The Imaginary Life

Jeff Fear, Humility

The Oscars were on television last night. If there was ever a more vacuous scene, void of reality and meaningfulness, I have no idea what it was. No, I didn’t watch. We all know what the Oscars are about. They are nothing more than a chasing of the wind and a manicured collage of hollow words that, in the end, speak nothing of substance. Hollywood is the epicenter of what I call the imaginary life.

You are not good enough.

You are not successful enough.

You are not young enough.

You are not old enough.

You are not attractive enough.

You are not rich enough.

Your house, clothes and car are not impressive enough.

You aren’t getting enough results.

Your parents didn’t love you enough.

You don’t have enough friends.

You don’t possess enough skills to advance.


Feel free to add your own statement.

Here is mine: Enough with enough!

Here is the Apostle Paul’s statement: “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are not wise.” – 2 Corinthians 10:12

When we live a life of comparison we actually fail to live our own life. Right now, more than ever before, Christians are bombarded with different streams of comparison-fertilizer. Social media promotes beautiful (obviously edited!) selfies of our friends and associates. They are always smiling, posing, raising a celebratory toast to convey a message of “My life is awesome because I am awesome! Isn’t that awesome?”  Add to that the river of images from Hollywood, attached to stories of fame and fortune, and we might possibly find ourselves searching for a measuring stick to gauge how we our doing in this thing called life. Frankly, I’m burdened for people whom I encounter regularly that are living beneath the ever-increasing load of enough. They cannot find happiness. Contentment flees them. Their comparison instinct goes running from person to person and deceitfully declares, “Become like her and then you will be enough.”  All you really need to do is walk the halls of the local high school and you will see soon enough what is required for our kids and grandkids to enter into the illusionary world of enough. Shoes, jeans, tops, hair, beards – you name it, and you will find a narrow margin in which young people must slide themselves in order to enter the adolescent abyss of enough.

Or, instead of going to the local high school, check out the stage at church every Sunday.

Yeah, that had a little bite to it.

I am not an old crabby dude, but I do think it is apparent that there is an acceptable style today which market-driven ministries have to embrace if they want to be relevant enough. Millennials (approximately 21-37 years of age) are now reaping what GenXers (that’s my generation) and Baby Boomers (hey, dad!) have sown into church life for the last forty years. Somewhere it seems that the virtues of being holy and true are now assumed to be present, as we manically prioritize from church-to-church being impressive and slick. For me, it all boils down to the motivation of those in charge of what is being planned and presented in our churches. It can certainly be modern, relevant and attractive without anything of substance being compromised. We have lights, cameras, screens and graphics at my home church. I try to dress nicely when I preach, and expect the same from those who lead worship at our church. But God help us if we ever believe that we don’t have enough if we don’t have those things. My guess is that my home church doesn’t really measure up to the cutting edge cool enough tape measure that is floating around somewhere out there. If that is true, then I can confess without any snark that I really do not care a whit. I can live without being contemporary enough, cool enough, fast enough or impressive enough.

But I cannot bear the thought of not being holy and true. If our faith-family was not joyful it would crush me. Here are some enough’s that I am chasing: broken enough, kind enough, loving enough, sacrificial enough, thankful enough, humble enough and committed enough. And I am not looking to some other believer to be my measuring stick to gauge how I am faring. I am looking at a throne. I am looking at the One on that throne who gave Himself fully for me. I’m listening to Him speak identity and acceptance and completion over me. I hear Him whisper to me, “Jeff, I am your enough.” If we will listen, we will all hear Him say that.

So, we will stop striving. We will cease comparing. We will retire from competing with one another. We will experience the breathtaking privilege of being who we are according to the measure that Jesus has assigned to us. We will experience rest in that moment. We will let the silly race go on without us. We will let others win it…but there really isn’t a winner in that race for enough. It’s an imaginary life. So, we are at are happiest when we just stop running for that ridiculous and elusive prize of measuring up.

You have enough. You have Jesus. You have Holy Spirit to lead you in the path He has assigned to you. You are fearfully and wonderfully created by the Father. You are a joint-heir with the Son. You are safe. You are loved. You are the object of eternal affection.

You, my Christian friend, have already won.

That’s your enough.