Grace, Life, Mothering

Perfection: When Good Enough Is . . . Good Enough

Dewy Peonies

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part two of a three part series. In part one, I explored the idea of When Good Enough Isn’t and compromise). I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

Years ago, I was driving around town with a dear friend. This special lady is an older woman in my life, and has a boatload of wisdom. As I shared my thoughts with her — my desires for living this life well—she gently said something that’s stayed with me. It went along the lines of, “Perhaps you need to lower your standards for yourself, just a little.”

I’m blind when it comes to seeing when my expectations might be a tad too high. I keep striving to attain them, to live to the letter of the law.

Grace? Of course, I accept it.

When I’ve fallen flat on my face. Again.

Sometimes accepting good-enough is God’s best for me. He never places an expectation of perfection on His children. He offers me His grace, which is what’s required to learn how to live in the place of good-enough.

Rain kissed iris

Perfection requires that I be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect friend—pouring myself out for everyone else, always patient, kind, sweet. Perfection requires that I have it all together for others to see. And for my supposed peace of mind.

Perfection leaves me in a pool of frustrated tears when I fall short. Again.

I’m learning to walk in the land of good-enough. This good-enough doesn’t mean compromising God’s best intentions when they don’t come on my time frame.

Fog lifting

This good-enough is being content with where God has me right now. It’s being okay with the fact that I don’t have it all together, but I’m trying to be the woman God’s created me to be.

Good enough means my house will rarely be perfectly dusted, cleaned, and shiny. Let’s face it, I live in a home filled with testosterone. If my house ever shines, it’s only for about two seconds.

Sunny-shady path

Good enough means I’m not striving to live up to standards others place on me, or that I perceive others placing in me. Rather, I’m learning what God wants from me, and I’m making those things my focus.

Kitchen sink

In my life good-enough looks like a kitchen counter that usually sports piles of papers, recipes and things I need to deal with . . . one of these days. Dust settling on the flat surfaces that only see a duster every couple months.

It looks like messy moments with our boys as they struggle through figuring out life. Sometimes I’m impatient, and I have to go back and ask forgiveness.

Ladybug copy

Good enough sometimes looks like my attempts at doing bible study with my boys resulting in one boy being pithy rather than pious. His being sarcastic rather than soft. His response is not a reflection on me as his mother. But, it’s a hint at where his heart is right now.

Do I like it? No. But, my response to his words is what he’ll remember. Am I going to try to coerce him into enjoying bible study today? No. I need to accept that his heart isn’t in a place where he’s really open to God. Today. My best efforts at helping him learn how to seek Jesus need to be good enough.

It’s a two-way effort, and I’m only accountable for my heart and responses, not for his. God has to work in his heart.

Morning sun in trees

Good-enough means I seek to have my priorities aligned with God’s. Not with my expectations of where I should be as a wife, a mom, a friend, a writer.

I can’t do everything well, much less perfectly. I’m human. Let’s face it, I (may I say, “we?”) need Jesus’ presence in our lives . . .

. . . His wisdom guiding us,

. . . His grace filling us . . .

to do anything well.

Summer Snowballs

When I’m in alignment with where God wants me to be—physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally—I’m in a good enough place for Him to work in and through me.

And that’s good enough for me.

What about you? If you struggle with perfectionistic tendencies, how do you keep them at bay? What does “good enough” look like for you?

12 thoughts on “Perfection: When Good Enough Is . . . Good Enough”

  1. Right now good enough is taking the next breath, and not swooning into the keyboard.

    Should not be trying to type, really, but on the other hand, why not? There is still time to do good, and my only tools are words.

    Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Good enough is called life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, praying, praying for you, friend. And for the record, you wield your tools very effectively. To speak lives into others. Well done. Good enough is called life. Great thought for today.


  2. Oh, Jeanne- I love these peeks into your heart and life. Thanks for the pic of the dishes in the sink and for the realistic picture of your Bible study with your boys. I’m right there with you- but also admiring your well-crafted words. Loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, I’m all about real. Messy. It’s life, isn’t it? We have to be intentional in how we live each day, and know that good enough is enough for Jesus, right? Thanks so much for your kind words!


  3. Great second post! I am a perfectionist. Being a mom has helped a bit, but when I totally lose it over life not being perfect, that’s the clearest sign for me to stop, breathe, reset…. I am slowly, slowly learning not just to accept good enough, but to embrace it and live in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your sequence: stop, breathe, reset. I need to remind myself to do that as well, Annie. And yes, living in the land of good-enough can be a very restorative thing.


Comments are closed.