New Revised Standard Version
5 The waters closed in over me;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
O Lord my God.
7 As my life was ebbing away,
I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
This past Sunday, one of our beloved seminarians brought a sermon about being, feeling, believing that we are enough. She, of course, drew from the day’s lectionary – especially the epistle (2 Timothy 1:1-14) and the Gospel (Luke 17:5-10). Her words resonated with me as a person in long-term recovery. I often feel as if I need more or as if I am not enough.
This never enough feeling tries to keep me trapped in my addictions. I may presently be free from alcohol and drugs, but I tend to seek my sense of worth and well-being from approval from others and perfection and the illusion of control – all things for me which are as personally dangerous as my substance addictions were because they draw me away from self, God, and authenticity.
Feeling that I am not enough is filled by what therapists call cognitive distortions or automatic negative thoughts. For me, mind reading, fortune telling, catastrophizing, black-and-white thinking, personalization, magnifying, overgeneralization, discounting the positive, filtering, labeling, emotional reasoning, always being right, fallacy of change, and control fallacy are very common in my thought life. These addictive thought patterns connect closely to my feelings that I am not enough and that I need more things, people, education, time, money, therapy, etc.
The disciples, in Luke, asked, “Increase our faith.” Paul says to Timothy, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God.” As our beloved seminarian shared in this past Sunday’s sermon, these are each an example of learning that you are enough. The disciples want more, but, in fact, everything they need is within them already; they need not doubt. Jesus' parable of the mustard seed illustrates this. Paul reminds Timothy that he has what it takes to start the God-fire – re -kindle – the ember is already there – you are enough.
So, when I am underwater and need to get out of a negative thought cycle, to recognize that I am enough, that I have enough, I try to remember Jonah – I remember God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and I pray. Sometimes that prayer looks like reading Forward Day by Day; sometimes it looks like writing morning pages. Sometimes that prayer looks like getting to a meeting, and sometimes it looks like this: I am not ashamed. I have faith. You brought me up from the pit. I am enough. Amen.
San Marcos TX