Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Enough

I found myself yesterday being more troubled than usual by my inadequacies. It started with feeling disappointed that I'm not losing my baby weight as quickly as I would have liked, as quickly as I'd imagined it would magically disappear, and seeing that a lot of that is because I'm sedentary and eating like it's a free-for-all. It spiraled into not feeling adequate as a housekeeper, a wife, a mother, a pet owner, a car owner, a homeowner, you name it.

I now recognize that I was erring by focusing far too much on myself and not on Christ. What is it Robert Murray McCheyne said? "For every one look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ." Looking at ourselves and our shortcomings without lifting our eyes to Christ is nothing more than self-indulgent navel-gazing. In me, this is the fruit of pride: I want to do better on my own, or I want to sulk and not feel better rather than repenting and trusting Christ for those areas where I fall short.

The other thing I recognized this morning is that I was sulking over my inadequacies and not over my sins. It is one thing to feel laid low because of an acute awareness of your sinfulness (just look at people in Scripture who came face-to-face with God -- Isaiah, John -- they ended up on their faces); I consider it to be one of God's mercies that we are not frequently fully conscious of the depth and breadth of our sin, or we would barely be able to function.

It is another thing, however, to feel laid low because you are not meeting a set of perceived (other-imposed or self-imposed) standards. Things like weight loss and housekeeping. Though these can be areas of sin because of laziness, poor stewardship and the like (and I am not saying that I am not guilty of such sin), I think my attitude was the result of my own wounded pride at not meeting an ideal that I have set up in my own mind (or a standard that I think will make others think highly of me).

This, once again, traces back to pride. I want to feel good about myself because I'm measuring up to what I believe is "good enough." I feel poorly about myself when I am not "good enough," whatever that means.

The truth is, I need to repent of setting up my own standards for "being okay." This is nothing more than a pedestrian form of self-righteousness. In my own set of standards, I will either never be good enough (if my mind has a slippery sliding scale) or I WILL be good enough (a dangerous place of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness). I also need to repent of focusing on myself and my shortcomings rather than trusting in who Christ is and what he has done.

Christ alone sets the standard and Christ alone is enough.

That said, I think I'll do something exercise-y, avoid that third helping at dinner and maybe stop by Goodwill for a pair of pants that I can button today. All good things when done with the right frame of mind.


Addie said...

Oh so convicting. I, too, have been focusing on my inadequacies and not my sin. I apologized to Rob today as a start of dragging myself out of it, but maybe I'll lean harder into Christ too. That sounds so satisfying.

Annette said...

Wow, can I just say this is amazing? I appreciate it you putting into words what I feel all the time and how well you analyzed it and dissected it so we can see it for what it really is. I think I might have to quote this for some of my talks with women. Thanks so much Molly! Love you!