About striving, being good enough, and failing

I know, I know.  It’s been a month since I last posted.  I meant to be more regular here.  September is my crunch month, so I have a legit excuse.  Since mid August, I have:  started homeschooling my children; taken at least 8 field trips; submitted all the attendant paperwork; led 2 leadership meetings for the women’s Bible study; recruited more than half of the childcare staff for Bible study, including a childcare coordinator; met with said coordinator; created a childcare policy handbook; driven the launch of the Bible study; prepared and taught Bible study twice; had an overnight anniversary getaway with my husband; attended 2 required-attendance social events; made over $600 in jewelry sales; made a major household furnishing purchase; canned several dozen jars of pickles, jams, syrups, and fruits; and continued to post on the food blog I share with my sister.

Phew! It makes me feel a bit better to look at that list–I haven’t had a fruitless month, that I should beat myself up for not getting over here to post, or for not having a basement or porches that are currently clean and presentable. But as I type that, I realize it’s time to give myself a sermon.
It’s always been a struggle for me, thinking that my worth=how much I do. I have often felt that I’m only okay–I’m only worthy or valuable, or righteous–if my entire house is entirely organized and entirely spotless, and if my to-do list is entirely checked off.  And that’s problematic, because I ALWAYS have a to-do list that is longer than any sane person can expect to manage.  Which means that I can never be okay.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  I really NEVER CAN be okay.  I can never, in my own strength, and through my own efforts and striving and to-do lists, be good enough, or cleanly enough, or righteous enough, to merit God’s approval.  Why is that good news?  Because I can jettison the self-expectation that I MUST do all these things before I can allow myself to feel okay, that  I can’t for a moment take vacation or rest, because I still have more to do, and God will not be happy with me until it’s ALL done.   I can lay that all down, and thankfully sink into the rest and the grace of Jesus.  His righteousness, His accomplishment, His efforts.  I will never be Good Enough, and thank the Lord, I don’t have to be–Jesus is Good Enough. More than, actually.

I’ll step down from the preacher’s podium now–I was mostly preaching to myself.  I need that from time to time.

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1 Comment

  1. Joan DeWindt said,

    October 13, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Honey, that was a great lesson to learn already at your age. I still struggle with the need for perfection when it is so clearly impossible. I thought when I got older I would feel so much holier, but that goal always seems out of reach. I join you in sinking thankfully into the rest and grace of Jesus. Love, Aunt Joan


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