I spent the first portion of the year forging through Brene Brown’s Living Brave semester. This online course delved into her two bestselling books: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. During the 12-session class I pressed into challenging introspective work that caused me to turn my emotional insides out, dissecting them with microscopic analysis. Some days were really ugly, like dumpster-diving behind the back door of my soul.
If you’re not familiar with Brene’s work, the core of her research is based on shame and vulnerability; how shame has the power to question our inherent worth, and how vulnerability unlocks the capacity to be real, to be seen, and to be heard. It sounds simplistic, but the crux is rejecting the influence that critics have in our lives, and courageously fighting for what’s important to us. Brene teaches that shame will remind you that you’re not enough, that you don’t measure up, that you’ll never be enough.
In our “not enough” culture, shame breathes words of scorn with you’re not skinny enough, not wealthy enough, not smart enough, not kind enough, not strong enough, just not enough and the unattainable goal of enough-ness is always out of reach.
Regardless of your job title, the accomplishments of your children, the size of your house or the size of your wallet, I want you to know that you are enough. Your value doesn’t increase depending on who you marry, or who you don’t marry. You are enough.
How do I know this? Because Christ took your sin and shame on the cross. When he did that, he gave us the freedom to choose a life full of unashamed love. Through Christ, we are enough.
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
Sin says, “You did something bad.”
Shame says, “You ARE bad.”
Jesus took them both to the cross. We were vulnerable and cried out to Him in our despair and asked Him to save us. That vulnerability led to our salvation. And it’s a daily choice to be open with Him, allowing Him into the deep places of our hearts to live our lives for His glory, and not our own.
“We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.” –2 Corinthians 4:2 (MSG)
The oldest trick in the book is for the devil to cause you to question your value; to cause you to be insecure about your identity. He manipulated Adam and Eve and caused them to think that they were not enough in the garden. Think of it; they were in spotless relationship with God and the devil baited them to question their worth, enticed them to believe they were not enough. The audacity! How could they have a more perfect relationship with God than in the garden? After the devil succeeded in manipulating them into insecurity, he let shame do the work.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” –Genesis 3:7 (NKJV)
Shame makes us hide behind false protection. We want to appear that we’ve got it all together. Nothing to see here. Move on. We’ve got everything under control. But the fig leaves didn’t really do the job for Adam and Eve. It temporarily covered their shame, but it wasn’t lasting. It’s not surprising that Jesus cursed the fig tree in Mark 11:14 when it boasted of beautiful foliage, but no fruit. We are not meant to cover up our insecurities and shame. We are meant to live in free in Christ, bearing good fruit, and knowing our value and enough-ness in Him.
I encourage you to “live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he arrives, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives” (1 John 2:28 MSG). Only in Christ can we walk confidently in our identity and flick off the pesky buzzing of the devil, trying to convince us that we’re not enough.
You are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.