I am rarely satisfied. (Side note: I can no longer say or write the word “Satisfied” without immediately launching into an internal Hamilton medley. I digress.)
I spend very little time fully present and content here: enjoying the exact place, time, vocation, energy level, activity in which I find myself. In the morning, I wish I got more sleep or woke up earlier to write. In the afternoon, I hope for time away from my boys but miss them when they aren’t around. I grumble about this stay-at-home mom gig but recall how envious I was of stay-at-home moms when I worked full-time. At the end of the day, I look around and see not what was accomplished (Three meals! Playtime! Grocery shopping!), but instead, I focus on all I left undone.
The Israelites wrestled with this too, I think. They were slaves and had every reason to wish for a different reality. Then God set them free, but they found it impossible to enjoy the journey toward the promised land. They couldn’t be satisfied until they reached their hoped-for destination. Because of this constant longing for more more more, an entire generation never saw the promised land for which they hoped. Even when God provided manna—reliably and faithfully dropping tangible nourishment right at their feet—they shouted, “More, God! And different!”
“They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God; they said, ‘Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?” –Psalm 78:18-20
When I set out to try centering prayer, I thought I was just trying a new spiritual practice. I thought I would learn if this was an easier or better way to get more prayer into my life. (The achiever in me is so endearing, right?)
But I didn’t expect how this practice would gently (but quickly!) reveal a big blind spot in my life and faith. I am an Israelite most days, craving variety, ignoring the sustenance I’ve been provided and dreaming about the kind I’d rather have.
In the introduction to Rising Strong, Brené Brown writes, “I define wholehearted living as engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Enough laundry done today.
Enough meals planned this week.
Enough fulfillment in my current roles.
Enough companionship in my relationships.
Enough compassion to navigate this election season.
Enough patience to parent my children well.
Enough strength to carry and nourish this new baby.
This, I think, is why a loaf of bread came to mind when I first thought about this practice. I needed to remember that nothing I do or don’t do determines my worth and value; I am valuable solely because I am a child of God.
Even more, this truth goes beyond my nature to also reflect the nature of God: He is enough, and what he offers is enough.
Enough patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If I can believe that God is all of those things and provides all of those things, then I can believe that not only do I have enough, but I am enough as well.
You can read all the posts in my series on spiritual disciplines here.