Friday, April 2, 2010

The Measure of Success

Ed and I were talking about this subject the other day. What is success in our terms...how does the world view it...our friends and family? I realized that everyone tends to view it differently.
Personally, I find myself struggling (constantly) with feeling like I never quite measure up. That, as a Mom, it's always there dangling just out of reach. Some days I can see it closer, I can even smell it, but it's never really mine. It's always barely out of my grasp no matter how hard I try.
Lately especially....I've struggled and cried and prayed. What does God consider success? For me. Sometimes I find the line between what the Bible says and what everyone else expects (or at least what I perceive other's expectations to be) to be sort of blurry. Where do I draw the line? How do I find balance? I think sometimes that maybe the world at large puts pressure on us as Mom's to be more than is humanly possible.
We've all seen the commercials: Mom works a full time job, yet somehow she waltzes in to a pristine house, fixes a delicious meal in a perfect kitchen in a matter of minutes and the whole family is happily eating and chatting at this perfect table.... you get the picture.
Reality is: I stay home full time, my house is never pristine even if I work for a week solid, meals are never on time, it takes me forever to get them ready, and then we sit down to eat half the time urging everyone to eat fast and stop talking so much so we can "__________".
Now the perfectionist in me is always reminding me of that picture. It doesn't matter that I tell myself that it doesn't happen that way, that it' s not real, etc. Even if I can convince myself that that is not a fair standard there is always the picture of some other homeschooling mom with the perfect schedule and "successful" kids that I find always there to mock me when I screw up yet again.
So I sit and ask myself....what does God really expect? How do I find a way to be content with where I am at and still continue to grow? when will I feel like I have succeeded?
Please don't mistake this for a pity party. I'm not trying to scrounge up some "Oh you poor thing" comments. But this subject has been on my mind lately and this is just my attempt at being honest. I am always having people tell me "How do you do it? You make it look so easy?". I don't know what they are seeing because all I can see is all the places I messed up. And then I wonder...does everyone struggle with this? Do the people I'm viewing as having "IT" all together live just like I do?
I know the Bible says that comparing ourselves to each other isn't wise. So then the true standard is not each other but the Bible. And I KNOW this. So then I'm up against the Proverbs 31 woman...but my question still is, "Am I successful only when I measure up in full to this standard?" I think my downfall is that I excuse not measuring up to the Bible because no one of us can be that perfect until we get to Heaven...but if I see another person (human like me) that is closer to the standard than I am, then I think "well if they can do it why can't I". And maybe that's not the point.
Maybe the Lord is saying the standard for success is not in how much I do or you do but in how much we let HIM do.
I know that when it comes to my children, I don't expect the same things from each one of them. Not because I love one more than another or that my standards for each are different, but because each one is at a different level of maturity or capability. They have different strengths and weaknesses. So then...maybe the Lord sees me the same way. Maybe I'm focusing too much on the external issues that we all see instead of just letting the standard be the attitude of my heart on any given day.
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" 2 Cor. 9:8
I know I will continue to struggle with this issue as time goes by, but my prayer is that I keep looking to the Lord for answers and grace.

1 comment:

Princesses and PolkaDots said...

While I am not a stay at home mom, I understand where you are coming from. Life is so overfull that there is never enough time in the day for what I see as "success". My strength comes from knowing my God knows my strengths and weaknesses and expects from me what my abilities are capable of. I am praying for comfort for you in your measure of success.