When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

by Brenda Bradford Ottinger September 16, 2022
"And Elisha said, 'Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.'” 2 Kings 4:3-4 (NLT)

I’m a woman of habit, so every morning, like a playlist on repeat, I make the bed, shower and dash downstairs to the automated grace that brews my cup of caffeine.

One morning, as the water ran low in my single-serve brewer, I thought, Oh, how my weary spirit can relate. I, too, felt like I was running low — low on time, skill and energy to pour into the people and places God had called me to flow into. Perhaps I don’t have enough … or I am not enough to make a difference.

But as I refilled the reservoir on my brewer, pouring water into the tank while the brewer simultaneously splashed tea into my mug, I noticed the water level in the tank remained unchanged. Even though the machine was withdrawing water to fill my cup, the water pouring in restored the water pouring out.

Immediately, my mind chased the biblical story of the widow’s flowing oil jar. A distraught widow approached the prophet Elisha with news that her husband, the household provider, had died, and creditors were looming. The only valuable possession she had left was a flask of olive oil.

“And Elisha said, ‘Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.’ So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim!” (2 Kings 4:3-6a, NLT)

What a wonder it must have been for that widow to pour and pour while the oil level in her meager flask remained unchanged! Yet abundance didn’t flow from her flask until she lifted it up in faith and poured.

The Lord could have commanded Elisha to produce a bounty of oil for this widow in need, yet instead God chose to pour into her jar as she faithfully showed up and poured out. Trusting God, she filled every borrowed jar from her humble vessel, selling the oil to pay off her debts, with enough money left to support her family. (2 Kings 4:7)

Much like that widow assessing the meager resources she had for her family, all too often I can feel that what I have to offer is insufficient. But that morning, God reminded me that my lack is ample means for His measure.

You see, as we lift up the small vessels of our lives in faith, trusting they're more than enough for our big God to use, He pours His abundance into us as we pour it out into the world — just as the Lord poured oil into the widow’s jar while she simultaneously poured out.

Believing our modest offering is enough can sometimes feel unnatural, as it presses us to move beyond comfort and perceptions. That impoverished widow exercised faith when she risked disgrace and discomfort, asking her neighbors for multiple empty jars without having obvious means to fill them. Yet she wasn’t distracted by notions of inadequacy or comparison.

Friend, even when it feels like everyone else has an overflow of all we seemingly lack — when we feel empty of ability, opportunity or means — may our faith inform our feelings, for our God is able!

We need not rely on our own power or perceived enough-ness; rather, let's rightly place our faith in the God who is able to do infinitely more than we can ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) For when we make ourselves available vessels for Him, He pours His full measure of love into us as we pour out His love into the world.

Dear Lord, thank You for enabling me to be a vessel Your love flows through and for always being enough for every good work You establish. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Waiting for your life to finally slow down? Rest is possible in the middle of the busyness. That’s why we picked Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge for our next Online Bible Study. This study will help you stop the cycle of “I just have to get through _____, and then life will get easier” with simple practices to help you connect with God. Join our six-week study starting September 19. Click here to sign up for free today!




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Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (NLT)

Ephesians 3:16, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” (NLT)

In what areas do you feel you’re not enough right now? Remind your feelings today that your God is able! We’d love for you to share in the comments.

© 2022 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.

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