Every now and again, I think I’ve got all the plates spinning at once. I’ve done enough, and I can be satisfied. I strut down the grocery aisle like it’s a dance floor, giving nods and high-fives to strangers, like Heart’s “Barracuda” is my cool and easy life’s soundtrack.

jimcarreyThen, suddenly, my son pitches a Grade-A Hissy Fit right there in the store because the cereal he wanted five minutes ago is not the cereal he wants now. In the midst of his public hysteria, my phone dings and I see that I’ve received another: “This is great, but not for us” email from a literary agency about my manuscript. The baby spits up on my jeans, and the proverbial plates begin to fall – one-by-one, shattering to pieces on the hard ground below.

What will ever be “enough”?

Comedian Jim Carrey presented a similar struggle at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony. Before announcing the nominees for Best Motion Picture in Comedy, he said to Hollywood’s elite:

I am two-time Golden Globe Winner, Jim Carrey. You know, when I go to sleep at night, I’m not just a guy going to sleep. I’m two-time Golden Globe winner, Jim Carrey, going to get some well-needed shut-eye. And when I dream, I don’t just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream about being three-time Golden Globe winning actor, Jim Carrey. Because then I would be enough. It would finally be true. And I could stop this terrible search for what I know ultimately wont fulfill me.”

The actors, dressed to perfection in designer gowns and tuxedos, doubled over in laughter. But as the camera panned their faces, it seemed that his words rang truer than any of Hollywood (or we) are comfortable admitting.

If a Golden Globe (or three) will not satisfy us, what will?

I find myself – as a mother, a wife, even as a woman working in ministry – asking myself this question embarrassingly often. Am I enough? If I’m not, what can I do or achieve that will finally elicit peace and fulfillment? And if I am already enough, then what is this thirst that no amount of pleasure or success or, dare I say, faith seems to extinguish?

Some folks might scoff: “Jesus doesn’t satisfy you all the time? Egads!” But anyone who’s ever been single and longed for a spouse, or dealt with infertility, or worked a dead-end job that just doesn’t pay the bills, knows that “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love” (Psalm 90:14) was a bare plea from the author, not necessarily a felt certainty. Jesus as “enough,” while undoubtedly true, doesn’t always offer the comfort we hope it would. So we look elsewhere for that satisfaction.

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Although I *know* they wont fulfill me, my dreams are as grand as “publish a book and lose pregnancy weight” and as basic as “get enough sleep and stay psychologically afloat until the kids’ bedtime when I can breathe.”

Here is how my wish-fulfillment actually plays out: I get sleep, but I’m still tired. My kids play together like little cherubs, but I should be doing more to stimulate their brains. I lose a pound or two, but it doesn’t make the person staring at me in the mirror a shred more lovable. I go to bed alongside my loving husband. And a small voice whispers in the recesses of my wandering heart that there still must be more than this. Why do my feet feel so shaky, eyes thrashing around in their sockets for any one thing – a new dress, a cheeseburger, a massage – that will make me feel at peace, satisfied?

In 2014, Jim Carrey gave a surprise address at Maharishi University’s Commencement Ceremony. He talked about realizing his purpose as a comedian was to “free people from their concern.” Then he says:

The only one I hadn’t freed was myself. And that’s when my search for identity deepened. I wondered who I’d be without my fame. Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t want to hear, or if I defied their expectations of me? What if I showed up to the party without my Mardi Gras mask…that peace, that peace that we’re after lies somewhere beyond personality. Beyond the perception of others…Even beyond effort itself.”

He says that in order to find real peace, we must take down our armor and not let anything “stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”

Regardless of how Jim might identify religiously, his words resonate with what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans, that “the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (8:11) and “put on the armor of light” (14:12). While these words seem like mandates, they are effortless. They require nothing from us in the way of worldly stipulations. The potency of Jesus’ sacrificial and servant ministry resided in the fact that he “made himself nothing.” So why do we strive so restlessly to be something?

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Carrey says, “Our eyes are not only viewers, they’re also projectors that are running a second story over the picture that we see in front of us…Fear is writing that script, and the working title is: ‘I’ll Never Be Enough.’”

He goes on to remark:

This is the voice of the ego, and if you listen to it, there will always be someone who is doing better than you. No matter what you gain, ego will not let you rest. It will tell you that you cannot stop until you’ve left an indelible mark on the earth, until you’ve achieved immortality. How tricky is this ego, that it would tempt us with the promise of something we already possess?

You could almost substitute “ego” here for “law” or even “devil.” What does it mean, as Carrey says, to risk being seen in all of our glory? That our teeth are perfectly whitened, we never swear, only drink decaf, and become a household name for all the good we’ve done in the world? Maybe. Or are we more valuable purveyors of the gospel when we come to the pulpit (wherever that may be) broken, unsatisfied, yearning, and instead of fearing it – boldly confessing, “I will never be enough.” In this proclamation, we make ourselves nothing so that the great Something most mightily shines forth.

Everything we need, it turns out, we already possess – absolute forgiveness, ultimate acceptance, and a perfect love that expects nothing in return. Any true demand on our lives was satisfied in total on a hill called Calvary.

So my dream of publishing might come true. I’ll hold that first printed copy in my hands and absolutely revel in it for an hour or two. Then I’ll go to sleep alongside my loving husband. I’ll wake up the next morning though, and I’ll still feel tired. My jeans will feel too tight and my house will seem too small. I’ll remember, as I do nearly hourly these days, how desperately I need a Savior.

What do we do with the knowledge that nothing on earth can fulfill us? Perhaps we do as Jim Carrey instructed at the end of his address to the Maharishi graduates: “Relax and dream up a good life.” And when our accomplished dreams do not fulfill us (as they can’t and won’t), we pray for the grace to see that terrible vacancy in our hearts for what it truly is: a glorious signpost pointing to the One who can and does.

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)