When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

Do you ever feel like you do your best and give your best and give more and it’s still not enough?  Do you struggle with guilt when you fall short of your own expectations?

Raise your hand if this has ever described you. {raises both hands}

When I was in college {oh, those glorious days!} I focused on doing my best with the time that I had.  I studied the best that I could and when it came time to take a test or exam, I rested in the fact that I did my part and whatever happened was up to God.  Why has that mindset changed?  Why do I struggle with my best now never being enough?

Please tell me I’m not alone.  To preach myself out of this self-abusing funk, I’ve been asking myself some questions.

Who determines what “good enough” is?

Is it me?  Is it my husband? Is it other family members or friends?  No. Nada. Zip.

God has already said that my best isn’t good enough. Isaiah 64:6 says, “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Nice. Everything good that I can possibly do right or well isn’t good enough. What does that make my failures? Even filthier rags.  Beautiful thought, right?

“…the best efforts of the best Christians, on the best days, in the best frame of heart and mind, with the best motives fall short of that true righteousness and holiness that God requires.

Our best efforts cannot satisfy God’s justice. Yet the good news is that God has satisfied his own justice and reconciled us to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son. God’s holy law can no longer condemn us because we are in Christ.”

— Michael Horton Christless Christianity pg.91

Who am I trying to please?

Confession: I struggle with self-imposed guilt a lot.  I have a lot of balls in the air that I’m juggling right now.  If I don’t always have a spotless house, washed, dried, folded and put away laundry, an empty sink and food fixed for dinner my guilt alert starts going off loud and clear.

I feel like a failure {like my best isn’t good enough} when a ball drops to the ground and something doesn’t get done.  As if that’s not bad enough, I automatically project my self-imposed guilt onto what I think others think about me. Just because I feel like a failure, doesn’t mean that my husband walks through the door looking at me like I’m a failure. {Do y’all understand what I’m talkin’ about here?}

I’m juggling all my balls in the air for the glory of God, not for myself or for the praise of others. When one falls down, it’s not an excuse to feel like a failure, but it’s a time for me to bring Him glory in how I respond.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

What’s the bottom line?

I must stop putting my own standards for success or failure above God’s for my life.  He made me human. I’m not super human. He made 24 hours in a day and sometimes it’s just not enough time to get everything on my to-do list done.

There will always be something else to do. But, I am accepted, supported and loved by God, by my husband, my family and my friends. I need to accept, support and love myself {in a good way, of course}.

My sufficiency {or adequacy} isn’t from myself.  ”…Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5

That’s the bottom line.

“…The best are no more than what the grace of God makes them. Our hands are not sufficient for us, but our sufficiency is of God; and his grace is sufficient for us, to furnish us for every good word and work.” Matthew Henry

Do you struggle with this too? If you do, next time those guilty thoughts come flooding into your mind, run to Jesus, because He is enough for you and for me.

*****

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Comments

  1. Thanks, I really needed this booster shot this morning.

  2. Good morning,
    Well I’m 61 years old and went through many a day thinking i wasn’t good enough, didn’t do enough etc. I am just now beginning to see how it is. When we think we arenn’t good enough or have not done enough that is because we set the bar too high. I hear something recently …..once we accept Jesus in our life (and before but we didn’t know it) everthing we are, what we have and will have is HIS. We do the best we can with what he gave us to be and us. So who are we to argue with GOD about how much we can accomplish.
    I know when GOD is trying to tell me something because I hear it from many sources…..lately it’s been “be happy with what you have and who you are”.
    Have a wonderful blessed day…..and know that you are a blessing to me…I enjoy your insites, encouragement and bright smiling attitude.
    Praise GOD for you! Thank you , Brenda

  3. I know exactly where you’re coming from. There are days (more than few) that I feel this way and with no relief efforts (a.k.a.: family) on the way, it’s hard to feel as if it’s going to get better. You couldn’t have laid it out any better lady…thanks for making a point too many of us are fearful to voice.
    Kristen @Hope Abound´s last blog post ..Recipes to Try #6

  4. {both hands and feet in the air}
    Absolutely.
    Thank you for this post – I really needed it.
    Meg´s last blog post ..Frugal Finds: Preparing for Christmas Gifts

  5. I feel like this so often! I love the perspective and truth you shared here. Our human instinct is to want someone to tell us that we actually are good enough. Somehow, remembering that we can’t do it all without God is so encouraging. Knowing that He see us, knows we are dust, and is sufficient brings joy!
    Erin @ Closing Time´s last blog post ..Happy 4th!

