Enough is enough!

This morning I was thinking about insecurity in life and faith because it is something that I experience at times and I know that so many others do to. So often we are looking at the great teachers, speakers and writers of today and we feel less than them. They seem to have it all figured out. Their wisdom seems incessantly and somewhere deep inside of us, we feel like they are better Christians than we are. They are smarter, know the answers we don’t know, understand things we don’t understand and so many people follow their lead, so they must be “perfect”. In our own insecurity we follow their lead, read their books and listen to what they have to say in order to be as good as them. But our insecurity does not go away. Instead we search harder, try harder and we spend more time finding what we don’t have. This does not happen to everybody of course but I know some of you will recognize themselves in this. And these people, me included, are wondering why we cannot be as good as them. How come they understand everything and I am stuck with so many questions, such doubt, such emotional struggles. When do I reach the end of my search for perfect faith, like they have seemed to reach theirs?

Our faith, as James tells us in James 1 (Holy Bible) is like the sea. One moment it is low tide and the other it is high tide but it is never in balance. The storms come and go, waves grow bigger and smaller but our faith is unstable. To many questions and doubt rush through our minds. Our search for strength, peace and stability seems to go on, while others seem so much stronger than we are.

We have become like beachcombers. We keep searching for the one gem, that one answer to all our questions. We have prayed about it, asked for help, read books, visited conferences and services, we tried worship and we listened to so many family, friends, preachers and speakers that we lost count. But the search does not come to an end. We never stop and be satisfied with what we already have. It is never enough. It can always be better. We do try to be grateful and peaceful but our eyes keep spying the beach for more new treasures.

When are we enough?

Of course it is important to keep working on your life, faith and interaction with one another, but when is it enough? We are like a desert. We drink the water we receive but before the bottle is empty we are already searching for the next because we are still thirsty. Just knowing Jesus and His love for us isn’t enough anymore. We want more…we need more.

When we keep comparing ourselves to others – Christians, speakers, teachers, writers etc. – we miss out on a great truth;

Jesus is already enough. He is all we need!

When are we going to realize that Jesus loves us the way we are? Jesus doesn’t expect us to be a certain way or act a certain way. He doesn’t want us to be like everybody else. Jesus loves us for who He created us to be. All He wants is for us to realize that His love is enough. He is enough! Jesus wants a relationship with you. A personal one where you stop worrying about what the lady in row six at church might think about you and the way you love Jesus! Jesus loves you with your flaws and perfections. He loves the beautiful person that He created you to be.

God created us all in a different way. We are all unique and beautifully made but for many of us that is not enough. We don’t feel enough. We see the way others live their faith and we get jealous. We look at ourselves and see a million mistakes and we wonder, maybe I didn’t pray enough, maybe I need to read my bible more often or maybe we didn’t lift our hands high enough in the air during worship. Maybe Jesus missed us and we just weren’t visible enough. Maybe we just have to try a little harder and be a bit more perfect. Maybe than Jesus will notice us. Maybe then we will be good enough.

So when are we going to realize that we already are enough? When are we going to stop searching on the beach for more treasures than we need. When are we going to stop, stand still and enjoy the beautiful view ahead of us? When are we going to see what is already there?

When are we going to see the view of a Savior who loves us?

All you need to focus on in life is Jesus’ love for you. His love is all that matters. It is all you need. It is important to pray, read your bible and spend time with fellow believers but don’t lose track of the most important thing that you already have; the love of Jesus! Not a soul can take His love away from you. You get it for free and there is nothing that you need to do to earn it. The love of Jesus is free and available. We don’t have to search for it because it is already there. It will help us, guide and sustain us through everything in life. The love of jesus is enough and in His love, so are we!

 I (the Apostle Paul) pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me, but he (Jesus) has told me, “My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most happily boast about my weaknesses, so that the Messiah’s power may rest on me. That is why I take such pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for the Messiah’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12: 8 – 10.

Between the lines

For the past seven years, I have dedicated my life to writing poetry (and every other word that God gives me). Though I write mostly for myself, I have always had my focus on the reader. What would the reader need most? What would God want the reader to know? And even though this is not a bad concept, I have learned something more valuable over the years.

Over the years I have written over 250 English-languaged poems (and a handful of Dutch ones), give or take. Poems that contain a piece of God and a piece of myself. Whether God quoted it or I wrote it. It has always been a partnership where God receives all the credit. And for me, it works! For me it is the most functional way of working and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

During the years I have been through a lot. Not just the past seven years but ever since childhood. All of these struggles have found a way into my poetry. Don’t misinterpret these words though, because my poetry is not a summery of misery. With the struggles, God always handed me the solutions whether I was ready for it or not. I know the solution can sometimes overwhelm you and make you feel as if you will never be able to accomplish it. Therefore God often gives long-term solutions. Solution you can grow into as time passes by. Every day is a learning process. We are not expected to succeed in a day, week or year. God knows how long we need and that is the exact time he gives us.

