I have always been a perfectionist. I guess it comes with being the oldest child, especially growing up in a family that tried to maintain a wonderful outward appearance while crumbling apart on the inside.
I’ve carried that legacy, or should I say bondage, right into my own family. I have never felt so inadequate as the day a nurse handed me my newborn son, and I looked at him and literally thought “Now what am I supposed to do with this?”
You would think that ten years later and with another child under my belt, I’d feel equal to the task of mothering. But I still struggle with my mommy alter-ego. You know, the one who shows up to point out everything you’re doing wrong. She keeps me down and focused on how NOTHING I do measures up.
The way I responded to my kids- too harshly, not firm enough or just not enough period. The way I am often distracted when playing with my children, instead of being in the moment and just enjoying them. The fact that laundry is still sitting in the dryer when it needs to be folded and put away. The list can go on and on and on until eternity.
You’re not meant to be everything to your children
What is it about motherhood that makes us feel like we have to be enough for our kids? There seems to be a lot of emphasis in our culture, and even among popular self-identified Christian authors, on self reliance.
I think the You’re Enough Mantra comes from good intentions. We want to believe we’re capable. We say things like “you’ve got this”, because we want to encourage one another.
But this is not the Gospel of the Bible. It is the gospel of the world.
- Not enough to be patient with the litany of requests from your children.
- Not enough to have a good attitude during the fifth tantrum of the morning.
- Not enough to homeschool while taking care of the housework.
- Not enough to do all the things.
Parenting is hard. We can’t just dig deep down inside of ourselves and pull out all we need to get through it on our own.
Jesus is more than enough
You are not enough, but you don’t have to be. Because Jesus is. It’s the truth of “He is enough” that truly sets you free.
Simply put, this kind of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mantra is just plain unbiblical. It’s really secular humanism cloaked as loving Christianity.
It’s not very inspirational to be more true to yourself. As Christians, we should be inspired to be less like our sinful nature and more like Jesus.
He fully equips us for every good work. His Word is useful for training in righteousness, so that we are made adequate (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Jesus sustains literally everything on earth, including you. He is the source of all your needs; not your degree, or your amazing organizational skills.
Nothing highlights our deficiencies quite like mothering, but we often end up struggling needlessly. Bring your struggles to the Savior who is able to give you the patience, wisdom and grace to raise these children.
God is glorified in your imperfections
Admitting when you’re at the end of yourself is the best place to be as far as God is concerned. He delights in using imperfections to His greater glory!
The beauty and miracle of knowing you can’t do something all on your own is that God gets the credit when you accomplish it. Those times when you know your limitations, and rely on Him instead of your own strength or ability, displays that He is at work through you.
Satan loves to discourage us in our calling and distract us from the One who is sufficient. He wants us to believe we can do it all by ourselves, so he can condemn us when we inevitably fail.
According to Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If I am feeling condemned, that is not truth. God gently changes you to be a better mom, and leads you to godly repentance. These defeated thoughts only keep you in bondage.
I still have plenty of days when I feel discouraged for not being or doing enough and thinking that everyone else does it better. But I’ve started admitting my weaknesses to God so that He can be my strength in those areas. I have invited Jesus into the chaos of my every day life, when I feel like I can’t stay on top of the messes or my temper is rising, so that He can meet me there.
Press on, and remember that God made YOU the mom of those beautiful little blessings in your house knowing full well exactly what kind of mom you would be. Trust Him. He knew and still knows just what He is doing.
God produces the fruit; we are only the vessel. It’s okay that you’re not enough. Because it’s not about what we do; it’s about what He does in and through us.