Jen Ervig is Erica’s guest speaker this week! Today, she’s discussing the concept of feeling inadequate or “not enough”. Do you wrestle with feeling not good enough in areas of your life? Grab a cup of coffee and soak in the truth that God has for you regarding this, focusing on God’s existence and life-giving nature.
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Guest Host: Jen Ervig
Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Jen, filling in for Erica, and this week we’re going to talk about the idea of being enough. So, there’s so many times when we don’t feel like we’re enough. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re a good enough parent, you’re good enough at your job, you’re a good enough friend. Maybe you’ve got talents, but you’re just not as good as somebody else. About a year ago, I had an “I’m not enough moment”. Thankfully, an opportunity for solitude and empty space was afforded to me to get my heart and mind in check. I got to have a day long retreat at a flat in an old row home in Richmond, Virginia. The retreat was timely, in that moments before it started, I was given some news that made me question myself. I felt I was not doing a good job as a leader at my church or that the work I had put into raising someone up was not being acknowledged.
I just wasn’t enough. I also felt that instead of effort being put into developing me in this regard, that leadership was choosing just to remove me from the picture. Of course, none of this was true, but the feelings were real. I made the emotional and cognitive effort to reconcile these thoughts with God. Who he is and what he’s asking of me in this moment and onwards, God reaffirmed in me that I was doing and have done what was needed, and that I needed to humble myself and trust any and all other outcomes to him, because he’s enough. I needed that quiet and solitude to do that. I needed an opportunity to humbly turn to him and his enoughness to get a right perspective. When you are having a not enough moment and you get a chance to get away to retreat like this, or even just a closet in your home, or a bubble bath so that you can sit in solitude and refocus, use that time to remember who called you.
This Bible podcast can be used for that. Am I enough? is a confidence issue. You know what? One of my favorite characteristics of God is? His confidence. And in turn, my confidence in him that he who began a good work in me will complete it and that God is able to bless me abundantly so that in all things at all times, having all that I need, I will abound in every good work. When we remember who he is and are reminded of his confidence, then we can be confident that we are enough because of who he is. Let’s look at a first time in scripture that God does tell us who he is. It’s a story about Moses and the burning bush in Exodus three. Here we go.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
Now, side note, notice that God waits till he sees Moses’ actually paying attention before he begins to speak.
And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Moses is like pretty sure that I’m inadequate. I’m definitely not enough for this.
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Notice God doesn’t validate his feelings of lack but promises to be with him. I love that.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Imagine that moment, no shoes on holy ground, warmth of the flames from the bush that is not consumed and God’s quiet confidence says, I am. I am. Wow. The name of I am is how God chose to introduce himself. His quiet, confident introduction breeds a quiet confidence. He knows who he is and that’s all that needs to be said about the matter.
The introduction is made on holy ground by a meek God, in a gentle but powerful moment because of this moment in history, the title I Am, also known as Yahweh, has become so sacred to Jews that historically the name Yahweh is not to be spoken, which is why you see it spelled YHWH so often without vowels. No vowels needed for a name too sacred to be spoken. Other history says they’d sometimes refer to him as simply the name. The significance of God’s self given name encompasses all that he is and how we are to relate to him. Yahweh means life, Breath, one who exists. I am I exist.
I learned something cool about this quiet confidence of God that is part of all of us about the history of why the Jews believe I am or Yahweh is too sacred to be spoken. I’ve shared it before and I’ll share it with you. We know that God, the one who exists, made Adam out of dust and breathed the breath of life into him, forming him into his image. The image of him who exists. Hebrew tradition believes that due to this, although his name is too sacred to be spoken, we breathe it every minute of every day. Listen to this. [Yah-weh] Isn’t that great? God has a quiet confidence in his introduction because he knows he’s enough. I am who I am. He’s meek because of it. He doesn’t have to prove himself because he just is. When I felt like I wasn’t enough, I needed to focus on the one who breathes life into me and the fact that he is enough. He exists. He is life. He’s breath. He’s my breath of life. [Inhales/Exhales] When I say am I, he says I am. See you tomorrow.
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