“I’m not the perfect mom, but I can be good enough.”
I don’t know when it finally struck me. I’m sure it was somewhere between the cries for more oatmeal and help with a math lesson and the toys strewn across the floor and the crying baby nearby.
“Oh, my dear God. I cannot do this!”
The weight of the feeling just sat there, quietly telling me that there was just no way I was ever going to be able to meet all of the demands of all of my children all of the time. So, I was exhausted. And drained.
I mean, isn’t that what a good mom does? Keep her children happy…?
There was just no way. Not with five children ages seven and under, a household to care for, a husband to love, and somewhere in there, me, myself, and I (who was quickly becoming a person I didn’t recognize anymore).
Somewhere in the mess and the chaos I internally threw my hands up and cried out to the Lord:
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS?!?!”
And, quietly, in His still small voice, the Truth rang out in my heart:
Don’t strive to be perfect for all of them. Just seek to be good enough and leave the rest to me. Don’t try to be a perfect mom…Just be good enough.”
Huh. Good enough. What in the world does that mean?!
The words were like a foreign language to me.
It was then that I began my quest to understand this status of the in-between: a position of life where one is not quite bad or horrible, but is also not flawless and/or perfect.
The journey has been long and hard, eye-opening and humbling, and I certainly cannot with any final declaration state that I HAVE ARRIVED, but I can tell you, my word, there is so much blessing in the good enough.
We experience immense freedom when we expect God alone to be perfect.
You see, I am a perfectionist by default. Even as a child, my room was usually “just so.” I love to keep things nice and tidy, and when I cook in the kitchen I will clean up as I go…truly, disastrous standards when put together with children in the kitchen.
Let’s just say motherhood has been a growing experience for me…but I digress.
I am also a people pleaser by nature (to a fault), which I call my middle child syndrome, and honestly, this did not serve me well as a mom, especially with more than one child, and an opinionated and strong-willed thrown into the mix, too.
So, this lesson that God was teaching me went against everything I knew. Ironically, He challenged me that it is not my job to keep everyone around me happy ALL THE TIME. Rather I need to do my best, be good enough, and leave the rest up to Him.
I can teach my kids about Christ. I can show them His love. But, they must accept Him for themselves.
Seek to be Good Enough
Good enough is a state of being where one can exist without the extremes of a complete spiral of sinfulness, nor the flawless perfection of Mary Poppins.
It is a state where things like boundaries and self co-exist, and a line is set that determines who is responsible for what.
It is also a place where one understands the difference between self-control and others control. In this space, one works diligently to stay out of “Control Land,” a place where we try to control everyone or everything else around us in order to keep ourselves under control.
I have spent many days in Control Land. In fact, I’d say I was Governor and President of the land for a long time. Thankfully, though, I have been fired from that position…
Truly, who has ever come to know and love God by having Him forced down their throat?
Our Abba took me by the hand and showed me the damage that my perfectionistic tendencies were having on those I love in this world.
Let’s just say it was not pretty since I was in the throes of experiencing the consequences of a Proverb; “A foolish woman tears down her house with her own hands…” (14: 1).
My heart cried out for help, and our Abba answered me.
Sweet daughter, I already see you as clean, even with the broken pieces. My Son took care of all of that. Work to please Me and Me alone, and consider yourself ‘good enough’ to everyone else. Your little idiosyncrasies are Mine to enjoy. Leave the rest to Me. I am leading you, one step at a time.”
Our Abba can handle the tension of our imperfections, while man, in our limited ability, often cannot.
Here are some guidelines for being Good Enough
When we embrace our own imperfections as perfectly imperfect and accept ourselves as such, we can move forward to extending Godly Love to others.
- Do your best, forget the rest, even if other people complain or don’t like it
- Focus on character rather than results
- Accept responsibility for yourself, and then back off to let other people do the same
- Do not compare yourself or others. It always causes damage
- Remember, growth is a process and it takes time to change. Practice new behaviors, and let the changes come over time
Embrace the mess of the journey
I leave you with this fantastic quote I stumbled upon while working towards my postpartum doula certification. I felt like the author and I could be kindred spirits and her words fully embodied exactly what I so desperately want to embolden into our generation of beautiful women of God.
Motherhood is raw and pure. It is fierce and gentle. It is up and down. It is magic and madness. Single days last forever and years fly by…It is so easy to get twisted into knots over the many details of motherhood that we lose sight of the process for the goals, the journey for the destination…Be gentle with yourself as you travel, dear mother. Don’t miss the scenery. Don’t miss the conversation with your traveling companions. Laugh at the bumps and say ‘Oohh, aah’ on the hairpin turns. Buckle your seat belt. You’re a mom!”~ Aviva Jill Romm, Natural Health After Birth
Mama, you are amazing, even with the daily struggles of life. Don’t you ever forget it, because YOU are AMAZING.