Unfolding Enough: Introduction
In the beginning God created a beautiful garden complete with every form of creation. Though it contained the grandest of trees and the smallest of crawling creatures, it wasn’t complete. Not until God formed man in His own image and gave him a helpmate. The two lived in the luxury of perfect connection with the Creator and all was well.
Read: Genesis 2:25
- What words describe the state of Adam and Eve when God declared His creation very good and left them in the garden to live and work?
Naked and not ashamed.
- What do these words describe on a deeper level? What can we glean about their emotional and psychological state from these descriptors?
The Hebrew translated as naked also means bare (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Naked or bare is a picture of being unburdened, nothing to hide, innocent, shameless.
Not ashamed is an emphasis of their innocent shameless state. The definition of the Hebrew translated as ashamed makes clearer what was absent in their lives.
buwsh — be ashamed, i.e., to have a painful feeling and emotional distress (sometimes to the point of despair), by having done something wrong, with an associative meaning of having the disapproval of those around them, note: this wrong can refer to a social mistake or a serious sin; humiliate, bring shame, cause disgrace, with an associative meaning of causing frustration, and loss of hope to the object one is shaming; to feel ashamed
–Dictionary of Biblical Languages
God created man and left them in the garden naked and unashamed: nothing to hide, nothing to frustrate, nothing to fear. Heaven on earth.
Man was given instructions for living in this heaven on earth.
Read: Genesis 2:15-17
- What was man to do in the garden?
- What was the one rule?
Man was placed in the garden to work it and keep it, watch over it, care for it. The Hebrew for keep or watch includes the idea of guarding (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Heaven on earth needed to not only be cultivated and tended to, but guarded.
Eden’s one rule: Do not eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This wasn’t just any old rule. It was a life or death rule.
Adam’s keeping of the rule was a means of guarding the garden. It was the way to maintain his innocence, freedom, and authority over creation.
Heaven on earth was great… for a while. Until temptation whispered in the helpmate’s ear, Is this all there is? Is this enough? Is Creator enough? And in the moment it takes to sink teeth into fruit, they discovered the deceit behind the tempter’s words. As the sweet juice ran down their chins, perfect community was broken. Never again would they lavish in Creator’s enough without wondering, Am I enough?
Read: Genesis 3:1-7
- What desire to be more lay at the root of the serpent’s temptation? What made Eve embrace the lie that she was “not enough”?
- What happened after they ate the fruit? broke the rule? fell for the temptation?
They saw their nakedness. They were suddenly covered over with shame and began to cover themselves with whatever they could find.
Here is the beginning of mankind’s retreat out of heaven on earth and into the Land of Not Enough. The place where shame dwells and we now have something to hide.
We have an enemy. A liar who wants to stir up trouble in God’s good creation, unsettle His creatures and turn what He made upside-down.
We allowed the lie of “not enough” to enter the world and upend God’s original design and desire. With sin firmly planted in our hearts, we find ourselves naked and ashamed. Burdened by guilt, we strive to cover up.
Everything we pursue to cover our shame and make ourselves “enough” in the world is upside-down from God’s good.
What are some things we try to cover our shame with?
- perfect outward appearance
Am I enough? Have you asked the same question in some way? Maybe the words are different. Or maybe your actions speak louder than words. Perhaps you work and strive to be some version of yourself you think God would approve of or accept. It might be you’ve lived an entire life with the black stamp of Unworthy written all over it. Could it be you came to the place you always thought would make you feel enough only to find it would take more? More energy, more things to accomplish, more style or money or material things. More, more, more… And yet, it is never enough.
Why can’t we find enough in the world?
Read: Genesis 3:8
- What has sin and shame done to our relationship with God?
Sin moves us out of the presence of God. Here is the single reason we cannot find enough of anything in the world to make us enough. We were created to live in close relationship with God. We were created to glorify Him in everything we do and say, with every breath we take. Sin not only evicted us from heaven on earth, but it stole God’s glory. This is the at the heart of the serpent’s agenda whose only mission is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
This is the state we are born into. This is where our story begins on the day of our conception: burdened by sin and deeply ashamed.
- What lies has the enemy attacked you with? What shaming message echoes through your heart?
Because God knew the enemy would tempt and we would fall, even before He spoke one thing into existence, He had a plan to send a Savior to redeem and restore what we would break: Jesus.
But for now, the serpent still rules with the authority we gave him when we believed his lie. He still whispers lies into our ears, tempting us with the need for more. Even when we have received salvation, the battle rages in our hearts and in the world in which we live: You are not enough.
The “more” of the world is not what we need. It is not what God requires. And when we believe the lies it keeps us from living like Jesus.
Most of us have taken up residence in the Land of Not Enough at some point in our lives. It’s one of the enemy’s most successful lies. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we take a bite out of the fruit and experience disconnection from God.
- Have you lived in the Land of Not Enough?
- What was or is your experience there?
There’s never been a moment I didn’t know Jesus. I was raised in a Christian home surrounded by Believers. When I was a preteen I committed my life to following Jesus and never looked back. I studied the Bible, attended Sunday school and church. For the most part I was an obedient daughter and driven to please my parents. Somewhere along the way I came to apply my drive to please God as well.
I searched God’s Word for ways to be better. I read books on prayer and quiet time, and tried to manage my sin as best I could. This approach left me with one problem. I never succeeded. No matter how much I tried at the end of the day, it was never enough. I was never enough.
