I am enough
January 10, 2023 / By Daniel Bradley, Faith Journey UMC
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2022 Issue II of the Advocate, which focused on spiritual wellness. Click here to access the issue.
I am enough. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? I am enough. This is a hard concept to master in this world in which we are continually told we are not enough. If we could just sit with this simple phrase, “I am enough,” maybe we could understand how God sees us.
In 1994, I was a senior at Niagara Falls High School and I failed the Chemistry Regent’s exam with a 63. I passed the class with a 65 and was able to graduate with a local diploma from Niagara Falls City Schools.
That has been a sore spot for me and I still have nightmares about being in that exam room and not measuring up. Since then, I have achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Religion (Ashland University, Ashland, OH), a Master of Divinity degree, (Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, NY) and am now in a Doctor of Ministry program at my alma-matter with an anticipated graduation date of 2025. This is also the year that my daughter will graduate with an Advanced Regent’s Diploma.
I had that dream again last night. I arrive at the exam and begin to work. The clock ticks and I try to pace myself, but I am anxious and nervous. I fill in the scantron sheets with my No. 2 pencil and try my hardest to work the formulas. I sweat and feel uncomfortable and then I am in my guidance counselor’s office hearing the news that I failed the exam. I won’t be receiving my Regent’s diploma. This scenario happened 28 years ago, and it still haunts me.
I decided to take the power out of this dream, and I wrote a letter to the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents petitioning them to receive my Regent’s diploma 28 years later. I don’t know if it will do any good, but I had to put it out there in the universe. If you don’t ask, then you will never know what is possible.
We all live with dreams that are unfulfilled and sometimes it is for the best, however, when we realize that we are enough without the accolades and the pomp and circumstance of the applause of others is when we truly understand that we are enough.
Scripture is filled with prophets and prophetess’ that never received a regent’s diploma. Somehow God used them in the most powerful of ways. Habakkuk was one of those prophets. The book opens with Habakkuk complaining and griping to God about Israel’s circumstances. God speaks to Habakkuk and tells him to:
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
For still lthe vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.
That is what I did when I sent the letter to the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents. I even put it out there that I would be willing to sit for the 1994 Chemistry regent’s exam all over. I have no idea how he will respond. Perhaps my letter will end up in the circular file. Maybe, just maybe it will be honored. Only God knows.
What I do know is this: God is using me with all my imperfections to be the pastor, scholar, and author that God needs me to be at this time in my life. I am enough, not because a diploma says so, but because God says, “YOU ARE ENOUGH!” That’s all that should matter but, in my humanness, I can’t get over missing those two points on that exam.
We don’t get to do life over and fix the errors of our past. We do, however, get to chart a course for the future with what we have. I have dreams that I hope will be fulfilled in God’s time. I want to be a traveling evangelist and teach bible at my alma-matter, Ashland University. I want to use every gift I have to lead people to Jesus. At this time, my ministry is at Faith Journey United Methodist Church in Clay, NY. I don’t know where the direction of God will take me, but I do know that I don’t need the approval of a Board of Regents to accomplish the wok that God has set before me. “I am enough.”
Jesus told his disciples over and over that they were enough. He gave them all the tools that they need to accomplish one of the greatest missions ever embarked on by the creator of the universe. It took them many times of affirmation and sometimes rebukes for them to understand the work that they were called to do.
What has God called you to do? What are you holding back from God?
You are enough and that is all you have to be in this world. Take heart dear friends and believe that God has called you from the time of your conception, birth, and baptism. You are enough, because God says so.
I put it out there in the universe and will wait for a response. I made it clear what I want and bathed the letter in prayer and supplication. I will wait for a response and in that time be content with what God has given me in this crazy world. Don’t wonder if you are enough; believe that God says, “You are enough, because I formed you and shaped you into the person that you have become.” Give thanks to God and let God lead you.
Habakkuk held no advanced degrees, but God used him. The disciples had no formal education, but God used them. God uses those who will put their hands to the plow and never look back. It’s a strange world that we live in, but the best comes from God when we acknowledge that we are enough for the journey ahead.
Go with God and be blessed as you walk down the road of experience, faith, and tradition.