Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Good Enough Complex

Mother’s Day was a delight for me. My children’s school held their annual Mother’s Day Tea and as usual in between the reading of original poems, off-beat songs and clumsy dance routines more than a few tears were shed. I always get emotional when I hear kids talk about how much they love their moms; even if I am not the mom in question. Some kids celebrated the kindness of their moms, while others apologized for driving their moms crazy. All in all it was very sweet and I walked away thinking that my kids love and appreciate me for me, not because I am perfect or sane…but because I am their mom and to them I am the most perfect version of a mom, because I am theirs.

Not a full 24 hours later, I was feeling down on myself. Feelings of failure crept into my little head. One worry compounded upon another. And I said to myself, “Nothing, I do is ever good enough.” It all began with a call from the school nurse. My youngest daughter suddenly had a sore throat and needed to be picked up from school. It would not have mattered if her school was 5 minutes away but her school is 20 minutes away (40 minutes round trip). Considering gas prices, we would have to drive 40 minutes to pick her up and another 40 minutes in 2 hours to pick her older brother and sister up later. Total driving for the day: 120 minutes. My husband suggested that we just pick them all up. I felt bad. Not only did I not have the Omni-mommy senses to know that my daughter wasn’t feeling 100% when I sent her to school but I couldn’t even go and pick her up because at almost 35 years old I never learned to drive. So off went my husband in 100 degree weather and I could be of no assistance. I was reminded then, of all the other things I wasn’t good enough at.

I wasn’t a good enough mother because I can’t drive. I wasn’t good enough to find a job in the six months I have been laid off from work. In fact, just a week prior, I had taken a written exam for a city job and I scored a 93%. Essentially an A, but that still had not been good enough to land the job. Mother’s Day came and went but I had nothing to honor my own mother with; choosing instead to tithe off of my 17% deducted unemployment check. Not good enough I thought. Not a good enough writer either to garner any real income off of my first book. Not good enough to get a retail job. Try and try as I might, even my best seemed to be not good enough. Slowly, I began to feel inferior in every way.

You know how one thought leads to another and everything you hear in your mind is a negative? Well that’s where I was, in this mental gloom. Ah, yes, the most pathetic of parties. You know what is really fascinating to me? Pity parties. I mean they are the lamest, most non-social parties ever and yet so many people arrive at them with the expectation that by loathing around with other people in the dumps that somehow fun will be had? Are we there yet? Are we having fun? Bring balloons to a pity party and the host pops them. Bring gifts to the party and they are immediately shoved in a corner. Pity parties suck! And while I was feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I hated this anti-social party I was having. In reality, nobody is good enough. Everyone pretty much falls short of 100%. You can be a damn good 93% but honey somebody else is a 95%. And you could be that 95% but hey, you have a 5% margin of just not good enough. You might even be a 100% but somebody else is a 100% with better credit and a family pedigree. I realize that I am not good enough because good enough never is. I admit it, Natrietia is not good enough. I’m a little good, mostly good but not good enough. And every part of me that isn’t good enough, God says, “I’ll pick up the slack. Better yet, when your very best efforts meet up with me, it’s better than good. It’s perfect”

Hebrews 11: 1-2 says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

When we look for perfection, let us look in the eyes of Jesus; so that in Him we see the reflection of ourselves. Our perfection is not found in our efforts, skills and abilities; but in the perfecter of our faith, Jesus. Too many times, I have expected perfection of myself and others. And to my utter dismay, I was a disappointment to myself, just as much as others were a disappointment to me. There simply is no such thing as perfect; outside of grace. Yeah, I know I scored a 93% on the city test. And yeah, my Omni-mommy senses didn’t kick in at the right time. And, yes, I should be more mature in the spirit than to let a few little hiccups in the road get me so hot under the collar. And no, I can’t drive, yet. But; God has shown me grace. He gave me more time than allowed. He picked me up when I fell. He made away for me. And though I’m not good enough, I’m still the mom who gets up and irons her kids’ clothes and does laundry multiple times a week. I pack their lunches and cut the crust off the bread just the way they like. I pray for them and their peers. I take the time to oil and braid my daughters’ hair at night. I give kisses and tell them that I love them. Hey, I finished the book even though its not a best seller yet, at least I finished. I pray for people who could care less about me, and I do it not because I want recognition or a ticket to heaven; but because whether they know it or not, their lives are valuable and I care about where we all spend eternity. I am not a good enough person, but I am good enough to receive God’s grace not because I am 100% perfect; but because He (God) is 100% righteous. I realize today, that I am not valuable because I am good … I am of value because I exist. My existence is my substance. I was given breath to live and that is the clearest evidence that I exist for a reason. My life is valuable. And as long as I am living my value appreciates. I’m only getting better and the closer I walk to God the closer I am to perfection.

And you my friend, you are of tremendous value. You matter. And you matter the most to God. He loves you with an unchanging, unfailing and perfect love. He will never leave you or forsake you. He will never lead you where He is not. So if you find yourself in a valley or at the top of a hill, the Lord is there. One of my favorite Psalms is found in chapter 139, I encourage you to read it in its entirety but here are a few verses:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”