A Case of the Enoughs
- 2005 15 Aug
A nasty disease is reported cycling through homeschool moms as they begin the school year. It isn't the flu, though it can sometimes make you feel dizzy. You don't break out in spots or have to spend two weeks in bed recovering (though sometimes you wish you could just stay in bed and hide). Deeper study hasn't yet confirmed it, but by all indications it is contagious. What's interesting is that while it can be caught from obvious carriers who exhibit the symptoms, sometimes those exposed to a seemingly healthy homeschool mom, full of energy and confidence, get it the worst.
Maybe you've felt the symptoms: fatigue, fear, tightness in the neck and shoulders. Some moms report headaches or queasy stomachs. Occasionally, it can even affect thought processes and impede the ability to make decisions.
Here's how to tell if you have been infected. If you've dwelt on any (or all!) of the following questions, it is recommended that you immediately administer the antidotes explained at the bottom of this article. Long term dwelling on these questions deepens the severity of the disease. Here are the questions: Am I smart enough for this? Where am I going to get enough time? Am I organized enough? Do I have enough patience? Am I spiritual enough? Do I have enough qualifications? Am I wise enough? Am I . . . enough?
If any of those pesky "enough" germs have been getting you down, it may be helpful for you to know that you are not alone. Research indicates that every mom who has attempted homeschooling has asked one or more of these questions at some point in their journey. Even those moms who claim to have experienced relief from the symptoms admit that they sometimes relapse after they have seemingly conquered the disease.
Antidote # 1 is very important: Remember you are not alone. Find a trustworthy friend who has experienced similar symptoms and commit to encouraging each other. (Note: this antidote doesn't work if both parties wallow in the symptoms without fighting the illness through hugs, prayer, humor, and good advice. Many report that is it helpful to allow each other plenty of "vent" time before offering prayer or insight into the issues involved. Vent time can include complaining, whining, tears, or in advanced cases, anger. Short circuiting vent time sometimes results in a lack of healing from the disease and leaves the infected mom feeling less "enough" that before she sought support.)
Antidote # 2 is also effective for ushering in full health: Find a mentor who has experienced your stage of homeschooling. If you are just beginning, it might be most helpful to talk to a mom who has homeschooled for just a few years. If you're in a transition period, like having a new baby or your oldest entering high school, find a homeschool mom who has already navigated this stage. This antidote doesn't necessarily include venting, which may be more effective with a good friend who is a peer, but if the mentor is open to venting, this antidote may be administered alongside antidote #1. It is also helpful to ask the mentor to pray for you.
Antidote # 3 is the most important anti-disease medication. Not taking time to apply this antidote to your disease can result in only minimal relief without getting to those deep seeded germs that will continue to fester within. This antidote takes a little explaining, so here goes:
First, kneel before a bed, a chair, or any object in your home. (Not everyone assumes this position, but many find it a helpful physical expression of inward application.) Then, pray this (it can be with tears, yells, or complete calm. The mood does not matter as long as you are sincere about the words): "Oh God! I am not enough!"
There are different inner responses to this prayer. Some report feeling a sudden calm. Others a moment of panic, followed by surprising peace. My personal experience with a similar situation included a voice in my heart that said something like, "Good. It's about time you figured that out."
After you let the truth settle in your heart that you really aren't enough for the task of homeschooling, it is imperative that you replace that spot in your soul with another truth: You know the One who is enough and He is waiting to give you all you need for the task. To verify the truth of these statements read the following verses in your Bible: Phil 4:13 & 19 and Ephesians 2:10.
Now, add a prayer to the first that sounds something like this: "Lord, I know I'm not enough for this job of homeschooling. I also know You are and that You have promised to give me all I need to complete this task."
You'll discover that you need this antidote often, sometimes several times a day, as you homeschool. Once the disease is brought into submission, you may need fewer applications of the antidote because the medicine will have seeped deeply into your heart. Your immunity will have increased. Until this stage of healing comes however, apply antidote # 3 as many times a day as necessary. After initial application, others can be shortened and applied quickly. Instead of taking a kneeling position you can say the following in any position or from any place, "Help! I'm not enough, God, but I know you are. Thank you for giving me what I need." Sometimes all that is necessary is one word, spoken aloud, "HELP!" God will answer the shortened version, too.
In my personal battle with this nasty "enoughs" disease, I've found it important to repeatedly apply all the antidotes described above for continued maintenance.
Over time, the "enoughs" disease diminishes. There are times you don't even notice the symptoms. However, the germs are always there, waiting to infect homeschool moms at the most inconvenient moment, so always keep a fresh supply of the medication on hand.
A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.