“In Africa, we use names that have meaning,” she explained in a smooth voice that exuded warmth and hospitality. We were sitting under the shade of her friend’s carport, next to one of the nicest houses in Soweto. “I must get to know you so that I can give you a name that means something in my language,” she continued.
We chatted for only a short time before a huge smile spread across her face. She chuckled, clapped her hands together, and said, “Nophelo! Your African name will be Nophelo!” She wrote it on a piece of paper for me and I practiced saying it, “no-fell-owe, NO-fellow, no-FELL-low.”
“That’s it!” she confirmed. “No-FELL-low.”
“What does it mean?” I asked, excited to see what she had learned about me in our short time together.
Her smile never faltered as she said, “It is my brother’s name! It means, ‘that’s enough!’” Then, for emphasis, she put her hand out in the universal signal for STOP and said, “Enough! Nophelo!”
It took only moments for this amazing, friendly, and warm-hearted woman to decide I was enough.
I’ve been mulling it over and it keeps bringing me new layers of self-awareness.
She chose the name for me because I am the youngest of four children. She said with four children, my birth marked the “that’s enough!” moment for my family.
That was one layer of meaning, but this is (at least) a three-layer cake.
When I shared my African name with my husband and the friends we traveled with, we all shared a laugh. I tend to be a lot, especially when I’m traveling. I love to meet people and hear their stories, so I often strike up random conversations with random people. Sometimes I’m not quite ready to move on because I’m busy chatting with someone I’ve just met. The name rang true to my husband and friends because more than once they had thought, “That’s enough, Beth! Let’s go!”
After the trip, as I’ve pondered the appropriateness of this name for myself, I hear God whispering another layer of truth about it.
When it comes to my relationship with God, I am enough for God. I don’t need to be more or do more to be loved and accepted by God. God is not withholding love, grace, or mercy because I have unmet spiritual milestones. God loves me now, here, today, at this moment. God loved me yesterday and will love me tomorrow.
God has never looked at me and thought, “you are not enough.”
That’s true for you, too.
You are enough. You are lovable. You are loved.
Whatever else you are called, God calls you enough.
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