Updated: May 18, 2020
I have a note setting on my dresser that says, “Vanessa, you are enough.” A friend of mine wrote it and gave it to me about a year ago. At the time I had shared that I was dealing with some feelings of insecurity, but I didn't go into detail. What I didn't share at the time was that I had made the decision to quit my job. This decision didn't come lightly. I had been working for the same organization for 10 years. I had worked my way through various positions and was in a leadership role that I loved. I had the flexibility to work part-time so that I could also be home with my kids part-time. I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing in exactly the place that I wanted to be.
But out of nowhere, I heard God tell me very clearly to quit my job so that I could be more present with my kids. In that moment, I panicked. I was actually sitting on an airplane reading a book in a middle seat between two strangers when it happened. I tried to hide my tears from these strangers as I started running through every reason in my mind why I should not quit my job. I loved my job. It was bad timing for the organization. I would have to start at the bottom and work my way up again if I ever tried to find another job in the future. I wasn’t sure I could handle spending all day every day with my kids. But the most glaring reason that I didn’t want to quit was that it didn’t feel like enough to “just” be a mom.
I had never judged anyone else who was a stay-at-home-mom. I never thought any less of them, never thought that they had any less value than me. I even remembered praying for a friend a few months earlier who was leaving our organization to stay home with her kids, and I prayed that she would always know that she was enough in this new season. But for some reason, it didn’t feel like enough for me. Maybe it was the achiever in me that has always found my value in what I can accomplish. I thought I needed to be and do more.
I didn’t understand why God would want me to quit my job, but I was very certain that that was what he had called me to do so I obeyed. I told my supervisors of my decision but let them know that I would continue working until the end of the year in order to finish up some big projects that I was responsible for. I had about 3 months between making my decision and my actual last day. During that time, I went through so many emotions and worked through a lot of fears, but I felt God’s goodness as he continued to reassure me that this was what he wanted for my family and me.
By the time my last day came, I felt a lot of peace about the season that I was stepping into. I was excited for the extra time with my kids and was also grateful to have more time to write and to invest in relationships with the people around me. Here I am, almost 10 months later, and I still feel that peace. I feel purpose in the things that I am doing and the relationships that I am building. I’m enjoying this season of less stress and a slower pace. I thought I was secure in where I’m at and what I’m doing.
And then I attended an event last week where I met several new people. And you know that when you meet someone new, one of the first questions that comes up is, “What do you do?” As I answered this question over and over again, I told people that I’m staying home with my kids in this season but that I used to work for a non-profit organization called Solidarity.
Later that week, I was reflecting back on that evening and how I felt in the 10 seconds that I spent answering that question each time. I realized that every time I gave my answer and waited to see how the other person would respond, I felt extremely insecure. I realized that I don’t even like to refer to myself as a stay-at-home-mom. I realized that I had felt the need to qualify that I was staying home for just a season and that I used to have an important job. I realized that although I thought I was at peace about my current roles, I actually still place a lot of my identity in what others think about me. And most often, I’m afraid that others don’t think too much of me.
This lie of not being enough is not just limited to my occupation. I hear that lie at many different times in many different situations. I hear that I’m not good enough. I’m not important enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not stylish enough. I’m not interesting enough. I’m not doing enough. I’m not enough. No one else is speaking that lie to me. The people around me are actually pretty affirming and encouraging. But still it’s easier to believe the lies in my head than the truth that others speak to me.
I love that note on my dresser because I need that daily reminder that I am enough. I am enough just as I am. I don’t have to do more or be more. I don’t have to worry about what others think of me. I am enough.
Just as God the Father spoke to Jesus before he even started his ministry and said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17) he speaks those words over me. He calls me his daughter. He loves me. He is well pleased with me. I pray that at some point that will be enough for me.