It was freezing by Florida standards, and to complicate matters, it was drizzling and overcast. I was dropping off two of the littles at preschool, and my fingers were so cold that they elicited cries of complaint as I zipped up coats.
I dropped the boys off, noticing the adults were rubbing their hands together or wrapping arms around middles to keep warm.
I wasn’t the only miserable one.
Needing to warm up from the inside out, I stopped at a local coffee shop for a hot cup of tea.
I made use of the facilities before I grabbed my tea and headed to work. This sign was sitting on the counter, and it grabbed my attention.
It was profound in its simplicity.
We live in a time when everyone is trying to one-up everyone else, trying to be “the best” at something, wanting the best in everything, only ever showing our best, most acceptable selves.
We aren’t perfect. Neither is life. And there’s nothing we can do to make it perfect.
I find myself too often overlooking the beauty that’s intrinsic in the imperfect. That which isn’t what I’d hoped for still has so much value.
I struggle with good enough.
Growing up, it was my responsibility to iron my dad’s shirts. I’ve never been a perfectionist, but I tried my best to do it right. I didn’t always do the best job, and Mom would make me redo the ones that weren’t good enough.
I was just a kid. I could do a good job–they looked better than when I started–but I didn’t always do it as expected.
That sense of “not good enough” sticks with me as an adult. That my best efforts won’t be acceptable.
I’ve put too much pressure on myself, my kids, even my husband to be “better than”. To not settle for mediocre, because mediocre is imperfect. And yet it seems the harder I try to do things without fault, flawlessly, the harder it is to accept what I do.
God understands my imperfections, and even though I know Him personally, I still make a mess of my life.
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it…I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” Romans 7:15-17, 21
The answer to the dilemma of my inability to live the way I know is right is salvation in Jesus. He paid the penalty for the law that I can’t keep.
Striving to be better in every area of life will eventually lead to disappointment. We may accomplish it for a day, but inevitably our efforts will fall apart because we tend to choose selfishness over self-sacrifice.
Life here won’t be perfect because we can’t be. Jesus makes us beautiful in our imperfection, out of a deep love for us.
If we let Him.