It was an unusually rough week in the middle of a very hard season. You know the kind of week I’m talking about — where it seems like you’re getting hit with one hard thing after another and getting out from under it all sounds as easy as hiking through the Mojave Desert in three-inch heels.
For a while there, I was barely holding on. I guess you could say I was in a Season of Barely.
Was I staying on top of my deadlines? Sure, but barely.
Was I taking care of my body? Barely.
Was I getting enough sleep? Barely, if that.
Was I ready to get out of bed every morning? Barely.
Was I connecting with friends? Barely.
Was I being kind to myself? Barely.
My friend Anjuli knew that I was struggling. A few days earlier, I had left her a voice message, the kind where your voice cracks and the ceaseless sniffling makes your words almost incomprehensible. Yet my tears spoke a language of their own, and some friends are fluent in the language of emotion. She returned my message with one of her own, tenderly holding space for the ache I was feeling.
A few days later, Anjuli checked in with me. She texted to ask how I was holding up.
I was still in my Season of Barely, and so I texted back a single word: “Barely.”
A few moments later, she responded: “Barely is enough.”
Her words offered such safe harbor for me in that season, and I have returned to them over and over again in recent weeks.
“Barely is enough.”
Those three little words gave me courage to take the next step and the next step after that. Barely may not seem like much, but sometimes barely is enough to keep it all moving forward.
Are you in a Season of Barely?
Barely surviving this hard season.
Barely making it through what feels unbelievably difficult.
Perhaps you need to know that barely is enough. You don’t have to do more, be more, pretend more, perform more, hurry up more.
I consulted the Scriptures to see what God could teach us about our Seasons of Barely. The word barely is . . . well . . . barely used in Scripture. But one of the few times you’ll find the word barely in Scripture is in Isaiah 26. The chapter is a song of trust, praise, and meditation that calls out the goodness of God. And then the chapter takes a slight turn around verse 16, mentioning a people “in distress.”
“They could barely whisper a prayer,” Isaiah writes of these distressed people (my emphasis added). They were in their own Season of Barely, and they could “barely whisper a prayer.”
Here’s the good news: Prayers don’t need to be shouted in order for God to hear them. Sometimes, even your barely-enough prayers are enough. And that’s okay.
What has your own Season of Barely looked like? How does it help you to know that sometimes barely is enough?
I have come to know that barely has honor and dignity all its own. Barely is forward movement toward something that is still being brought to completion. And that completion will come. It’s a promise from God, and it’s promise I need, and maybe you do too.
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Philippians 1:6 (MSG)