I guess some people might walk away. I mean, if you can never be enough, why try? And there were seasons I did, but for the most part I just kept trying and failing, and trying again. I believed if I prayed more, studied more, disciplined myself more then at some point I would be enough. I lived under the heavy black cloak of unworthiness. Worn out. Defeated. And above all… never enough.
My walk with God began in my mid-thirties. After walking with Him for several years, but failing to be enough in my pursuit of perfection, He revealed where the enemy’s lie first found a place to take root in my heart.
I was five years old or so, the setting, a family gathering. I crawled up in my Daddy’s lap. A place I loved to be. He was telling a story to those gathered around when abruptly, yet gently, he pushed me off his lap and said, “You’re too heavy. You’re hurting me.” Then continued with his story.
Now, I know full well he had no intention of wounding my heart. He had no idea what the enemy would do with his words. Other fathers and mothers have said these words to their children. I most likely said them to my own at one point or other. But for me, the enemy used these words as a weapon: You are too much trouble. All you do is cause pain to those you love.
This was one of the messages subtly planted in my young heart which led me down a path of destruction. The path of perfectionism and a pursuit to please those I love despite my own ideals and well-being.
God revealed the hidden wound, when I knew enough to ask Him why I was never enough. Why I always failed to meet my own standards.
There is a moment in a Believer’s life when we recognize our desire to follow the way of Jesus. We profess our faith in Him, renounce our sins, walk into the waters of baptism and Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts.
It’s not long before the deceiver shows us all the ways we aren’t who we say we are. Whispers of failure and falling short tempt us to find a way to do better, to somehow be what God is calling us to be. We make every attempt to grow our faith. We pray the prescribed prayer, become knowledgeable in Biblical teaching, and engage in spiritual practices to better ourselves. Yet, it’s never enough.
Read 1Corinthians 3:6-7
- Who is responsible for growth in us?
- What does this say about our attempt to grow our faith?
Only God makes things grow. Our own watering and planting, the watering and planting of others in our lives, has absolutely no power in and of itself. According to the Word, it’s not anything. But despite our impotence, God in His grace causes growth.
Read Philippians 1:6
- Who began the work of faith in you?
- What does this verse promise?
- Do you find this hard to believe?
Unfolding Enough will encourage us to acknowledge we will never be enough on our own. God is the author and finisher of our faith. He alone makes things grow. God began the work in each of us, and He faithfully promises to complete it.
The question we must ask ourselves is not, “What do we do?” But, “How do we live out our new birth in our new Kingdom?” The question of our worth was answered when Jesus paid the price for our sin. He conquered the grave so we would never again say, “I’m not enough.”
Unfolding Enough is your invitation to pack your bags and move out of the Land of Not Enough. It won’t be an easy journey, we’ll travel miles together, but in the end we’ll find ourselves living in the Kingdom created for us. Not like foreigners or strangers in the land, but as daughters of the Most High. Royalty through and through. Not because of what we do, some perfection we obtain, but because this is our home and the Father has been waiting for our return. No we’re not enough on our own, but all of God is more than enough to make up the difference.
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor. All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her — those brought to be with her — Led with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king.
Psalm 45:10-15 NIV
Our prayer is that your journey through Unfolding Enough will move you out of the enemy’s grip and into the arms of God.
Faith’s Building Blocks
Each week you will find five days of study based on the building blocks of faith. They are not meant to be something else to do nor are they a recipe for perfect Kingdom living. Instead, view them as an opportunity to draw closer to God.
Day 1: Connection
Spiritual disciplines are practices that help us become aware of God’s presence in our daily living. Some are ancient and others are quite new. God created each of us with a distinct personality and He alone knows what works best for us. Each week we’ll share a spiritual discipline we’ve practiced at some point on our faith journey. We suggest you try each one and see how God uses it to draw you closer to Him. Notice which ones work best for you.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Spiritual disciplines or practices teach us how to delight in God.
Day 2: Conversation
All relationships are built through conversation. Believers describe their conversation with God as prayer. Growing in prayer is a step by step journey of acquiring the language of conversation with God. No special words needed. No formula encompasses all the ways we connect with God through prayer.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Paul encouraged those he taught to pray without ceasing. As our prayer life grows we soon discover all our thoughts become a conversation with God.
Day 3: Curiosity
Bible study becomes integral to our faith journey when we move beyond studying for knowledge and begin to seek God’s heart. God’s Word becomes a living tool for spiritual growth when we dive deep beneath the surface of text on a page to find the answers only God reveals.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. …”
All of God’s Word was written that we might come to know Him. As we seek God’s heart in Scripture it will accomplish His work in us. God promises His Word will always return bringing a harvest.
Day 4: Community
God is community: Father, Son, and Spirit. This perfect community has always been and always will be.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Creator, Redeemer, Counselor: the Three In One was there in the beginning. We were created by Community. We were created as part of the Community in the very image of God. Though we were disconnected by sin, we long to return to God.
Day 5: Story
The best of stories reveal a person’s journey to discover who they truly are from the inside out. Our story began with God, but sin drew us away. So God limited Himself in flesh and entered our story.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.
John 1:1 and 14
Jesus, the Word, is our invitation to return home. His death and resurrection made a way for us to join Father, Son, and Spirit and live out our story in Him. As we discover who God is and who we are in Him, we are transformed.
Our greatest desire is for Unfolding Enough to open paths for you to discover your story is and always has been wrapped in God’s story. We hope you experience transformation through connecting with God by practicing spiritual disciplines, conversing with God, digging deep into His Word and sharing it with others. Most of all we desire for you to come to the end of this six week journey with intense desire to know God more.
Knowing God more is the only path that leads us to proclaim we are enough.