Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Enough?

Have you ever considered the word “enough”? I mean really thought about it, rolled it around on your tongue and tasted it or stared at it so hard your eyes crossed while you imagined what it looks like?

I vividly remember having a conversation about this word with a friend when I was ten. It took place on the big yellow school bus we rode each day. We’d had a spelling test and “enough” was one of the words. I’d spelt it wrong (probably using the popular “enuff” or “enuf” version) and was expressing righteous indignation over the fact this word dared to exist! It’s a silly sounding word...enuf...kind of like the sound of a sneeze, but phonetically how do you get “uff” out of “ough”?  What’s up with that!?!

This young fixation with the word was just the start of what I’ve come to realize is an ongoing issue in my life. What’s enough? How much is enough? Do I ever have enough?

The problem came to light when I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. I man-handled the frozen turkeys in the grocery store, heaving one after the other out of the deep freeze until my hands could have functioned as ice packs. I wanted to make sure the turkey was big enough to feed eight. None of them seemed up to the task but I finally settled on a 15 lb (6.8 kg) bird. Needless to say I had a “little” bit of turkey left over! Actually we ate turkey pie, turkey stew, turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey tacos and turkey casserole for the rest of the week! Six months later we still had leftovers in the freezer!

When cooking for larger groups of people I’ve done the same thing with roast beef, steaks and even stir fry and desserts! (OK the desserts I generally make more than one because they’re just fun to do...but there’s always the chance ONE might not be enough!)

I thought this fixation with “enough” only encompassed the area of food in my life, but apparently I was wrong! Recently I created a new flower bed in our front yard and ordered a special blend of garden soil from the local “dirt company”. After the truck dumped the heap on our lawn I turned to my husband, saying dubiously, “That doesn’t look like very much dirt. Maybe I should have ordered more. I don’t think there’s enough there.” Then I started to shovel...and shovel...and shovel...and guess what...there was LOTS of dirt. Enough to fill the flower bed AND create another bed all around the front of the house!

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but then there were the flower bulbs. In my mind I saw endless, rippling waves of yellows, pinks and purples bursting forth in bloom as the first rays of spring sunshine warmed the damp exposed earth. I bought daffodils, tulips, crocuses, anemones, and hyacinths and started to plant. I thought I’d dig a few holes, stuff in the bulbs and...boom; done in an hour. Three hours and 206 bulbs later...I thought I was single handedly planting Butchart Gardens!

These are just a few examples of areas in my life where I’ve been afraid of not having enough. I don’t know where this stems from – I grew up in rural Manitoba. Life wasn’t easy for my parents but we certainly always had enough food on the table, clothes to wear and toys to play with. I think somewhere deep inside we all experience the fear of not having enough.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about contending with “a thorn in the flesh”. Three times he asks God to remove it and three times Paul is told, “...My grace is all you need...” Essentially God is saying “I’m Enough!” You don’t need the designer clothes, you don’t need the BMW, you don’t need the latest version of Windows on your computer, the new iPhone, or the 62” TV set. I didn’t NEED the 15 lb turkey and I certainly didn’t need the 206 flower bulbs!

What I do need is God in my life. I need to accept the grace He offers to me every day. Hopefully through acceptance of this grace I’ll learn to overcome the “need” for things that aren’t that important. If I let Him, God will be enough for me. Are you willing to let Him be enough for you?

Do you have any funny stories about things that weren’t “enough” in your life? Share them by clicking comments below.


Shilo said...

Hi Carole,
A great reflection that is very pertinent to our journey right now. James and I are less than 2 weeks to departing for Mexico.
We have purged and tossed, donated and purged some more. I am amazed at how much we have accumulated over the years - even in the last 18 months knowing we were leaving! We got rid of 95% of all of our household and worldly goods in June when we moved. Again last week, another 15 bags of donations went out the door and yesterday we piled up more to release! If ever I thought I didn't have enough, that notion has been dispelled. God has been incredibly generous and I realize now how much I have taken for granted - I didn't appreciate it until it was time to let it go. Now I think: "wow, that was really useful. Thank you God for this blessing even though I didn't 'get it' at the time!"
Big hugs,
:> Shilo

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's genetic. I have a fixation with carrots. I've gradually honed my "group cooking" skills so that I have just the right amount of leftovers, but for some reason, once I start cutting up carrots to cook, I just don't stop.

Carrot cake, anyone?

Carol Henders said...

Hey Shilo, I totally understand what you're saying. I went through the same thing when I was packing my condo to put everything in storage before moving to Stony Plain - so much "stuff"! I have huge admiration for you and James to be courageous enough to get rid of everything and move into new adventures! My prayers go with you for a wonderful future. I'll keep following your activities on your blog. Blessings to you both!

Carol Henders said...

Definitely genetic, Diane...carrots yes...and potatoes! So many mashed potatoes!

Diane Henders said...

I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award (and it's not just because we're related). :-)

The explanation is here: Feel free to ignore the rules as you see fit. I may joke about the award itself, but I hope you'll accept the sincere compliment behind it.