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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

When Is "Enough" Enough?

Recently a friend of mine asked me: “At what point can you say ‘It’s done’?” She knows me well.

She was referring to my relentless persistence to scrutinize every word, sentence, and paragraph in something I’ve written. My tendency to make things better extends beyond writing. It’s not that I’m a perfectionist; I struggle with insecurity.

My childhood experience conditioned me to seek approval from others. I wanted to please my father, but far too often my best efforts fell short. And my father’s reactions reinforced a false message that I was incapable, which I read as inadequate and not acceptable.

My longing for approval instilled in me a strong work ethic, while at the same time driving me to chase an illusion that real freedom from my inner turmoil could be obtained through the acceptance of others.

Over the years I felt as if I were on a merry-go-round, desperately reaching for the golden ring that is so close, but always just inches out of my grasp.

What I’ve discovered is, I’m not alone. The arrow of insecurity penetrates a lot of people: male and female, black or white, pastors and church leaders, laborers, students, and corporate executives.

We learn to project an image to avoid others seeing how we perceive ourselves. We smile and pursue things to impress others, so they will find us acceptable. However, no matter how much effort we exert to find acceptance from others, it’s never quite enough.

Are you able to imagine freedom from a life of pretense? How would it feel to be yourself – free from the constraints of having to prove your worth or earn acceptance?

Jesus reminds us:

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9).

God’s love (and acceptance) for us is not based on our performance. God loves us for who we are – uniquely created in His image. There is only one “me.” There is only one “you.” And God takes great delight in us as we are: gifted, unique, and loved more than we can imagine.

My friend’s question, “At what point can you say it’s done?” helped me remember that my feeling of insecurity and drive for acceptance by others dissipates when I abide (remain) in God’s love.

Insecurity produces restlessness. Saint Augustine wrote:

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

For today, I choose to rest and abide in God’s love and call it done! How about you?


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