A Note from Mary Margaret West: Every single one of us would be wise to listen to Cassie’s words today, not as a rebuke, but as an encouragement. None of us are enough outside of Christ, and real life keeps happening in the midst of ministry. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus today, friends.
My youth girls and I dove into 1 Thessalonians as my five-year-old managed to get his head stuck in his Paw Patrol chair. While I tried to free my son, I also tried to continue our discussion on idols, false teaching, and living for Christ. I was so aware of my limits that day as a mom and as a youth leader. For anyone who holds multiple roles (which I’m sure is all of us), we all have moments where our limits feel so prominent. Our world sends the message, “You’re enough,” but as we serve in ministry, parent, or work, we become quickly aware that our lives don’t add up to that message.
Friends, take a deep breath. Christ doesn’t call us to be enough. In fact, the Gospel says the exact opposite about us. Before Christ, we’re separated from him in our sin, and we’re not enough to reconcile ourselves back to him. Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection, is enough and has done the needed work to reconcile us back to him for all those who believe. In Christ, we can rest and stop striving because our salvation isn’t in our work, but is found by faith alone in Christ alone. Our God is the limitless God. He’s the only one who perfectly knows all things, can be fully present in all places, and doesn’t grow tired or weary. Us, on the other hand, are the complete opposite of this, full of limits. Though our limits don’t feel good, they are good, and they’re designed by God himself. The fact that we grow weary and can’t be fully present in multiple places isn’t a sin. Instead of feeling “less than” or as if we’ve failed when our limits arise, they can lead us to praise our limitless God. God gave us limits to point us to our need for him. Our limits make it necessary that we be fully dependent on God, which is the very best way we can live life and do ministry.
The simple fact is, we can’t be enough for the girls in our ministries, our own children, or anyone else. We’ll wear ourselves out trying and constantly feel like we’ve failed, when in fact, we probably haven’t. Christ is the only one who can be enough for all of us. In times of weakness, instead of throwing a pity-party and recounting the ways we aren’t enough, let’s point those we serve to the only One who is enough, Jesus Christ.
The funny thing about ministry is, God usually shows up in big ways in the times I’ve felt the most tired or aware of my limits. I believe God does this on purpose. We can so easily become too prideful and dependent on ourselves, but God needs to continually remind us the work he’s doing is 100% by him and for him. We’re simply the vessels God sometimes chooses to use, but it’s nothing we have done. Think about how much glory God receives when we’ve reached our limit, yet he does the kind of immeasurably more work that only he can do!
That day, my son got un-stuck from the chair, and we were able to proceed with our Bible study. I was exhausted and to be honest, felt like I had failed in many areas that day. The truth is, though, I was still able to love on my youth girls, point them to Christ, and both of my boys had a blast. Though my limits were so evident, my limitless God was still at work. Friends, he’s still at work despite your limits, too. Let’s take the pressure off of ourselves and trust God to be enough for us all. We can stop trying to be enough for all those the Lord has given to us to serve, because he never called us to do that. Christ simply calls us to be faithful. Be faithful to what God has in front of you today, and in your limitations, point to the limitless God. Let’s give him all of the glory as he uses a people full of limits to fulfill the incredible mission of his Kingdom.
Cassie Pattillo is a wife to Jack, and mama to Hunter (4), Isaac (2), and is in the process of adopting from India. Jack is a student pastor, so she loves serving alongside him and investing in teens’ lives. She is passionate about biblical literacy along with writing and teaching about Scripture. She is also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football.