Never good enough

13 Nov

If you asked me or my husband what we fight about the most, we would say something along the lines of “tidyness,” “cleanliness,” “organization.” I am a very neat, organized, clean person. Travis…not so much. He can be organized with the stuff that is important to him…hunting gear, tools… But when I ask Travis to do something in the house (take out the trash, put away his shoes, make the bed), I almost always have to ask more than once.

I’ve learned that he doesn’t not do these things on purpose. Most of the time, he honestly forgets (the other times, he procrastinates until he forgets). I can understand his forgetfulness because I had a similar relationship with one of my college roommates. But when he does remember to do what I have asked, he gets excited and tells me that he remembered to do what I asked him to do! Surely I will be thrilled beyond belief!

Oh, no, I won’t be. You see, I always find something to criticize. Maybe he took the trash out but forgot to put a new bag in the garbage can. Or he cleaned his stuff off the kitchen table only to throw it on top of our dresser. Or he dusted and didn’t put the picture frames back exactly how they were before. Or he put away the dishes but they’re in the wrong place. It’s pathetic that I can remember all these things but I’m a very particular person when it comes to organization. Everything has its place–you can’t leave things sitting out but you can’t put them back just anywhere either.

As you can guess, it deflates Travis’ spirits pretty quickly when he announces his achievement and I respond with “Yes, but…” It is understandable that his response to my response would be, “I feel like I can never do anything good enough for you.” Silently, I respond, “That’s because you can’t.”

I have been made to realize time and time again that Travis will not do everything I want him to do, exactly the way I want it done. He is not only a different person, he’s also a man. He’s a rational thinker; I’m emotional. He likes to think through every single possibility; I choose the first one that sounds good. He is slow to anger; I am like a firecracker with a 1/8” fuse. All that to say, I do see my sin in wanting Travis to be the male version of me. 🙂

Lately though, I’ve had the thought that I’m just as hard on myself. Nothing I do is ever good enough for me either. Even if I listed all of my accomplishments, I would say “So? Look at all these other things you didn’t do.” If I have one success and one failure, the success becomes invisible…because I failed once. It strikes me as kind of ironic because even though I’m an optimist (in that I’m always hoping for the best) when it comes to every other area of life, I am a pessimist (in that I only focus on the negatives) when it comes to my life (and Travis’ too I guess…but only the organizational part of it).  

So it is with my life right now. I have a very blessed life. I get to spend a lot of time with my loving husband. I have a job that utilizes my skills and interests. I work in the nursery at church. I attend a weekly Bible study/women’s group. I have been redeemed by the King and now have an eternal relationship with Him. But do I feel good about any of that? Nope. Because I’m not volunteering, mentoring, evangelizing, discipling, serving, sharing, the list goes on and on of the things I should/could be doing but am not doing.

It begs the question: what, then, is enough? What could I be doing with my life that would make me think “Yep, I feel like I am doing enough. I am living for God’s glory and this is exactly where He’s called me to be.” Will I ever feel like I am doing enough? Will I ever be content where I am? Or will I always feel this restlessness of not being good enough?

God accepts me exactly as I am, this I know. I am not struggling with how I can earn God’s favor because I know that even if I filled every waking moment with good deeds, my life without Christ would still be a filthy rag to God. I am only accepted because of Christ’s death on the cross.

I read somewhere (I think in Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel) that “God loves you just as you are but He loves you too much to let you stay there.” Not only does that idea give me hope that the Spirit will ever be taking me upward and onward (even if I feel like I’m not moving), it also convicts me that God’s acceptance does not mean my stagnation. Rather, His acceptance enables my change–because it dispels my fear of failure (easier said than done).

A question we talked about in our care group last night was “What if the next 20 years looked like today?” The thought scares me. What if my life is the same 20 years from now? What if I don’t grow? What if I don’t change? What if I never get out there and take a risk? It would be a sad existence for sure.

You may be asking, so why don’t I get out there and take a risk TODAY?

That is a good question… I’ll get back to you.

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