“Let’s admit that we are not enough, and turn to the God who is.” Jen Oshman
Quotes from a book are a bit like tasting samples at the ice-cream shop. They can draw you in and give a feel for what a full cone (or book) offers. But books are always more than a few quotes. Books include longer stories and illustrations to provide context to those quotes, and suggested applications to live them out. Books build and sustain arguments and ideas that can become part of how you live faithfully in the world, even if you never have a quote ready.
Part of the sustained idea of Jen Oshman’s Enough About Me is that while culture has duped us putting us at the center of our lives. Though the marketing and messages about how powerful, amazing, and limitless we are might tickle our ears, it sets us up for disappointment. We are not big enough, strong enough, or smart enough to be at the center. This “believe-in-yourself gospel” doesn’t liberate us, it crushes us.
Despite all the positive-talk and self-help lingo of today, part of why we feel deflated and discouraged is because we’re not enough. But the good news is that the grand story of the Bible reveals to us a God who is enough. We need to fight back against the tide of the cultural messages leading to a self-empowered, self-centered life by rooting ourselves in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone offers the lasting joy we’re looking for.
Jen’s book, written to women but applicable to men, is a helpful antidote to the autonomous, self-reliant, expressive individualism of our day that puts the burden of life on our backs and makes us the object of our worship. Jesus alone can carry that burden, and in this book, we learn to rest in and be built up in him. Our joy is found by looking up, not by looking in.
Here are ten of my favorite quotes.
“The heart of spiritual junk food is that it tells us how to behave rather than calling us to behold. Behold who? Jesus. Any deviation from biblical Christianity can be detected when we are told to turn our practices and habits inward on ourselves, rather than outward on our marvelous Savior.”
“Me-ology is the junk food diet we’ve been serving up in our spiritual lives. The healthy alternative we need to immediately start ingesting is theology. Theology is the study of God. It is the examination of his attributes and abilities, his goodness and faithfulness, who he is and what he has done. Theology is substantial, true, and life-giving. Feasting here will allow us to grow stronger and more into the image of him who made us.”
“We’re a generation that has been raised on spiritual fast food, and we’re sick. It’s time for us to sit down at the table, linger, and sup on the feast the King has for us.”
“God says, I made you in my image to live for my glory. Culture says, Be self-made in whatever image you like and live for your own glory. This is a counterfeit calling, and it’s killing us.”
“But rooting ourselves in ourselves has led to our ruin. The I-can-do-this self-talk and building ourselves up from the inside has exhausted us. We see now that there is no rest for the one who depends on herself for everything.”
“Our remedy is in reclaiming our worldview. It’s in rejecting the self-help movement that birthed us and in reorienting ourselves back toward the God who made us. Healing must happen in our souls. Our health will come when we root ourselves in what’s true. Let’s face it: we were duped by the culture that raised us. The ideas that we swim around in are wreaking havoc. As we match them up against the biblical truths of the gospel, we see how they ring hollow.”
“And this fork in the road—this moment when we realize we cannot live a divided life any longer—is a gift of mercy. It is a tool in the tender hands of our loving God to woo us to himself. In that moment when we are gasping for breath on the floor, he is saying, ‘Come to me . . . and you will find rest for your souls’ (Matt. 11: 28–29).”
“The ‘believe-in-yourself gospel’ is wreaking havoc on the church, especially in women’s ministries. This false gospel says God wants you to be happy, you are enough just the way you are, and it’s up to you to reach within to make yourself successful and satisfied. This false gospel is the drumbeat of today’s young women, professionals, working moms, stay-at-home moms, and mompreneuers. It’s a nice pep talk we give to ourselves and to one another to conquer another day of college, singleness, motherhood, or work life. ‘Just believe in yourself,’ we rehearse. We’ve even got it painted on throw pillows, coffee mugs, and cute T-shirts. It’s written on chalkboards, in blogs, and on Instagram feeds. It’s everywhere.”
“When we confess that we are not enough; that we don’t have the power within ourselves to be fulfilled; that we sin; that we fall short; that we make messes of our own lives and others’; that we cannot make it in this life on our own; that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, then we can finally unclench our white-knuckle grip and exhale.”
“Lasting joy exists. It is there for the finding and receiving. It comes from the hands of the giver of life. It is for you and for me and for all who resist the Siren call of self.”