Priorities, Relationship, Uncategorized

Good Enough: When Good Enough Isn’t

Sun lightened leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part one of a three part series. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

One of the messages on my heart is never settling for good enough. I was single-longing-to-be-married for what felt like going on forever. I watched friends get married. I was invited to eleven—yes, eleven—weddings in one year, and I was a bridesmaid in three of them.

Almost Sunset

I watched some friends settle for good-enough because they were simply tired of waiting for Mr. Right to come along. I’d committed my desire to be married into God’s hands. But oh, it was hard to wait for God’s Mr. Right for me. There were times when I looked for a guy who was good-enough. What I observed when a couple friends married in haste was that good-enough usually isn’t. Good-enough, that is. Heart-ache and heartbreak came to some who hurried.

Waiting for God’s best trumps settling for good enough. 

Man helping wife

Fast forward twenty years. As a wife and a mom, an aspiring writer, a friend, a woman semi-involved at church, I sometimes wonder if I’m doing good-enough, or doing God’s best as I live out each day. So many things call to me, drawing my attention. Some seem like things I should be doing.

Trees in the road

As a wife and a mom, I’m always striving to keep up with all that my husband and boys need. Keeping the house clean . . . okay, maybe it’s more realistic to say keeping the house mostly orderly . . . keeping up with the boys’ daily activities, making sure they’re prepared for school, for Boy Scouts, for football. Making sure my husband has a lunch in the refrigerator each morning.

As a writer, keeping up with social media, keeping my email inbox well-managed, making time to write daily . . . these are all good, important things.

Late budding tree

I’ve been questioning lately if I’ve lost focus of God’s best for me. Am I living out the priorities God has for me in each day?

I’ve been frustrated because I haven’t had time for the things I believe God has given me to do. Instead, my time is eaten up by others’ expectations. Or sometimes by my own unrealistic expectations.

I want to finish this book that’s been burning a hole in my heart, waiting to be completed, and put out into the world. I want to make sure I’m spending quality time, each day with my family.

Pink Peony

If I’m going to live out God’s best during my days, sometimes, that means giving up the good-enough things I tend to define as progress in my mind. 

What would happen if I let go of the need to keep up with my emails so I had more time to write? What would happen if I let go of the desire for a perfectly ordered house in order to take a walk with my boys?

To live out God’s best, something that’s good enough will have to be given up. The question is, am I willing to sacrifice it?

Snowball Bush

Snowball clusters

I yearn to live out God’s best every day. In order to do this well, I’ll need to let go of some of my own expectations, my standards that make me feel like things in my life are good enough.

What about you? How do you determine God’s best for you? How do you prioritize so you’re living out God’s best and not settling for good enough in your life?

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8 thoughts on “Good Enough: When Good Enough Isn’t”

  1. There’s a military maxim – I think attributed to von Clausewitz – that a good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed in three hours.

    I believe that is very true for life as well, and that perfection is the enemy of good enough.

    The thing is, when we look for the sublime, we frequently turn away from the smaller and modest joys that, in the aggregate, make life worth living. The peak experiences are nice, but, as the cliche says, we can’t live on the peaks.We live where there’s water, and warmth to sustain our souls.

    Marriage is really a perfect example, because we all ‘settle for good enough’. The gemstone may be rough and fissured, but with care, and in the hands of a skilled cutter and polisher, it can. in time, become a stone fit for the engagement dream that symbolizes a dream.

    Not necessarily for the finger of a princess; but the dreams of a shop clerk or gardener are just as valuable to the Lord, and all the more poignant in their yearning simplicity.

    And thus, marriage. Good enough is a beginning, and the years of polishing and cutting…the hurts and the relational friction, if you will…can forge an intimacy that is all the more striking, for the road that’s been traveled. It’s not something to despise.

    And the dreams we have…when I turned from the way of the gun, I had a dream of involvement with flying, being able to spend my weekends at airports, and hone my skills well enough to be an airshow performer.

    It didn’t work out that way. A marriage had to be repaired, and then lost dogs kept showing up, hoping for a safe place to rest, and for a loving hand to scratch their tired, tired shoulders.

    That hand can’t be in two places at once. It can either showlove to the small and hurting soul, or it can pilot a machine, to bring awe and wonder to spectators.

    My life is good enough. I would not trade it for all the money, or all the peak experiences on earth.

    I’m where I am meant to be.

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    1. And you, Andrew, touched on the post I plan as a follow up to this one. 🙂 You’re absolutely right, perfection is not the goal. I think there are times when “good enough” isn’t good enough, and other times when “good enough” is good enough. Life has a way of throwing change into our plans, so we have to decide what God’s best is in the midst of the change. Oftentimes, God’s best looks very different than we expect. We aren’t “settling” when we’re walking in His best for us. We’re adjusting and aligning our intentions with His.

      Loved your thoughts here. As always. 🙂

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  2. As always, yes!! I love having my ducks in a row, living good enough-ly. In many ways, keeping that order keeps me calm and allows me to do what I’m supposed to – quiet times with God, etc. And yet…. When I give it up, when I allow myself to give into God’s wild plan, the good enough falls away, but I experience so much more!! Thank you, as always, for giving me the words I need for today.

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    1. “When I give it up, when I allow myself to give into God’s wild plan, the good enough falls away, but I experience so much more!” I LOVE this, Annie. I’m thinking on it today. 🙂

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  3. It’s a continual balancing act … eye-opener … wake up … “aha” moment. We never seem to arrive, do we? One day, Jeanne … one day, we’ll get it all perfectly right. 🙂 I have learned to go easier on myself. The floor needs to be swept … there was a time when I’d have to do the sweeping immediately … but now, I say, “Tomorrow. I might take a nap right now.” And no guilt. Sweeping the guilt out the back door is huge.

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    1. You made me grin. The day we get it perfectly right will probably be our first day in heaven. 🙂 Going easier on yourself is a good solution. It’s a life application I’m still learning. Good for you on focusing on the important and not the urgent. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

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