Do You Know You Are Enough? {Book Club}

Do You Know You Are Enough? {Book Club}

My teammate and I lived for a year in an area where there was not yet a group of believers meeting together. By the time we made it to Sunday, our energy tanks were usually on low, so we tried to make it simply a day of rest.

Sometimes we went our separate ways to listen to worship music, make music ourselves, draw and paint, or read. Other times we watched or listened to a sermon together. There were also plenty of Sundays where we simply took naps, made smoothies, and watched our favorite show.  

After that year, meeting with a group of believers for fellowship became pretty special. To be honest, it didn’t really matter what it looked like. Simple with just some plastic chairs in a circle or a big building and a band. A bike ride away or a sky train ride away. My heart yearned for connection and the beauty of entering into worship with others who were also hungry for the presence of God, ready to be honest and vulnerable and to laugh and maybe cry a little.

I’m not sure if any of it was what Osheta Moore called “woo-woo church” in our section of Shalom Sistas. For me, denominations and labels were pretty much stripped away and we met on the common groups of Jesus and His Word.

I’m curious, has your view of church shifted and changed in your time in cross-cultural work?

This section covered peace in our relationships with God. I think my favorite quote was this in chapter 6: “If Beloved is our first name, given to us by God to bring wholeness to our identities, then Enough is our middle name, revealing God’s dream for us to live out our belovedness in a world that will always ask us to prove it. Beloved and Enough are two sides of the same coin of identity.”

My heart constantly needs that reminder that I am enough. My go-to in the comparison game is less-than. Someone asked me recently about the hardest part of living in Southeast Asia, and I immediately responded, “Language.” Every day it felt like I was confronted with moments and experiences that showed my lack. Almost two years of language school and yet this conversation feels so wonky! Why does this other person get praise and I never do, even when I’m trying so hard? Why can’t I remember vocabulary like he or she can?

Comparing myself to other foreigners and their language ability never ended well. Anyone relate?

Knowing and trusting that I am deeply loved and enough in Christ settles those comparison urges. At least for a while; I’m still learning! There’s something really beautiful about men and women who know they are enough. I think it opens the door for vulnerability and compassion. It shifts the way we treat each other and celebrate and mourn with each other.

There’s nothing I can do to earn favor with God and that makes it even more amazing, doesn’t it? Our worth is not based on the number of disciples we make or the amount of churches we have planted or how incredible our language ability might be (thank goodness!).

Was there something you hadn’t thought about in these chapters related to being at peace in our relationship with God? Something you noticed but that didn’t resonate as true for you? I’d love to know what you have thought of this book so far and the topic of shalom!

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:

March 16: Part 3 (Chapters 7-9)

March 23: Part 4 (Chapters 10-12)

March 30: Part 5 (Chapters 13-15)

Need a fun book for April? Join us as we read The Many Wonders of Costa Contente. Here’s a summary of the book:

There’s a small town on the South America coast where the sweet sea air mixes with fragrant tropical blossoms. It’s a place where the neighbors are kind, the parrots are helpful, and wonders abound in everyday life. Working together, the townspeople always come up with a plan to overcome any obstacle, large or small. Careful thought, hard work, and just that little bit of the magical assure that Costa Contente will continue to thrive for its people and the land on which it rests.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

4 Comments

  1. Michelle March 15, 2021

    Caught up on this week’s reading over the weekend. So my view of church after my cross cultural experience… I think the biggest one is how sterile and timely church in the USA has a tendency to be. At least for me. When I go back I always feel slightly frustrated by the tight timelines in services.

    I really appreciate her honesty and openness in the struggles of life. And I appreciated her being willing to ask the questions about when the goodness of God comes under question. Can one have peace and not believe that God is good? Can I bring peace into someone else’s life when I have moments that I’m questioning his goodness? It’s hard, but good stuff to talk through and call out. I recently had a moment in caring for a patient when I knew that scientifically there was no saving her baby. In the moment I just didn’t have it in me to pray for a miracle. And I didn’t have words to pray over my patient as I knew that she had to deliver a dead baby. Those moments are tough ones.

    What has saddened me a bit is that scripture isn’t playing a bigger role in the text. I feel like we can talk all about the feelings, the psychology, the dynamics of relationships, the concept of identity, the culture of Christianity, etc. But we need to find that identity in Christ through his word.

    So those are my two cents for this week. Looking forward to seeing what next week holds! And hoping I can keep tagging along for book club next month too. I thought I would be on board in Feb and even bought the book. But life happens….

    1. Sarah Hilkemann March 15, 2021

      Michelle, my heart aches reading your stories of caring for mommas and babies is such sad circumstances. I was just talking yesterday with a group of ladies about how, particularly in western cultures, we can rush through grief. We can offer platitudes and prayer, and those are good, but sometimes what someone really needs is just our presence. Or to say, “Yeah, I don’t understand this either.” We can give space for the mystery AND the goodness of God.

      I think there’s more Scripture coming! 🙂 I know the author shared about her journey to understand shalom, so hopefully that is woven in from a Biblical perspective as we keep going.

      Also, just want to say that Book Club is a no pressure space! 🙂 You can catch up, or circle back to a book later when it fits in! We for sure get you and can echo that “life happens” statement.

  2. Spring March 15, 2021

    I was feeling guilty and behind but I decided to comment anyway. I really have loved this book and the theme is so applicable. I remember 2 years ago I think when the theme of the VA retreat was Shalom. I have been praying it over my family ever since. Before that I didn’t even know what the word meant.

    I agree that living in a different country than my passport country has made denominational lines blur for me. Since I work in a devloping yet English speaking place it attracts many denominations. I feel this sometimes fuels division. It just gets messy.

    I didn’t read the chapters yet. I do feel like even reading what you are referring to has brought a lot of peace. Recognizing that I don’t have to earn favor is huge for me. I grew up in a community that highly values work. I used to think I wasn’t a works based person, but at the same time didn’t offer grace to those around me. I needed to learn to accept that I couldn’t change the grace and love freely offered to me. This allows me to freely give.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann March 16, 2021

      Spring, I’m so glad you commented! I love hearing your thoughts, and also hearing how the Father has worked in your heart. I know you aren’t alone in seeing the places where perhaps we have knowingly or unknowingly tried to earn favor. We do it with God, with others. I hope that the message that you are enough keeps sinking deeper and deeper in your heart and spilling over to those around you!!

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