There is a reason why the first step in every 12-step recovery program, including Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous, is for the individual to admit that they lack the power to overcome their addiction (1).
There’s a reason why the second step is, “to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” (1). This “Power greater than ourselves” is specified in Step 3:
“We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.”
Whether battling an addiction or just trying to break free from bad habits, negative emotions (e.g., depression), or past hurts, we must realize that, on our own, we are not enough. When we rely on our limited willpower and understanding, we continually fall short and revert back to old, unhealthy behavior patterns. To create sustainable change, we need God.
RISING TO FREEDOM
The symbol for Narcotics Anonymous is a square, each side representing a key component to an individual’s recovery. Those four components are: Self, Society, Service, and God. The four sides rise from the base into a pyramid with one word written clearly at the top: FREEDOM. If just one of the key components is missing, the chance of the individual’s recovery greatly diminishes and the pathway to freedom is incomplete.
To rise to freedom and overcome destructive habits, we must humbly admit that we can not do it on our own. We are not enough – but God is! It is through this process that we learn to seek His guidance, request His power to carry out His will, and become able to regain control over our habits and our life.
TWO REASONS WHY “YOU ARE ENOUGH” IS A LIE
The viral “You Are Enough” posts are written with good intentions. Every woman should understand that she is not alone in what she is feeling, she does not have to be perfect, and she is loved and accepted despite her shortcomings. However, once these words of comfort and encouragement are taken to the level of “You Are Enough,” they are no longer grounded in biblical truth. Here’s why:
1. The fact that we are NOT enough is the very reason why we NEED a Savior.
- When faced with unhealthy temptations, we repeatedly give in. Relying on our own willpower is NOT enough – we need His power. Willpower has an expiration date – His power does not.
- In being given the freedom to choose right from wrong, we often choose poorly. As a result, we live in a fallen world full of sin and suffering. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit – NOT our own power – are we rescued from a life of sin, redeemed, and restored.
- We hold on to hurt, bitterness, and resentment because we forget that forgiveness isn’t about minimizing our hurt but allowing us to replace it with healing. We come to understand what forgiveness is and why we must forgive as we experience GOD’S forgiveness in our own lives.
We are filled with worry, anxiety, depression, and self-pity because we allow our circumstances to dictate our mindset, the words and actions of others to determine our self-worth, and our need to be in control interfere with our willingness to trust God. It is through a renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), anchoring our identity in Christ, and “letting go and letting God” for the things that are out of our control that we become able to experience a life of joy and peace.
The Bottom Line: None of us are “good enough” without Christ. It is when we surrender our lives to Him that we find our freedom. To live a fruitful, fulfilling life, we must partner with God – we can not do it alone.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
2. An attitude of “I Am Enough” stifles our growth.
God loves you just the way you are, but He doesn’t want you to stay where you are. He wants to use your “I’m not enough” moments to bring you to your knees, force you to rely on Him, and spur you toward positive change.
It is in the moments where we feel less than enough that we have to turn to the One who is more than enough, not merely throw up our hands and accept the situation as is.
When we take on an attitude of “I Am Enough,” we tend to look outside of ourselves for why we felt “less than,” blame our circumstances and others for how we feel, and accept our faults as “just part of who we are.” When we instead accept the fact that we are not enough and that we need Him, we become able to surrender our will to God’s will, face the reality of our shortcomings, and view negative thoughts and behaviors as tools to transform us to become more like Christ.
An attitude of “I Am Enough” breeds self-sufficiency. Essentially, we are saying, “I’ve got this,” and, “I don’t need help.” In doing so, we’ve missed the mark.
Our goal is not independence – it’s dependence on God. Our goal is not self-sufficiency but sufficiency from God.
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 ESV
An attitude of “I Am Enough” breeds pride, the antithesis of humility. With humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2) and it is this wisdom that gives us the ability to think and act in a way that is beneficial and productive. Rather than promoting an attitude of complacency, it promotes an attitude of growth.
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
In your “less than enough” moments, rest assured in these words, grounded in biblical truth!
You are a woman of strength! You can do this! Not because you are enough but because you can do all things through His strength. His power is made perfect in our weakness when we rely on Him instead of trying to do it on our own (2 Corinthians 12:9).
You are extremely valuable! An object’s value is determined by who created it and what someone is willing to pay for it. God created you, Jesus paid his life for you, and the Holy Spirit dwells in you. That is what determines your self-worth.
You are loved! You were created for a purpose! You are unique! Be content with who you are, but don’t stay where you are. Life is about growth and is too short to spend wallowing in guilt, depression, or self-pity. If you’re reading this post, you’re still alive, which means God is not done with you yet. Tap into what makes you unique and go out and do something with the talents God has given you.
The takeaway message is that we need to embrace our “less than enough” moments because it is in those moments that we allow Christ’s power to rest on us and His grace to embrace us. Instead of hiding from them, we can find Christ in the midst of them and let it be the beginning of our journey towards growth, healing, freedom, and a deeper relationship with Him – the only One who truly is “enough.”
1. Narcotics Anonymous. 6th ed. Chatsworth, CA: Narcotics Anonymous World Services, 2008. xv. Print.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Jen Roland