I apologize for being late, for being early, for being forgetful, for remembering too much. I apologize for ordering an item at a restaurant that they’ve run out of, as though it’s my fault that they still had it on the menu. I apologize in an elevator, when the other person is going to floor ten and my stop is floor eight. Sometimes, I even ride to floor ten and then walk down two flights, just to avoid having to apologize. And so, “I’m sorry”, ends up being one of the most common phrases to tumble out of my mouth. In its overuse, it’s become less of a true confession, and more of a continual excuse to cover my tracks.
I wonder why I feel the need to excuse myself so often. I do it because I want people to like me; rather, I don’t want to give them a reason not to like me. I don’t want to rock the boat; I’m terrified of making people angry. Outwardly, this aspect of my personality has served me well. I rarely get into fights, rarely am in continual conflict with a friend. But inwardly, it can be suffocating- to never say what I really think, to never speak out when I’m harmed by a friend, and to always, always, lace a hard conversation or confrontation with I’m sorry, sorry, sorry.
I tell myself that I do this to put other people at ease, to make them comfortable, to be polite. But lately, I’ve been realizing that at the heart of the issue is not a fear of being polite, but a fear of being inferior. I somehow feel that I am not enough, that I don’t deserve to be right or comfortable, and therefore present myself to people as a continuous, ongoing apology. And as the excuses go out, a smaller, indignant voice in the back of my head cries out, “Is this really what I was created to be?”
Our culture is obsessed with being enough, in every twisted form. At the mall, we are implored to buy clothes and styles that will make us enough for whatever niche of society we are trying to fit into- even the hipsters who want to appear against the grain. Magazines lure us in with the promise of helping us to become enough- how to be attractive enough, cultured enough, traveled enough. Sadly, even Christian circles are often saturated with the desire to be enough- well read enough, talented enough, respected enough, married enough.
We’ll never reach our vision of enough. There is only one place, where we are enough, where we’ll ever be enough, where all this longing can drink from the deep well of satisfaction, and that is at the foot of the cross of the only one who ever was, truly, enough.
It is there, as it is always, that we are able to see clearly. We see the sin we try to ignore, but more than that, the fact that we aren’t turned away. We aren’t asked to change and then return, we are welcomed openly and then changed. Exactly as we are, with everything we carry, we are enough.
And because I am enough in the eyes of him who is always enough, I am freed from the expectations of others and myself. I am enough, today, in my clothes and in my mannerisms, in the elevator and in a restaurant. More than that, you are enough, in your church and in your relationships, at your job and in your house. I am enough for you and you are enough for me, because, though unworthy, we are both deemed “enough” by the voice that is always true.
The poison of inferiority and the presence of constant apology are both washed away when I am told that I am enough, replaced with a river of grace and thankfulness. You and I are deeply, deeply loved by the King of Grace, and today, let us trade in our shackles for a voice that proclaims to the world, boldly and confidently, that we are enough.