I was left alone washing our van—a project enthusiastically initiated (and quickly abandoned) by my kids. I stood back, noting the dismal job—the forgotten wheels, the stubborn splats left behind by Kamikaze bugs, the spotty finish—but made one final swipe and dismissed it. “Eh, good enough,” I shrugged, knowing full-well that my husband would strongly disagree.
I flashed-back to a conversation we’d had earlier that week. I’d been examining where the hours in my day go, relaying how hard it was to say “good enough” and not waste time being overly perfectionistic. Hubby gave me the “oh really?” raised-eyebrow and we both had a laugh, surveying our cluttered kitchen. Yes, when it comes to housework or any task that will need to be redone nearly as soon as I complete it… I admit, “good enough” is often my motto. But when it comes to things I am creatively passionate about, I could spend hours tweaking and perfecting (in much the same way as my husband washes a car).
I’m not trying to make a he-said/she-said point—my guess is that we all have our things we do to the nth degree and things we let slide. The questions I bring before the Lord today revolve around when to say “good enough?” When are we seeking to do a job well done, “as to the Lord,” and when do we cross the line to pride?
As with most things in life, there is a balance, and the One to tell us when the scale begins to tip in an unhealthy direction is always available for counsel. I’m learning to pause in the middle of projects or tasks and ask the Holy Spirit, “Am I crossing the line?” He usually prompts me to check my motivation. Too many times, I must admit, I am seeking approval of others (or myself) which usually results in frustration, because it will never seem good enough. Negative emotions are red flags… it’s time for me to put my focus back on Jesus. Inevitably, I will see the project in a new light as I yield to the One Who is truly good enough… and then some.
Fellow children of the eighties may appreciate this flashback (and since the song is now stuck in my head, I always like to share the love)… Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men” – Col. 3:23
Some translations of this verse say “work for the Lord, ” which potenitally implies that we work independently of Him. But Jesus offers us something much better… He is ready, willing and more than able to roll up His sleeves work WITH us. And only as we work with Him, do we yield the bonus byproduct of also serving others with pure intentions. All for One and One for all.
And if Jesus is involved, we won’t leave out the heart, which is the core ingredient of a job well done… “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. – Proverbs 28:25-26
In our examination of when to say “good enough,” this verse speaks to me. We can be greedy for all sorts of things in our flesh, be it money, fame, success, approval… but what good are any of those things in eternity? He who walks in wisdom (with God) is kept safe. Ironically, we often need to be saved from ourselves when pride deceives us… “The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” – 1 Cor. 8:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” – Isaiah 66:2
I love verses that remind us just how powerful God is, lest we forget, lest we start to get a little big-headed and think we can take care of things ourselves. Our Lord clears His throat and says, “A-hem… see that hand your using? The one you’re so proud of because you’ve been doing all this good work with it? Yeah, I made that hand.” (I picture Him winking and smiling as He says this.) Without His hand, we’d have no hand. No foot. No mind. Nothing.
Don’t know about you, but it really does make me tremble to think of His majesty. Do you have an earthly hero? Someone who inspires you? Someone you would be in awe of to meet personally? Would you be humbled by their very presence? Now stop and think. The chances of meeting that hero are slim, but you need only believe for the chances of meeting your Creator to be 100-percent. Humility actually feels really good to me right now.
God has had it with the proud,
But takes delight in just plain people.
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs.
God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time.
Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.
– 1 Pet. 5:5-7, The Message
Reading The Message version of the bible can be so refreshing. “Just plain people.” My kids and I like to read little critter books written by Mercer Mayer, who often begins his book titles with the word “Just,” like “Just Me and My Mom,” or “Just A Mess.” I like the word just. It can mean so many things–guided by truth, merely, only, precisely, positively, righteous, actual, genuine. Some of these adjectives and adverbs seem to more readily describe God and I tend to feel more comfortable slipping into the ones like “only” or “merely.” But in Christ, we are just in all ways.
We needn’t think too much of ourselves, but neither too little. For we are His creations, and who are we to be discontent with what God has made? Or with the lives we’ve been given? He is in control and as we yield to Him, I believe we’ll know just when to say good enough. And not in a Stewart Smalley, “I’m good enough, smart enough,” focused on man’s approval kind of way, but instead because, doggone it… God likes me.
Love, Just Anj