When Anne Lamott was expecting her son, Sam, she realized how much she feared that she would be unable to provide adequately for his needs. She remembered that, during her own childhood, her parents were so cheap that they didn’t keep Band-Aids in the house. When Anne would fall and scrape her knee, there was nothing in the house to bind up the wound. She knew it was strange, but, somehow, her parents’ failure to keep Band-Aids in the house made her feel shaky and scared, even as an adult. Pregnant with her own child, and worried about how she would provide for him, she said to her therapist:
I realized . . . that I wanted Sam to grow up with the sense that it is safe to fall, that there’s enough of the important stuff in the world, including Band-Aids. I still secretly worry that there isn’t enough love, or money, or acclaim, and I have to do all I can to make sure I get my fair share. I’m not even sure there’s enough God to go around. I worry that people, even friends, are sucking up my portion of fame, or God, or money.” (Operating Instructions, p. 44).
Some of us live with gnawing anxiety that there isn’t enough of whatever we need. That anxiety keeps us from claiming the kind of life God intends for us to have. Our worry sidelines us. It makes us overly-cautious, reluctant, and hesitant.
When we’re nervous about whether or not there will be “enough” of whatever we think we lack (time, energy, money or love), we don’t live fully, freely, and joyfully. We hold back. We live half-heartedly and dampened-down. We end-up missing opportunities to learn, grow, and make a difference.
Over and over again, God calls us beyond our anxiety. God’s relentlessly tender message for people is: “Do not be afraid.” God promises to give us what we need to live the lives God is calling us to live. We can make risky commitments to things that truly matter, trusting that God will honor those risks. We can count on God to walk with us and hold us through life’s hardest experiences. Because we are not alone, we keep moving. Because we are held, we don’t hold back. Because there is enough, we give ourselves completely.