I recently spent the evening at a creatives gathering where we shared pieces of our writing or art. One of the pieces shared ended with this question; “What does enough feel like?” I haven’t been able to shake it. I’ve been mulling over it and bouncing it around with friends. I’ve yet to have someone answer it easily. It’s more of a self-inventory kind of question than it is one that provides a singular right answer for every person.
It has been an intriguing discussion. I’d love to treat this blog as an extension of that conversation. We may not come to the end of it and dust off our hands, thankful for a perfect conclusion. But, my hope is that it offers us a chance at self-reflection and critical thought and conversation.
So, what does enough feel like for you?
It makes sense to first consider where we feel places of lack in our lives. If you have some of those places in your mind now, imagine how you would know if you had enough of what you were longing for. Would that thing being met be enough to satisfy all of your life? Is there ever an enough?
There appears to be something intrinsic in our nature that leads us to want more. I see it in the Garden at the very beginning. Even before the fall, Satan suggestion that there might be more for them and entices Adam and Eve. They had all of the trees of the garden available to them. More than enough. But when Satan points out there is something that they aren’t experiencing, their hunger is aroused. That desire tells them to get the “more” they don’t have. That one tree, the knowledge that is not yet theirs. Surely if it was theirs then that would be enough! Or would it?
They had all the food they could ever need to be satisfied. All the beauty. All the variety. All the access to the tree of life. Why were all the other trees not enough?
Our culture exacerbates and capitalizes on our intrinsic desire. All our money making endeavors are tied to our need for more. All our social media perusing is fueled by wanting to see what else is out there, what others have or are doing, so we can then want it or try for it. Every romantic drama on television stirs our desire for that kind of love. Every half clothed woman on a magazine or commercial or on your computer screen only causes you to respond because you hunger.
Have you ever felt filled enough in any of these places of lack? You’ve made enough money? You’ve traveled to enough places, purchased enough clothes, redone your house enough times, eaten enough good food? Have you had enough of the kind of love you’ve longed for? Enough sex?
I wonder if when we say enough, if we really mean abundance? If we had an abundant amount of the thing we long for, that would be enough. But enough by definition is not all. It’s just a sufficient amount. When we consider how enough might feel, are we describing abundance?
We don’t often say things like, “I want so much money! I want the most money possible!” Or, “I want all the friends! All the very best ones that never let me down!” But we don’t ever seem to be fully satisfied with the enough that might exist in our lives in those areas either. Why does a sufficient amount not feel like enough? Like Adam and Eve, why aren’t almost all the trees enough?
From the beginning of creation, before sin entered, I see the presence of desire. It’s the thing Satan knew he could leverage in Adam and Eve. They had a desire for abundance. Remember, they had all the trees but one. Which was fine until someone pointed out they had an opportunity for more. But, what if the desire for abundance wasn’t the fatal mistake? What if the fatal mistake was when Satan convinced them that the abundance they desire could be found somewhere other than in God?
It seems to me that scripture describes us as created for abundance. In Malachi 3 God says to His unfaithful people that He will, “Open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Think of the Prodigal son. When he returns home from wasting his inheritance, his father pours his abundance of resources out on him. That is how God is with us. He lavishes the riches of his grace on us (Eph1:8). Such abundant language for His people.
So, maybe we long for abundance because we are supposed to. But maybe it is the abundance to be found in what God himself offers our hearts.
I bet that abundance causes us to readjust our scales and changes how we weigh out what enough is here on Earth. I know, all of the promises of God, all the hope of eternity, all the gifts of the spirit don’t erase longing here. We are all still feeling the lack of this world in one way or another. I’m considering though, how finding the abundance in being deeply connected to God might allow us to live in this tension of life on Earth with peace and joy and contentment.
Could enough feel like peace in the middle of lack? Could it feel like joy and hope in what God lavishes on us even in the places we wish there would be a tangible outpouring? Could things feel more like enough here, the more we find God himself to be abundant?