  6. Yes, I feel like this often. I love what you’ve said here.

    Emily Freeman of Chatting With the Sky is releasing a new book in the fall called “Grace for the Good Girl” and it’s right along this line. I can’t wait to see what she has to say!

    Thank you for sharing your heart Myra.

  7. You’re right Myra, I am sure you do more then enough!!
    If you feel you need to please someone it is time to start pleasing yourself before anyone else, there is no other way…
    Erin´s last blog post ..Golf Swing Technique-How to Get Backspin on a Golf Shot

  8. THANK YOU!!! Today, I’m running to Jesus! :)

  9. Hey, sweet friend! I think we all struggle with this so much of the time. Blogging just adds one more ball to juggle, so we must take the pressure off (I know, easier said than done!) and do our best for Him only. Hugs!!

  10. Michelle Parker says:

    Fabulous, thoughtful, timely post. No matter where you are in life, be it newly married, young family, parenting teenagers, grandparenting,
    chronic illness, there are always times of feeling inadequate, not measuring up, missing the mark. The one constant in my life has always been that Christ thought I was precious enough to give His life for me and who am I to argue with Him!

  11. I think many women feel this way. There is just so much to do. We feel like everyone expects it of us. But, you’re right. We just need to strive to please God, and we shouldn’t worry about what others think of us. But I do. I constantly compare myself to other women and their lovely houses. I’m a terrible housekeeper, and I’ve come to accept it. I live with all males. What would you expect! lol I just hope no one stops by unexpectedly!! (Well, it’s not quite THAT bad. but I am self-concious about it.) Thanks for reminding me that no one is perfect. God’s grace is sufficient.
    Sandra´s last blog post ..Still a Mystery

  12. Oh Myra… if only you knew how the timing of this blog post is so completely perfect for me. Just last night I sat crying to my husband about how much I feel like a failure. There’s not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do…everything I’m so passionate about. Caring for our children, spending quality time with my man, taking care of the needs of our home, being a blessing to my friends, playing with our children, writing and doing all the work that goes with having a blog, and so much more! And the thing is, when I feel overwhelmed by it all I start to fall short in everything…failing at all of it. So how do I balance it all? How do I choose what’s most important? Do I really have to choose? Can’t I have and do it all? My peace has to come from God. My peace has to come in the decision to do today at this very moment what’s most glorifying to God. Because in everything, He just wants us to draw closer to Him.

    Thank you for this post. You may have needed it to preach yourself out of self-imposed guilt funk, but God used you to also speak to me and many others in the same river of guilt. :) No, you are definitely not a failure and are definitely not alone!

    Many blessings,
    Rosann
    Rosann´s last blog post ..By: finding joy in the day in and day out – Christian Forums

  13. I can sooo relate to this post, thank you for posting! I often feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities I’m trying to keep up with. Hopefully with God’s help, I will focus on the things that really matter and stop stressing over the others. No one is harder on us than we are on ourselves.

    Maybe then we will look back one day and say to ourselves “the dishes weren’t always put away or laundry always finished, but boy did we have fun (with our kids, husbands, family, etc.)!

  14. Early in my Christian years I heard someone say that if we could get “good enough”, Jesus wouldn’t have died. It’s just not possible for us to do that. But, subconsciously, I still try. I am reminded again and again that what I do doesn’t affect His love for me, even though there is certainly blessing for doing things His way, nor does it change who I am!! This is a theme in my life right now…
    Rikki´s last blog post ..Cinders

  15. What a beautiful, authentic post we can relate to on nearly every level. Thank u! U r NOT alone, that is certain. A great reminder today.

