These wise words were spoken by my man this weekend. And I desperately needed to hear them. So I'm sharing them, thinking perhaps some of you out there might need to hear them too.
My man and I went car shopping this weekend. Because we planned on test-driving some things (preferably at least one Honda Element), we went without the girls. So, we went on a "car date." Unfortunately, the car shopping was not very successful--understatement--but the date was a success.
Somehow we started discussing our time in high school. I shared something that I had never really formed into words before--that I was always pretty good at a lot of things but never really great at anything and that actually discouraged me.
Athletics excluded. I was not a super star athlete, FOR SURE. Not an athlete at all, unless playing volleyball after church youth group on Wednesday nights counts. (haha) This was by far my weakest area. To give you an idea of just how un-athletic I am...I was always one of the last ones picked when we had to pick teams in PE.
Not a super star student. But at least I did pretty well in this area. Mostly A's, with a few B's, particularly in my AP classes. Graduated in the top five or six of my class, but not a salutatorian or valedictorian. Got a few local scholarships but no full rides or anything even close.
Not a prodigy pianist, though I did all right here too. For a while at least. I had some really good teachers. Maybe a few not-so-great ones too. But they pushed and challenged me. I could play some pretty impressive pieces by the time I graduated high school, but then I dropped it. I've barely touched a piano since moving away from home. I never was much for sight-reading. I can't play by ear. And it's been at least 16 years since I've had a lesson; so, I really can't play anything anymore. Sad.
Not a musical prodigy, period. I played the flute too. I wasn't usually last chair and I wasn't usually first, though I may have held both positions at some point during my high school career, I honestly don't remember. But, the point is, I was usually somewhere in the middle. Not terrible. Not great.
Not a natural-born artist. But, given enough time, I can produce a decent drawing or painting...especially if you give me some pictures to replicate. I still do love to draw and paint, but it's the time thing that gets in my way now. I need hours of uninterrupted time. And I'm a stay-at-home momma; so, we all know that's really happenin'. Not.
I could go on, but you get the point. And, please don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to toot my own horn by telling you all the things I did. Quite the opposite. I'm trying to show you that I never really could do anything super well. And I think it is because I was trying to do too many things. Advanced placement classes, piano, flute, color guard, even field commander at one point, various clubs, church youth activities, oh! and I had a job, AND I certainly felt that I had to maintain a very active social life. Really? No wonder I didn't do anything really well. I dipped my foot in a little bit of everything, but I never jumped into anything with both feet.
I once heard it said that you can't do a million things to the glory of God. Sure, everything you do can be, and should be, done to the glory of God. But I can not do everything. You can not do everything. And if we try, we won't do everything well. We all seem to run around trying to do everything and hoping we are glorifying God. But really we should find out the one or two things He really wants us to do and then focus our energies on those things. Then, when we excel, God gets the glory.
So, to get back to where I started, I'm telling my man that I was always pretty good at most of the stuff I did, but never the best. And that left me discouraged. Because I have theses perfectionist tendencies that leave me feeling like I always miss the mark. (You know that self-diagnosed OCD I've told you about?) These kinds of thoughts go through my brain: "I can't do things the way I want to, so why try? It can't be perfect, so why bother?"
This spills over into my relationships and even my parenting. Sometimes I fall so short of my own expectations that I just want to give up trying to be better. I've talked about this before. I know that oftentimes I set up ridiculously high standards for myself; these are not anyone else's expectations, not even God's. But still I get discouraged because I don't feel like I'm doing anything REALLY well.
So, I'm telling my man all this and then he says something like this:
I was always pretty good at everything I did too, but never the best. Until now. And I know I'm the best at this. I know that God hand-picked me to be your husband and our daughters' daddy and that makes me the best suited. I'm irreplaceable. Sure, I could die, and you might remarry, it might be good, but it wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't be their "daddy."
And he's right. I'm the best mommy my girls will ever have. I might really stink it up sometimes, but I love them and they know that, and no matter what other woman might come into their lives, there could never be another mommy just like me for them. If something happened to me, and my man remarried, they might get a mom that has it together a little better than I do, but they would still want me. I'm the best suited mommy for them.
And you are too! You are irreplaceable. You are the best mommy your kids will ever have. You are the best wife your husband could ever have. (Yes, God put you together.) You are the best sister. Daughter. Daugther-in-law. And on and on. We can become better, with God's help, but we are already the best suited candidate for our families. We are irreplaceable. We are hand-picked for the families God has placed us in.
We often ask God, "What is it You want me to do?" And sometimes we even want Him to just pick us up and set us back down right in front of the "thing" He has for us. But He's already done that! He's placed us right in the middle of a group of people that He wants us to focus our energies on. Our family. Therefore, we may wonder if we are in the right job, the right area of service in our church, the right civic organizations, but we can know we are safe in pouring ourselves into our families. It's the one thing that God has set right in front of us. He's saying, "Do this thing!"
I don't know about you, but I need to focus more of my energies on the one thing that I know God really wants me to do. I don't want to try to do a million things to the glory of God, but He's hand-picked me for my family; I am perfectly suited for this job...I want to do it well!
Lord, may we excel at "doing" family, because we know you have called us to the exact family we are in. And when we excel, may You get the glory, Father.