Niro Feliciano, a licensed social worker, offered in a post for Psychology Today three ways to want what you’ve got. But why only three? Are three ways really enough?
Dr. Timothy Carey, a researcher, and professor of Clinical Psychology at Curtin University, also weighed in on this idea that there are healthy limits on how much of a good thing it takes to find satisfaction. He concludes, “Life is the business of creating and maintaining the world we know in the “just right” states we want it to be in.”
Dr. Carey also weighs in on the human condition relating to enough noting the vast discrepancies between the haves and have-nots. “Globally, we produce enough food each year so that no one needs to be hungry, yet in some parts of the world, large quantities of food are wasted while in other parts of the world, large numbers of people are chronically hungry.” So is enough more of a logistics problem solved by a global contract with Federal Express?
Sometimes limits are imposed by others or by our creator. For example, one chocolate chip cookie is never enough for my sweet tooth. Still, even one cookie contains more empty calories than my body needs. Nevertheless, enough is mostly personal.
Jesus said a lot about enough. More specifically, He said a lot about worrying whether we’ll have enough. “Look at the birds,” Jesus said to a crowd, “they don’t store food in barns, yet God provides for them.” But what about squirrels, Jesus? I frequently find large storehouses of walnuts where some squirrel stored a winter’s food supply. So there must be some balance.
I’m guessing that His point wasn’t about making practical decisions we’re designed to make, like remembering to take something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner. But as usual, lessons taught by Jesus are multi-layered. How about #enough, #trust, #worry, #happiness, and #satisfied, to name a few.
Feliciano notes that enough among her clients is more often associated with measuring up in a world where the overall message is “happiness is having everything you want.” I presume this includes a second chocolate cookie. Unless I also want the scales not to scream, “Get off me” later. Speaking of wanting more, I bet there’s a pill for that!
But Feliciano is referring to a different sort of narrative. One focused less on chocolate chip cookies and more on how her client measures up to their expectations of being enough.” It looks different depending on the person,” she shares, “but often sounds like I’m not smart enough. I don’t have enough. I don’t do enough.”
This is different. Is it possible that our quest for more is as much about the image of our worthiness as it is about stuff? Jesus also teaches about comparing ourselves to others. And competition for attention, which usually begins when we’re toddlers, takes on a growth spurt of its own for those of us striving to make a noticeable impact in the world.
According to Matthew, His disciples asked Jesus one day, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” On the other hand, Luke reframes their question without the veil the disciples used in Matthew’s version. In Luke, the disciples argued over which of them was the greatest.
The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child.
In both versions, Jesus calls a child over to use as an illustration. According to Matthew, Jesus said, “The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child.” Ouch!
Setting aside that children, in the first century, held a much lower valuation than society places on them today, the point challenges our perception of greatness. And, in turn, adds clarity to this idea of enough. Even when it comes to enough recognition and fame.
Can you imagine a day when you’re not worried? Can you imagine a week where each day you marvel at what God provides you and forget for the time that you don’t have access to HBO or Netflix? What about a month without feeling pressured to go after that higher score?
Our message this week calls for balance. Indeed, an Olympic athlete isn’t expected to slow down in the final ten yards to let others pass them by. Likewise, I can’t imagine a salesperson acquiescing to a competitor, knowing they’ll lose the sale.
But I can imagine an award winner giving credit to the God who created them. I imagine a hero lifting up the person they saved by saying, “They were too valuable not to save!” And I can hear Jesus saying, “The one who is least among you all is the greatest.”
I invite you to follow along with us during our series. You can obtain a copy of Angela Hunt’s book online, in bookstores, or look for it at the library. Our copies went fast, but you can contact our office if you need help finding a book. We have more copies coming.
You can join us each Sunday in person or online by clicking the button on our website’s homepage – Click here to watch. This button takes you to our YouTube channel. You can find more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.
A reminder that we publish this newsletter that we call the Circuit Rider each week. You can request this publication by email. Send a request to connect@FlintAsbury.org or let us know when you send a message through our website. We post an archive of past editions on our website under the tab, Connect – choose Newsletters.
Our series was inspired by and relies on content provided by Angela Hunt. Daughter of Cana. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2020.
Niro Feliciano. Reviewed by Devon Frye. “The ‘Good Enough’ Life.” © Psychology Today, September 20, 2021. Retrieved from: link
Timothy Carey. Reviewed by Tyler Woods. “When Is Enough Enough?.” © Psychology Today, November 22, 2021. Retrieved from: link.