Should you be ashamed of yourself?
Am I enough?
I must put a disclaimer up front before I give anyone a wrong impression about our school. God has blessed us tremendously by providing a way to go to an outstanding, super amazing, private school for many years that we absolutely love. The stories I am about to share are just little bumps in our journey, told here because they depict real life and help illustrate what I want to say about Jesus and you today.
A few months ago, my shy preschooler was tested for kindergarten readiness for a second time. As a parent of four kids who have all been to this same preschool over the past 9 years, I had never been involved in kindergarten “readiness” testing before. I imagine the adults implementing this program are well-meaning, and have good reasons for beginning this program, but we were taken a little bit sideways with it. They brought in adults she had never met to play games with her to determine where she scored on a chart and then sent out the test results via email. The process was really emotional. I was told she might need to repeat preschool or possibly even be referred out to the public school where they could meet her needs with an individualized education plan. All of this was determined within mere months of her starting preschool for the first time. The final decision is she can proceed to kindergarten as long as we support her with tutoring.
The time and process of testing was extremely difficult and emotional for me. I know it’s important to meet Shiloh within her place of need and that if she were to need specialized support she should be able to get it. The results of her testing show she isn’t special needs and is actually very average in most ways…but that isn’t quite good enough. I have 3 fairly average other kids who have been through kindergarten before and I know that Shiloh will be able to do it, too…but…she doesn’t check all the boxes… yet…
Going through the process, the adults made me feel that Shiloh is not only unknown, but is not truly seen in the midst of her world. Why don’t they see her? Why don’t they understand her strength and ability? Why is she being discovered in an environment that feels different and weird and by people she never even met before in short little blocks of “game” time? The safety factor I have been so desperately needing them to cultivate with my shy gal felt broken and sad. But isn’t that the world we live in? Does Shiloh have what it takes? Yes, but not without tutoring, according to their standards. Tutoring? Why does my baby have to start her first venture out into the world already behind, already judged, and already determined to be lacking? The world whispers, “You aren’t enough.”
This reminded me of a few months back where my 10-yr-old was almost pulled from advanced math because her teacher feared she couldn’t keep up. This kid was coming home to mountains of homework each night and just tuckering out and not finishing the homework. Call it laziness, call it working slow, call it being discouraged, but don’t call it inability. She could do it, but her world was overwhelming her. Once the school cut back her homework load, she was able to get the grades and finish the work needed to move forward with her advanced math class. That process was heartbreaking and many tears were shed. Mia didn’t understand why they didn’t see her as good enough. Why didn’t they believe in her?
A year before that, my son had signed up for baseball with his 6th grade classmates. He had never played before. We checked the box that says “no prior experience.” What happened with that? We didn’t get called or emailed about the tryouts. As a mom, knowing my boy was really intent on joining the team, I hunted down the coach.
“When are tryouts? I must’ve been missed on the email list,” I asked.
“Oh. No. ma’am. Your son doesn’t have prior experience. This is a competitive team. We didn’t call or email because he isn’t what we are looking for. We are looking for prior experience,” was his reply.
So, nowadays, you have to have prior experience for 6th grade baseball in order to make the team or to even be invited to tryouts. At least they were honest with me. I guess if you don’t play on official team before you’re 11 years old, you’ve already missed your chance to try---for the rest of your life. Thank God for city league where all you have to do is sign-up and pay and you get to play. If that option didn’t exist, we would’ve entirely missed our chance to play sports. Again, the world makes its spoken and unspoken chant, “You aren’t good enough.”
Do you hear it?
Have you ever heard the unspoken chant of the world repeating, “You aren’t enough?” It could be you aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, tall enough, talented enough, healthy enough, good enough, … just fill in the blanks. I think we all have a word we can place there at any given moment. Our world creates standards, expectations, check-lists, ratings, grades, scores, etc., that tell us what we will be allowed to do in life. That becomes so emblazoned upon our psyches over time that we either let it defeat us or we find a way to blaze through and then just grip onto our achievements for dear life. We learn to travel in our lane and become very fearful when our “thing” gets taken from us and given to one who is better at it than us. We are stressed. We are scared. We are tired and we are constantly trying to prove ourselves to the world. Essentially, we are trying to shout back at that relentless voice of culture to tell it, “I am enough, world!”
In the quiet place of prayer, I find myself saying, “God. You made me. You made us. You either messed up really bad, or the world is wrong.” In that quiet place of prayer, God responds, “You are my beloved. I am crazy about you. You are enough.”
Long ago, the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love
I have drawn you to myself.”
Friends, you are a masterpiece. God, our Father, is an artist. Look at the mountains. Look at the sky. Just look all around you and try to tell me that our Creator God is not completely the most incredible artist of all time! Then look at you. You are a meticulously crafted piece of art, carefully shaped by His hands.
Do you find it interesting that Jesus was a carpenter? He created, designed, crafted, sanded, whittled, carved, shaped, assembled, painted and polished. That was his life’s work. That was his trade. It is no coincidence God has also done that with you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
From the Psalmist, David, in Psalm 139: 13-14:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
We are enough because He has declared it by all of His words and all of His deeds, past, present and future. You don’t need a competitive edge to stand worthy before our Lord. You don’t need a resumé. You don’t need to check any boxes or meet any standards. Jesus’ death and resurrection cleared away any entrance pre-requisites for Heaven. He not only made you, but he made a way for you. Nothing can keep you from his hand nor from being with him into eternity. You are not just “enough.” You are His…for always and forever.