? If we have Jesus, we assure one another, we have all we need.
That sentiment is true. If we have Jesus, we do have all we need. And if that’s an accurate description of where I am spiritually, I have also received all of His promises of happiness, contentment, peace, courage, strength, unity, access to the Father, wisdom in decisions.
But sometimes those promises seem flat, elusive -- as if I’ve logged onto the ATM and found my bank balance is lower than I expected it to be.
I think quite often the Jesus that we proclaim is only a partial Jesus. Just enough to get us through. We fashion a Jesus that suits our lifestyle -- a Jesus that is there whenever we want him, whenever our lives need a boost, like a talisman, complete with incantations and seasonal rituals. “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” “Easter is not about chocolate bunnies but a Sacrificial Lamb.” We utter just enough of the right Sunday School phrases, tender just enough of the right balance of guilt and acceptance self-talk, share just enough of the right Christian mommy-blogs on social media.
Without sacrificing too much of our comfort, our conveniences, our identity.
Except, a “just enough” Jesus falls just as short of being a Savior as a chocolate bunny would.
When I'm inclined to cling to one part of the person or work of Jesus, by default, I dismiss all of Jesus. When I say Jesus is all I need, and this much of him is enough for me, I seize authority from God. I declare his rule, his plan and wisdom insufficient or flawed and mine a better alternative. It presumes to make me God.
Let me urge you, my sisters: The Bible tells us God bought us and the price was the blood of Jesus. He owns us and wants all of us (I Corinthians 6:19-20). In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus announces that his disciples will have to deny self for His sake in order to have life.
He doesn’t give us options. We can’t just fit him into our lives. We must have all of Jesus.
** Five Minute Friday (FMF) is a weekly event hosted at the website of Kate Motaung wherein participants are given a single word prompt every Thursday evening, which remains active for one week. How to play: write for 5 minutes on the thoughts, memories, impressions, reflections, aspirations, hopes, beliefs, convictions, or whatever, that that prompt word brings to mind. Set a timer, write without worry about spelling or grammar or typos, and stop when the timer goes off (no cheating). The rules are here. It's free, it's non-committal, and it's easy to participate, so come to the #FMFparty with me! This week, the word was ENOUGH. (Disclaimer: I usually start a piece according to the rules, and then it develops into a regular blog post.)
Laura England Miller