I was at a family party recently sitting on a plush, grape-colored chair, sipping homemade sangria, and listening to my stepsister and aunt chat.
“I don’t know when it happened, but we’re old all of the sudden.”
“Oh no you’re not!”
“No really, we’ve been married 3 ½ years, have the house, the dog, the baby, the cars, and the jobs. We’re old!”
The rest of my sangria stung as it swished down my throat. My stomach was somewhere in a pile at my feet.
I’ll be 26 in a month, 6 short months younger than said sister, and have exactly two things on that list: a job and a car (and the un-family signifying pet cat). I’ve never been one of those girls who drooled at the thought of a white picket fence. I’ve spent most of my time daydreaming about moving to Paris and spent most of my money vacationing and paying for grad school. But in that moment my life felt small and scarily behind schedule.
I know there are people reading this who are annoyed that I am so young and feeling this way, but understand that to be authentic here I have to admit to these insecurities even at your disapproval.
I wish I could say I wasn’t afraid, that I didn’t compare myself to friends and siblings, or live by some unspoken timeline. But I’ve become aware of the vast amount of energy I invest in making myself feel okay, in quieting the fears that it’s not enough. And strangely enough the mantra it’s not enough has become a comforting facade over my day-to-day: a way of convincing myself and others that I don’t approve of my life as is, that I’m still hustling. It’s not enough has kept me constantly searching instead of enjoying what is in my hands.
My poor friends who have received texts listing ticket prices to Maui at 2am can attest that I’ve seemed a bit desperate.
I’ve been on a megaphone telling everyone about the great jobs I’ve been applying to, I’ve been test driving new cars, started ferocious new workout routines, bought new clothes, flirted with guys I probably shouldn’t have, and have basically been operating like a sponge, hungry for any sign of progress. It took awhile for me to realize what I was doing (what in some ways I’ve been doing my whole life). I’ve been trying to convince everyone, myself, and maybe even God that my life meant something, was going somewhere, held real potential and promise, that I was a world changer. And underneath all that convincing was the belief that maybe I’d never really get there, wasn’t really that special after all.
And in true Natalie fashion, I’d rather run around like a crazy person for years trying to fake people out that my life is awesome and sell how interesting I am before I just look up really authentically and say to God, Seriously, what is up with this season? Nothing is changing. I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere. And I’m tired. I’m tired of running. Tired of pretending.
And honestly I’m afraid that I don’t really have a great life ahead of me. That you don’t really have plans to prosper me. I don't feel like I’m worth choosing for that kind of thing, I only wish I was. So I get why you’re not helping…I’m sorry I’ve been a poser.
It gets really quiet after you say something like that to God, because you’re right in the doorway of the things you’ve been told about Him and what you actually believe about Him.
God’s audible voice didn’t ring into my soul from the heavens. Actually, nothing really happened. I was just really glad I told him. Like telling your parents a secret when you’re a little kid and feeling the weight of it lift from your teensy heart. I went about my next day as usual, flitting around on the internet looking for last minute vacations and trying to sneak Netflix in on my lunch break. When I got home that evening I sat on my couch, which is actually a daybed and always makes me want to nap, with my journal open on my lap. All that came out from the pen was, thank you and it’s enough.
I let the peace of that phrase roll through me like salt water, healing all the months of pretending and hurt. Thank you. And it's enough.
The voice that was constantly saying it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough, I needed to hustle, I needed to make excuses, encouraged me to hide from God because I wasn’t good enough. It all went silent. And all that was left was the beautiful little phrase in my own cursive,