The Fear of Not Enough

And that’s when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: “Life isn’t fair, Bill. We tell our children that it is, but it’s a terrible thing to do. It’s not only a lie, it’s a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it’s never going to be.” {William Goldman, The Princess Bride}

My mom tries really hard to be fair with my siblings and me. If she does something for one, she tries to do the same for all. It’s really nice for me, because I get unexpected gifts or assistance. But you wanna know a secret?

{stop reading Mom}

I don’t really need her to do it. 

It wouldn’t upset me if my mom bought my sister a new purse and didn’t get me one. If she paid for my brother and his wife to attend a marriage retreat, I wouldn’t bemoan the fact that I wasn’t getting the same amount of money to go on my own retreat.

The reason behind this is simple.

{you can start reading again, Mom}

My mom is generous, and I know she loves us all. Her kind actions towards my sibling do not take away from the things she can {and will} do for me. What kind of person would I be if I looked at a gift to my sister as taking away something from me? They have no connection.

Why then, if I can be this clear-sighted with my mom, do I worry that the blessings and successes of my Christian brothers and sisters take away from what God can do with me? God’s gift to someone else does not mean that He is depleted and has nothing left for me. It’s not like when Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau, and Esau ended up with a crappy second blessing.

We’re all His children.

We all have our own story. 

There’s plenty of blessing {and work} to go around.

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37 thoughts on “The Fear of Not Enough

  1. Thank you for the well written post, and you are so right! Time to examine more closely these things, at least for me. Bright blessings!

  2. Exactly! In my classroom, I taught: “fair” does not mean “equal.” Kids (people) have different needs, and therefore don’t require equal treatment in order for it to be fair. I hope to be able to instill this value in my children, at the superficial level, but also in the spiritual context you pointed out. Good word!

    1. What a great distinction. :) We’re trying this already with our kids. Teaching them that just because one gets to do something, or have something, doesn’t mean that they automatically get the same thing. We keep a balance, but it doesn’t have to be identical. It’s hard!

      1. We used it a lot with discipline. Consequences often had to be different for different students. What’s effective for one doesn’t always work for the next. “Not fair!” No, fair to have the same behaviors required, how we achieve that may not be the same, but is fair. :-)

        1. That’s so true even within families. There is a definite difference in how I have to respond and work with each of my kids. No one approach fits them all. The rules are the same for all, but the consequences, rewards and disciplinary tactics are different. :)

      2. Our kids have no choice but to learn this. Four kids in one house with different parents, different extended families. Corbin was sad because Donavan and Savannah went to Great Wolf Lodge with their mom, until I reminded him of his Disney vacation with his dad. Different and unequal is the norm for them. I think I actually try to maintain the balance for them more. Treats are closely policed for equal divisions. Chores are rotated so no one has the kitchen two days in a row. The boys used to switch bunks every six months, but now they work it out between themselves. We ALL got new flip flops that day at WalMart. I want them to see that at least we are trying. I definitely learned that from mom. She was and is the expert at splitting things three ways. And one thing she definitely inherited from her mom is her generosity. Love you, Mom!

        1. You are creating stability for them. I cannot imagine trying to manage all that you and Jonathan do with your kids. I think you’re doing a fantastic job with them. They all love each other, and you, and they are growing to be responsible, respectful, caring individuals.

  3. I think we all, as humans, have this same fear that we will not get the blessing from God while we sit and watch others around us being blessed left and right. This is a great post Melissa!

  4. It’s that comparison trap again isn’t it!? DOH! I think God’s speaking to me through you, friend. Well, that’s nothing new. I just love you to pieces! <3

  5. some days i totally get this right and some days i get this totally wrong. . .with the post i wrote today, i got it wrong for a an hour or so before i got it right. but we all have to know {even when we don’t feel it} that God doesn’t ever run low on blessings or good things. He isn’t like the gas pump nor does he have depleting energy as we do in our flesh shells. beautiful reminder today friend :)

    1. In my mind, you got it right. The fact that you did not continue in the frustration and envy you were experiencing, but instead chose to believe that in His timing God would open the doors for you, shows that you are trusting Him in all things.

  6. Love you too mom. (Sorry just had to add that) LOL You raise a good point Melissa. I see another problem also: when we resent what God has given someone else because either I didn’t get something or it wasn’t as good as that other person’s. That, of course, signifies a real heart problem. Good word Melissa (and glad your mom loves you). :)

    1. So true, Bill. I think that goes hand in hand with it. When we’re confident that God has our back (metaphorically speaking), we are able to rejoice with others in their successes and blessings. And I’m glad my mom loves me, too! :)

  7. A mother’s love goes farther than a gift. We never understand this as a child, but now, I see my mother’s sacrifice, dedication and motivation as the greatest gift of all. I see it with adult eyes. I still can’t believe she did give my brother GI Joes and me blocks to play though. I so wanted those GI Joes. :/

    1. There’s definitely a clarity that comes once you’ve had your own children. Haha! Have you talked to your counselor about your G.I. Joe issue? ;)

  8. Oh, thank you. I need God’s help in pushing me through this a lot — and this heart robs me from seeing the blessings I already have. Such a beautiful, tender, loving post. Love the “stop reading, Mom” and “you can start reading again, Mom” parts. :) Thank you.

  9. Great post. My parents were/are pretty much the same way (it’s just my mom now, though). If they got something for one of the kids, they got something else for the others. It might not have been gifts, but sometimes if one of us had a rough month financially, they would help chip in. They might not get or do anything for the others at that time, but they did stuff other times, like “Oh we helped kid #1 with his student loan a couple of months ago, and now kid #2 needs help with such and such so we should help with that too.” Or something similar. They don’t have to, but they want/wanted to. My parents have always been very giving – especially my mom.

    1. It really is such a comfort when you know that you have family to turn to in those moments. Thanks for sharing your experience, Shelley!

  10. Fantastic post, Melissa. That’s one of the things that’s been hardest for me to get over but I’m glad that I’ve done it. Let God bless others with stuff. My time will come.

    1. Your time will come, Jason! What is most difficult for me in the waiting is the unknown: what will it look like, when will it happen, what do I have to do? It’s hard to let go of control and believe that God’s plan is better for me (and others) than my plan for me. He is a good God, though, and we can trust Him with it.

  11. Yikes… hits close to him. We (my wife and I) fall into this comparison mindset often. We are very independent and self-sufficient… but when we see others receiving things, getting help, etc… we so easily say to ourselves “Does this person not care about us in that way?” Thanks for the challenge, Melissa. Much to think about.

    1. Comparison is a deadly road, because we don’t know how long that person waited for what God gave them, and we also don’t know what’s going on inside their life. I totally struggle with that! It’s something God’s been repeating to me for the past few months. Haha!

  12. Great post! It’s so weird how we can get something write with our early family and friends, but can’t get it right with our heavenly father…

    Press on!

    1. I wonder what the difference is…maybe it’s because the things I’m hoping God will give me are more important (life dreams, provision, etc) than what my family is giving. It shouldn’t make a difference though, right? :)

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