Recently I found myself once again overcome by familiar feelings of inadequacy. When this happens – I am instantly overwhelmed. As I go over the list of reasons why I’m not “enough”, I feel as though I want to just curl up in a ball and do nothing because I’ll never be able to do it all, anyway. I know that these feelings are being delivered to me courtesy of the devil because whether I’m “enough” or not doesn’t matter to God. I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus no matter how far short I fall in life. (Can I get an “Amen!”?) And even though this fact is more than enough reason to praise God and get on with life, somehow I don’t always get there right away.
In my mind I play over my shortcomings…
- I don’t spend enough time with my husband.
- I don’t spend enough time with my kids.
- I don’t pray enough.
- I don’t cook enough or plan enough family dinners.
- We don’t go to church enough.
- I don’t volunteer my time or give enough money.
- I don’t make enough money.
- I don’t exercise enough.
- My house isn’t clean enough.
- I don’t spend time with friends or pamper myself (Which is something I tell myself I can do once I get the rest of the stuff on this list right.)
This is the shortlist — but when it’s listed out it feels like a punch in the stomach. How can I ever do all of these things well enough? Then I get to thinking. Exactly where did I come up with this list and how did I determine whether or not I was doing any of it “well enough”? The answer is pretty obvious — comparisons! I think women are especially prone to this. We see twenty different women that each do one thing amazingly well and suddenly we make it our mission to become those twenty women all wrapped up in one!
We see one woman with a beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean home that could be featured in a Better Homes & Garden magazine and suddenly our house feels like a shabby shack. We meet another woman that regularly plans romantic getaways with her husband and suddenly we feel sadly detached from our own spouse. We meet a mom that has “Bible reading night” with her children and suddenly we feel like we’re raising little heathens. We meet another mom that makes amazing home cooked meals served around the dining room table every night and suddenly we feel like the worst mom ever. Do you see the pattern? I do… and when I look at it a very ugly word creeps into my sight line. Envy.
In order for me to get to feeling the inadequacy I feel in comparison to all of these super human women (who, by the way, feel the same way I do about some areas in their own life) I have to have forgotten about how tremendously blessed I am in my own life. My not always clean enough shabby shack is cozy and “lived in”. I may not have the chance to plan romantic getaways with my husband, but I do get to snuggle up to him every night — and he loves me despite all of my shortcomings. I may not read the Bible to my kids as much as I should, but they hear stories about how awesome God is all the time and every once in a while they do or say something that solidifies the fact that they love Jesus! We may not spend many nights around the dinner table together, but we often find ourselves lounging around the not-so-tidy living room together laughing about nothing in particular.
I’m not diminishing the importance of all of the things on my list. They are all good things. But maybe I need to change the way I measure the outcomes. Maybe I need to re-frame my approach to them. Instead of this being the list of things I have to do it can be the list of things I get to experience. Maybe instead calling it my “to-do list” I need to call it my “bucket list” and to remember that if it didn’t all go as planned today, I can try again tomorrow.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.