Not Ideal

I spend a lot of time feeling crummy. I think of myself as a not-very-good wife or a not-very-good mom or a not-very-good job applicant. I imagine there is this ideal wife/mom/job seeker who does everything right. Her husband loves coming home each night from work to a clean house, a scratch-made meal, and well-groomed children. Her kids do as they’re asked the first time, without complaint. They would never grab the new tube of blue gel toothpaste from the box and squeeze it all over the bathtub, floor, and cabinet (not to mention the blue-tinged footprints I found on the hall carpet). They always treat their parents, siblings, friends, and complete strangers with respect and courtesy. And when she applies for work, her resume is always at the top of the pile.

Sadly, I am not that woman. I wish I were. I try to be, but I can’t seem to do it. Somewhere, deep down inside, I believe that if I would follow all the rules just right, I could live her perfect life. The rational side of my brain recognizes how ridiculous that notion is. Yet, part of me still magically believes the lie.

God gives us the power to serve under His new covenant. This isn’t a legal contract, chiseled into stone, which kills the spirit. It’s written by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, His life in ours. (paraphrase of II Corinthians 3:6)


I keep trying to get this life right, as though You’re grading my performance and I don’t want a low score. But life just keeps seeming too hard to do my best all the time. I am beginning to believe that’s Your intent. You allow difficulties and struggles and just plain bad days because there’s no quicker way to get me turned around, running back to You. I’m not supposed to do it all on my own. You give me the energy to continue putting one foot in front of the other because I know You’re walking with me. And You have surrounded us with family and friends–people with whom we’re instructed to share our burdens (Galatians 6:2).

Please help me to stop trying so hard to complete tasks that haven’t even been assigned to me. Making the world perfect, even my little corner of it, is not actually my job. It’s Yours. You are the One who made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. You are the One who makes us holy. You are the One who can be trusted to finish what You’ve started (Hebrews 10:14-23). God, thank You that because You are perfect, I don’t have to be. Help me to keep looking to You for perfection and do what You give me to do without trying to measure my success or failure every step of the way.


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