  16. Thank you for expressing your heart AND the truth from God’s Word! I left church this morning feeling so refreshed, and then the overwhelming feelings came back after only being home for about an hour. I needed to read this and be reminded again! God’s Word is awesome and it’s wonderful how the Spirit brings truth to our remembrance in the midst of our grumblings, self-imposed failures, and fleshly struggles. Thank you for helping to refresh my spirit :)
    Lauren´s last blog post ..A New Addition

  17. Myra, what a great post. The bottom line is simply to trust and rest in Him. I constantly have to remind myself that In Christ there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1) Isn’t that awesome! He isn’t condemning us so we are we condemning ourselves. This is why it is so important to read our bible and spend time with Him daily. The Word of God is what will renew our minds and help us to keep focus even with all the ball juggling on Him and what He thinks about us. Oh how he loves us!!
    leasa´s last blog post ..DIY Flashcards

  18. raachel says:

    this. was. awesome. thanks for this post. i really loved the passage from Christless Christianity.

  19. I have both hands raised in the air too! I think most women struggle with not being good enough. Asking ourselves these questions is a good practice for keeping ourselves on track.

    Thanks.

  20. Thank you so much for this post! I often read your blog but don’t comment. This time I feel like you have really hit the button in my life and can’t help but thank you for sharing your heart. I need to run to Jesus today!

  21. Ashley Collinsworth says:

    Myra,

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! This describes almost exactly what I have been experiencing for a while but more intensely over the weekend. God is definitely dealing with me in this area, it can be painful to see at times but I’m so grateful that He’s showing me what I’m doing. Thank you for your words and that I know I’m not the only one going through something like this. I felt a strong urge in my spirit this morning to check out your blog and I’m so glad I did :) God is so good and I am thankful to Him and to you for the encouragement that your blog brings! Will be praying/thinking of you as we learn to walk out each day for the glory of God alone :) Lots of love to you!

    Ashley Collinsworth

  22. Ruby Showalter says:

    So crazy cuz this is what I’ve been struggling with too!!! Thanks for sharing your heart and for reminding us the TRUTH. Blessings Myra!!

  23. Whether I admit it to myself or out, I struggle with this every single day. (Hence the name of my blog…) Thank you for sharing about this so honestly!
    Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect´s last blog post ..Monday Morning Mmmm: S’mores Cupcakes

  24. Man did I need to read this. I constantly just feel like I am so sub par in every single area of my life. Like you, I remember being so good at everything I put my mind to up through college. Now every single day I just want to make it through.

    Sadly, not only do I make myself feel like a failure, my husband reminds me of my failures every day too. So glad God loves me regardless.

  25. oh thank you thank you THANK you for this post. Every day I feel the guilt. guilt for not getting everything accomplished, guilt for getting stressed or upset whether it be at myself, the children, or my spouse. For not being perfect. We all need to remember that God loves us, and our best is good enough… for now. All we can do is keep trying our best, keep improving, and repenting of our misdeeds and taking a step forward each day. Prayer,reading my scriptures, and trusting in the Lord is what helps me make it through each day.

  26. When I became a single mother, I gained a very keen awareness that I would not be able to be the best mother that I had planned on being: at home, always available, etc. I have been forced to accept that I can only do my very best and then throw myself and children on the mercy of God. I believe HE will fill the gap between my ability and their needs – there has been great freedom in this acceptance.

  27. Becky McGeorge says:

    Thank you so much for your timely post. I find myself caught up in feeling like a failure, esp. after we have an evangelist at church. I have turned to self-abasement lately, because I am not witnessing all of the time, have not lost weight, do not spend every minute I have at church . . . whatever it is, I fall short. Thanks for reminding me that I will always fall short, and while Satan loves to remind me how lame I am, Jesus has made me higher than the angels – a child of the King!
    Thank you to all who posted, reminding me that I am not alone!

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