Since my poetry has always treasured the solutions, they have always been my greatest comfort in times of need. Whenever I felt sad, lonely, frustrated or confused, the Holy Spirit would most often lead me to my own poetry. Between the lines I fely comfort, answers, peace and the love of my Heavenly Father. Reading these poems and feeling the great comfort they bring me, even though I wrote them myself, installed a greater understanding deep within my soul.

‘When the work you do for God heals you more than others, you’ve done something right!’

Isn’t it true that when God calls us to work in His Kingdom, we are so extremely focused on others. We need to save the world, heal mankind and bring them safe and sound into the arms of Jesus. But what if Jesus has a greater message for us than for others through the work we do? Aren’t we missing out on something?

I see so many of us make that mistake. We are so focussed on teaching that we forget to be taught. We are so focused on helping that we forget to be helped. We are so focussed on loving that we forvet to be loved. We so easily forget ourselves. How wonderful it is to know that even though we forget ourselves, God does not. He sees us and loves us. And through His everlasting love He wants to teach us every day, face to face, in the most personal way. And sometimes we don’t need to cross oceans to find it. The greatest lessons we learn are in our own handwriting. All we need is to be reminded of it.

The Weaver and the tapestry

Our place in this world is unique. Each and every single one us has his own place in this world. There is not a person to many or too little. Everyone is exactly where he/she is supposed to be. It is like a tapestry. Each wire has its own place and function but the tapestry could not exist without each and every single threat.

When one comes face to face with an approaching death within the family, life somehow becomes much clearer. As my mom is battling cancer (a battle she is going to lose according to the doctors), I start to reflect on my life more than usual. Questions like; what is important to me and what do I really need, are going around in my mind. Looking back on life I can clearly see God’s hand in everything. Every moment in my life was carefully coordinated by His mighty hand. Before I was born, my life was painted into great detail. Not a single color or brushstroke was left out. Every word was written down. When life happens, it is very difficult to see that you are a part of a great tapestry. Your life really matters! It is the moment when life comes to a halt that you start to see the full picture (or after something bad happened).

We have these moments in life when we look back over our shoulder and suddenly see the full picture. As if we have always been looking at the bottom of this tapestry. All we could see was the knots and chaos in the threads. Nothing seemed to make sense. But suddenly you get a small glimpse at what the other side looks like. You can see the Weaver create every detail in this enormous tapestry. Every color and every thread is handpicked.

To me it is very comforting to know that Someone is in control. God is the Great Weaver who has put all His blood, sweat and tears into this masterpiece. Sometimes the knots hurt. Sometimes we believe that the threads are supposed to be at a different place or preferably not there at all. Sometimes we believe that we could do a better job, if we had a say in it. But looking at the tapestry of my own life, I personally disagree. I could not have done a better job at my tapestry than God. Even though I have been hurt, I can clearly see how much God loves me. God the Father has never allowed a single knot or thread at the wrong place or the wrong time. I can clearly see moments where evil tried to destroy or put the wrong thread in the tapestry and God stopped it.

Looking at the tapestry of life, all I can say is, God the Father did an amazing job. I can feel His love in every thread of my life, in every fiber of my being. Life isn’t easy and sometimes it seems unfair, but I believe that God sees the bigger picture. A picture I can not yet see. Sometimes I get a glimpse but I can never see the full tapestry. Still I only trust God with my life. I only trust God with my tapestry because I know that He does see the full picture. He knows where I came from and where I will go. He has created me and wove me into a unique masterpiece. Whenever life gets difficult and all I can see is chaos, God shows me His love in numerous ways. I can always talk to Him and He always listens to me. His hand holds mine and He never let’s go. His hands hold me up when I cannot stand anymore and His wisdom guides me along the way.

Even though I cannot see the full tapestry, I can see the Weaver.
Even though I do not understand all the knots and threads,
I do know that the end result will be breathtaking!

Read & Learn

When I was 25 years old and I just started writing again, I wrote a lot with rhyme. Most of my earlier work is also based on bible verses, because I didn’t know what to write about. I wasn’t getting that many dreams and visions and I wasn’t that well trained either. This is exactly the reason why I also want to publish my earlier work along with my latest and , in my own view, better work. It is so important to know that when God gives you a gift/talent that you develop it. I wasn’t able to write, the way I do now, over night. Through practice and repetition I became better and better.

If you have received a gift/talent from God then please don’t expect to be perfect at it right away. It will take a lot of hard work to become better. But if you do it with joy, the hard work won’t bother you that much.

The poem I want to share with you today is called ‘Read & Learn. It is based on the bible verses 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

I hope you like it!

Read & Learn

A strong voice with a tender heart,
From One who loved us more,
Than anything or anyone,
Has ever done before.

Spoke words of true compassion,
And bundled it with grace,
To show us our transgression,
and the hurt upon His face.

So in everything you do today,
Just take that book and read,
learn what He has done for you,
and simply let Him lead.